10 April 2021

VAT rates in Germany

Deutschland Mehrwertsteuersätze

Value Added Tax in Germany (VAT/Sales Tax). What is the VAT rate in Germany? What are the VAT rates in Germany? How many reduced VAT rates are there in Germany? VAT Germany? Plant VAT? Where can i find the threshold for german sales? mwst germany 2021?

MwSt (VAT) 2021/2022

Please note: A reduced VAT rate of 19% => 7% (01 Jul 2020 – 31 Dec 2022) applies to pubs, restaurants and cafes.

VAT reduction 2020

2020 Corona Shield package: Germany will promote economic recovery from the Corona pandemic by Reduction of VAT rates from July 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020..
The regular rate will be reduced from 19% to 16%. The reduced rate will drop from 7% to 5%. Food service will be reclassified from 19% to 5%. The reduced rate for take-out food is already 7% and will now be 5%. The food service reclassification will last a full year from July 1, 2020 to July 1, 2021.

2020: Germany has reduced the VAT rate for e-books and monthly hygiene products to 7%. Changes in VAT rates in the EU and the rest of the world can be found here.

2019: Digital marketplaces are now responsible for collecting VAT.

VAT rates in Germany

The German market is the fourth largest economy in the world. But what are the VAT rates in Germany? What is the normal VAT rate in Germany? What is the VAT rate on electronic services in Germany?

Format of the German VAT identification number

Format for EU VAT number in Germany: DE000000000

What is the normal VAT rate in Germany?

Steuersätze Deutschland
(mwst Germany)

Normaler Mehrwertsteuersatz in Deutschland: 19%

What is the reduced VAT rate in Germany?

Normal VAT rate in Germany: 7%

There is a proposal to reduce VAT rates on tampons and e-books to 7% in 2020.

Staple foods like bread, butter, milk (Alcohol content, soft drinkSoy milk and juice = 19%), coffee, tea (beer has 19% VAT which remains in the local state) over coffee/tea etc. ready to be bought from a vending machine costs 19% (the same rating as soft drinks), meat, sausage, seafood (except lobster, auster, snails, caviar = 19%, but many luxury items have 7% and this part of the German VAT system is particularly confusing and illogical), (Bottled or tap water has 19%, delivery of water from water plant 7%), spicessaltsugarcocoa, honeybaked goodscakecandy, popcornice creampotato chips, plants, potatoesflour, butter (bottled or tap water has 19%), cheese and in Germany also truffles as it’s classified among necessary food for survival (!). Animals, animal and vegetable fats, animal feed and fertilizers. New additions are personal hygiene products and e-books.

Books and magazines (excluding content that is harmful to children or contain over 50% advertising), admission fees, sold artworks.

Takeaway food (‘Takeaway’ or ‘To-go’)– Germany has a complicated system where the level of service and infrastructure affect whether the VAT is reduced, the service in the restaurant environment is 19%, while the food you take away is 7%. Examples that receive 7% even if there is an infrastructure in the form of chairs, toilets and cutlerygives: catering, school meals, hospital catering and food cart.

Private medical and dental care, some medical aids such as wheelchair, pacemaker and hearing aid (but glasses 19%..), collectibles including some gold coins and jewels,

Passenger transportation up to 50 km (exception for train tickets) and Hotels (but services related to hotel operations are not included in the lower VAT rate, i.e.  breakfast, parking, minibar, spa etc. have 19%). However, there is often an additional curtax (local tourist tax) between 3-5 € for hotel stays. The Transfer of copyright (Copyright) also has a reduced rate.

German products with reduced rate (7%)





Lfd.

No.

Goods description

1

Living animals, that is

a)

(deleted)

b)

Mules and mules,

c)

Housed cattle, including purebred breeding animals,

d)

House-bred pigs including purebred breeding animals,

e)

House-bred sheep including purebred breeding animals,

f)

Domestic goats including purebred breeding animals,

g)

Domestic poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guinea fowl),

h)

House Rabbit,

i)

House pigeons,

j)

bees,

k)

trained guide dogs for the blind

2

Meat and edible meat offal

3

Fish and crustaceans, mollusks and other aquatic invertebrates, except ornamental fish, lobsters, lobsters, oysters and snails

4

Milk and milk products; birds’ eggs and egg yolks, except shelled inedible eggs and yolks; natural honey

5

Other goods of animal origin, namely

a)

Stomachs of domestic cattle and poultry,

b)

(deleted)

c)

raw bones

6

Bulbs, bulbs, tubers, tuberous roots and rhizomes, dormant, growing or in flower; chicory plants and roots

7

Other living plants including their roots, cuttings, and grafts; fungal mycelium

8

Flowers and flower buds, cut, for bouquets or for ornamental purposes, fresh

9

Leaves, branches and other parts of plants, without flowers or flower buds, and grasses, mosses and lichens, for bouquets or ornamental purposes, fresh

