Germany: VAT registration for online commerce from 01.01.2019

Germany: VAT registration for online commerce (Ebay, Amazon) from 01.01.2019.

Without tax registration in Germany there is a risk of blocking of non domestic sellers on the Internet markets (like Amazon or Ebay) in Germany.

From 2019 German online market operators will be liable for the VAT of their customers.

In order to avoid losses in e-commerce, the German Government decided on 1 August 2018 to amend the VAT Act. The new law applies to all deliveries made on the internet markets which start or end in Germany.

According to the new VAT regulations, online market operators will be obliged to register the data of their registered dealers and to store detailed information on sales made via the online platform. The operators of such online platform are also obliged to provide this data to the German tax authorities upon request. According to the new VAT law, online market operators will also be liable for unpaid VAT by sellers who are registered on the online market and who do not comply with VAT obligations.

Due to the obligations and tax liability of online market operators, it can be presumed that operators will request appropriate registration.

Principles of the Act

The new rules apply to all operators of the “online markets” through which they trade online.

They are required to register certain information in order to exclude liability for vendors VAT obligations. This includes the following information:

1. the name and full address of the trader,

2. tax identification number; if available, tax identification number assigned by the Federal Central Tax Office

3). Dates of commencement and expiry of the seller’s tax registration certificate

4. the place where transport or dispatch begins and the place of destination

5) date and amount of generated turnover.

Upon request, the operator must provide this information electronically to the German tax authorities.

Even if the user of the online market is not a commercial seller (e.g. because he sells second-hand goods only occasionally), the operator will be obliged to register the user name, address and date of birth, as well as the place where dispatch begins, the date and the turnover.

The operator’s liability also applies to compliance with the seller’s VAT obligations. If the seller does not comply with his VAT obligations, the German tax office has the right to inform the operator. From the date of receipt of the notification, the operator is obliged to pay VAT on all sales that have been made since that date and not paid by the seller. The operator can only avoid this liability if he blocks the seller on the internet market within the deadline set by the tax office.

In practice, it can be assumed that operators of online markets will have to exclude the liability for the VAT obligations of sellers. Therefore, the operators will also request the necessary information from sellers. It can be assumed that sellers who do not provide this information will be blocked by operators on internet platforms in Germany. In order to avoid blocking, sellers will also have to deliver the necessery information.