Certificate from the tax office for German online retailers

Proof of tax registration for traders trading on online marketplaces


What is it about?

In recent months, there have been many reports in the daily press and also on the web about the changes in tax monitoring for online retailers who sell their goods on electronic marketplaces such as eBay, Amazon and Rakuten. The AccountOne team has now taken a closer look at the changes planned for 2019. In particular, we have received more background information on the draft bill of the so-called Annual Tax Act 2018 at the Tax Consultants' Day 2018 in Bonn, we present these once again in more detail here.


The draft provision of Section 22f of the German Value-Added Tax Act (Umsatzsteuergesetz) is intended to oblige operators of electronic marketplaces (such as eBay, Amazon, etc.) to record the details of users whose sales may be subject to tax in Germany. In other words, the aim is to prevent the state from losing out on sales tax when trading on the Internet.


Online marketplace operators are expected to collect the following data starting in 2019:


- Name and address of the merchant using the platform for sale
- Tax number of the online merchant
- If available, the VAT ID
- Place of start of carriage & destination
- Amount and timing of sales


With this information, the tax authorities are to be given the opportunity to check whether the supplying entrepreneur or user is properly fulfilling or has fulfilled his tax obligations. AccountOne's software already presents this data in an audit-proof manner in the event of a tax audit.


The certificate

Under the new Section 25e (1) of the German Turnover Tax Act (UStG), the operator of an electronic marketplace is to be liable for the unpaid tax arising from a trader's supply sold on the marketplace. According to the government draft, marketplace operators can already avoid this liability if a certificate of tax registration of the trader is available. It is expected that these new tax laws will be passed from mid-December 2018, so that an application for this certificate can probably only be submitted to the relevant tax office from the end of 2018. All German and European online traders have until 30.09.2019 to submit this certificate, for traders from third countries (such as from China) a certificate must already be submitted by 28.02.2019.


In the proposed amendments to the above-mentioned laws, the Bundesrat has urged that an electronic registration option be created for applying for the certificate. Anything else contradicts the idea of the federal government's digitization strategy.



We at AccountOne expect that in the absence of a certificate for traders from third countries such as China, USA, the sales accounts will simply be blocked from 01.03.2019 by the marketplace operators such as Amazon, ebay, etc. This will then also affect German and European traders from 01.10.2019. This will then also affect German and European traders from 01.10.2019. We can be curious how the financial authorities will manage this organizational tour de force.



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