If you carry out a business activity, you must generally submit an advance VAT return to the tax office electronically for each month or quarter that has elapsed. In addition, a VAT return is required for the calendar year. If you apply the small business regulation (Section 19 of the German Value Added Tax Act - UStG), you are normally exempt from submitting advance VAT returns and the annual return
The submission period for advance VAT returns in the current year is regularly determined by the amount of the previous year's tax. The following rules apply, among others:
- If your VAT for the previous calendar year amounted to more than €7,500, you must submit monthly advance VAT returns in the current year.
- If your VAT for the previous year did not exceed €1,000, the tax office may exempt you from submitting advance VAT returns
- If there was a surplus in your favor of more than € 7,500 for the previous calendar year, you can choose the calendar month as the advance return period instead of the calendar quarter.
If you are starting a new business activity, the pre-notification period is determined by the expected tax in the year of foundation. To do this, you need to determine the expected VAT payable or the expected input tax surplus in the year of start-up as part of a forecast. If the tax is expected to be more than € 7,500, you must submit advance returns for each calendar month. If the tax is not expected to exceed € 7,500, you must submit advance returns to the tax office for each calendar quarter. If a surplus of more than € 7,500 is expected for the current calendar year, you can choose the calendar month as the advance return period instead of the calendar quarter
You must submit the advance return electronically to the tax office no later than the 10th day after the end of the advance return period (quarter, month).
If you are required to submit VAT returns on a monthly basis, the advance VAT return for the month of March must be submitted by April 10. In the case of quarterly submission, you must submit the advance return for the 2nd calendar quarter to the tax office by July 10.
If the 10th day falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, the submission deadline ends on the next working day
Upon request, the tax office can extend the deadline for the submission of advance returns and for the payment of advance payments (permanent deadline extension, §§ 46 ff. of the VAT Implementation Ordinance - UStDV). In this case, the submission and payment deadline is postponed by one month, for example from February 10 to March 10. If you are obliged to submit monthly advance returns, you must pay a so-called special advance payment to the tax office in order to receive the permanent extension.
You must also submit an annual VAT return to the tax office for the previous calendar year.
The principle of self-declaration applies to VAT. This means that you must calculate the tax yourself both in the advance VAT return and in the annual return and pay it to the tax office.
Please note: If the tax office follows your information, you will not receive a separate notification or request for payment. The tax office will only assess the tax by means of a tax assessment notice if it differs from the amounts you have declared
There is a general obligation to submit all VAT returns electronically. You must therefore
- the advance VAT return,
- the application for a permanent extension of the deadline/the registration of the special advance payment and
- the VAT return
electronically to the tax authorities in an authenticated manner.
Please note that the electronic transmission must be authenticated. To do this, you need an electronic certificate, which you can obtain at www.elster.de. For security reasons, registration involves several steps and includes sending registration data by post. To ensure that pre-registrations are submitted on time, it is advisable to register in good time.
Only in justified cases of hardship can the responsible tax office exceptionally waive electronic transmission (Section 150 (8) of the German Fiscal Code - AO - in conjunction with Section 18 (1) sentence 2 UStG). You must apply to the tax office in writing to make use of the hardship provision and explain the reasons why electronic transmission is not reasonable for you. Transmission in paper form is only permitted if the tax office agrees to your request.