If you carry out a business activity, you must always submit an advance VAT return electronically to the tax office 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 (§ 19 Umsatzsteuergesetz - UStG), you are normally exempt from submitting advance VAT returns and the annual return.
The submission period for the advance VAT returns in the current year is regularly determined by the amount of the previous year's tax. Among other things, the following rules apply:
- If your sales tax for the previous calendar year was more than €7,500, you must submit advance sales tax returns monthly in the current year.
- If your previous year's tax did not exceed € 1,000, the tax office can 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 start your business activity for the first time, the advance notification period is determined according to the
expected tax in the year of foundation. For this purpose, it is necessary to determine the expected VAT payment burden or the expected input tax surplus in the year of the start-up as part of a forecast. If the tax is expected to be more than €7,500, you must file 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 the surplus for the current calendar year is expected to be more than €7,500, 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 file monthly, the advance return for VAT for the month of March must be submitted by April 10. If you are required to file quarterly, 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 filing deadline is the next working day.
Upon request, the tax office may extend the deadline for submitting the advance tax returns and for paying the advance payments (so-called extension of the standing deadline). In this case, the deadline for submission and payment 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 obtain the extension of the standing deadline.
You must also submit an annual VAT return to the tax office for the past calendar year.
In the area of sales tax, the principle of so-called self-declaration applies. This means that you must calculate the tax yourself in both the advance VAT return and 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 message or request for payment. The tax office will only assess the tax by means of a separate tax 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 return for VAT,
- the application for extension of the permanent deadline/the application for special advance payment, and
- the sales tax return
authenticated electronically to the tax authorities.
Please note that 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 mail. In order to ensure that the pre-registrations are sent 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 of the German Turnover Tax Act - UStG). You must apply to the tax office in writing to take advantage of the hardship provision and explain the reasons why electronic transmission is not reasonable for you. Only if the tax office complies with your request is transmission in paper form permissible.