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VAT system in Germany - help please!
Thread poster: Amanda Grey

Amanda Grey  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 14:01
French to English
Feb 21, 2006

I have a new customer in Germany who has provided me with their VAT number as requested. It consists of XXXXX/XXXXX Finanzamt Stuttgart III, which when checked on the EU check site (http://europa.eu.int/comm/taxation_customs/vies/en/vieshome.htm) comes up as invalid.

The client has also asked me to insert on the invoice the words:
"Nach § 14 a Abs. 4 UStG wird die Ust.-Steuer vom Empfänger der Leistung geschuldet".

Could someone please enlighten me as to what all this means as I am getting rather suspiscious...

TIA


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Ralf Lemster  Identity Verified
Germany
Local time: 14:01
English to German
+ ...
Nothing suspicious here Feb 21, 2006

Hi Amanda,

I have a new customer in Germany who has provided me with their VAT number as requested. It consists of XXXXX/XXXXX Finanzamt Stuttgart III, which when checked on the EU check site (http://europa.eu.int/comm/taxation_customs/vies/en/vieshome.htm) comes up as invalid.

You can only check EU VAT IDs using VIES - looks like your customer quoted their German VAT number (the two are not identical).

Strictly speaking, you don't need their EU VAT ID,as the applicable VAT rules refer to businesses - your client can be a business without having a EU VAT ID. However, as a VIES check is the easiest way to ascertain that the details quoted are, in fact, accurate, it might be worthwhile asking them whether they have one.

The client has also asked me to insert on the invoice the words:
"Nach § 14 a Abs. 4 UStG wird die Ust.-Steuer vom Empfänger der Leistung geschuldet".

I require the same wording on invoices received, actually - what it means is that you reverse liability for VAT on imports onto your client (who is the "recipient of the service"). This allows them to net their import VAT obligation against the corresponding input tax credit - a zero sum game which, unfortunately, is necessary under German tax law.

I just think they got the paragraph wrong... this should refer to section 13b (2) of the UStG.

HTH, Ralf


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