10

Vegetables, plants, roots and tubers used for nutritional purposes

a)

Potatoes, fresh or chilled,

b)

Tomatoes, fresh or chilled,

c)

Cooking onions, shallots, garlic, leeks and other vegetables of the Allium species, fresh or chilled,

d)

Cauliflower, cauliflower/cauliflower, kohlrabi, savoy cabbage and similar edible cabbage species of the genus Brassica, fresh or chilled,

e)

Salads (Lactuca sativa) and chicory (Cichorium species), fresh or chilled,

f)

Carrots and edible carrots, turnips, beets, salsify, celeriac, radishes and similar edible roots, fresh or chilled,

g)

Cucumbers and gherkins, fresh or chilled,

h)

Legumes, whether or not shelled, fresh or chilled,

i)

Other vegetables, fresh or chilled,

j)

Vegetables, whether or not cooked by steaming or boiling in water, frozen,

k)

Vegetables, provisionally preserved (e.g., by sulfur dioxide or in water, to which salt, sulfur dioxide or other preservatives have been added), unsuitable in that state for immediate consumption,

l)

Vegetables, dried, whether or not cut, sliced, powdered or otherwise comminuted, but not further prepared,

m)

Dried leguminous vegetables, shelled, whether or not peeled or crushed,

n)

Topinambur

11

Edible fruits and nuts

12

Coffee, tea, mate and spices

13

Cereals

14

Mill products, namely

a)

Meal from cereals,

b)

Coarse meal, fine meal and pellets of cereals,

c)

Cereal grains, otherwise worked; cereal germ, whole, crushed, flaked or ground

15

flour, semolina, powder, flakes, granules and pellets of potatoes

16

Meal, meal, and powder of dried legumes and flour, meal, and powder of edible fruits

17

Strength

18

Oilseeds and oleaginous fruits, and flour thereof

19

Seeds, fruits, and spores, for sowing

20

(deleted)

21

Rosemary, mugwort, and basil in presentations for kitchen use, as well as dost, mint, sage, chamomile flowers, and house tea

22

Johnny bread and sugar beet, fresh or dried, whether or not ground; fruit stones and kernels and other vegetable products (including unroasted chicory roots of the variety Cichorium intybus sativum) of a kind used primarily for human consumption, not elsewhere specified or included; except seaweed, seaweed and sugar cane

23

Straw and chaff of cereals and various plants used for feeding

24

Pectins, pectinates and pectates

25

(deleted)

26

Edible animal and vegetable fats and oils, whether or not processed

a)

Pork lard, other pork fat and poultry fat,

b)

Fat of cattle, sheep or goats, rendered or solvent-extracted,

c)

Oleomargarine,

d)

Fats Vegetable oils and vegetable fats and their fractions, whether or not refined,

e)

Animal and vegetable fats and oils and their fractions, partly or wholly hydrogenated, interesterified, re-esterified or elaidinized, whether or not refined, but not further prepared, excluding hydrogenated castor oil (so-called opaline wax),

f)

Margarine; edible mixtures or preparations of animal or vegetable fats or oils or of fractions of different fats or oils, other than molding or mold-release oils

27

(deleted)

28

Preparations of meat, fish or of crustaceans, mollusks or other aquatic invertebrates, excluding caviar and prepared or preserved lobster, lobsters, oysters and snails

29

Sugar and sugar confectionery

30

Cocoa powder not containing added sugar or other sweetening matter, and chocolate and other food preparations containing cocoa

31

Preparations made from cereals, flour, starch or milk; bakery products

32

Preparations of vegetables, fruits, nuts or other parts of plants, not including fruit or vegetable juices

33

Various food preparations

34

Water, except for – drinking water, including spring water and table water, placed on the market in pre-packaged form for supply to the consumer, – medicinal water, and – steam

35

Milk-based mixed drinks containing at least seventy-five percent milk or milk products (e.g., whey) of the finished product

36

Cooking vinegar

37

Residues and wastes from the food industry; prepared feed

38

(deleted)

39

Eating salt, not in an aqueous solution

40

a)

commercial ammonium carbonate and other ammonium carbonates,

b)

Sodium hydrogen carbonate (sodium bicarbonate)

41

D-glucitol (sorbitol), whether or not containing added saccharin or its salts

42

Acetic acid

43

Sodium salt and potassium salt of saccharin

44

(deleted)

45

Animal or vegetable fertilizers, other than guano, whether or not mixed together, but not chemically treated; fertilizers obtained by mixing animal or vegetable products

46

Mixtures of odoriferous substances and mixtures (including alcoholic solutions) with a basis of one or more of these substances, put up for culinary use

47

Gelatin

48

Wood, specifically

a)

Firewood in the form of logs, billets, twigs, bundles of brushwood or similar shapes,

b)

Sawdust, wood waste and scrap, whether or not agglomerated in logs, briquettes, pellets or similar forms,

49

Books, newspapers and other products of the graphic arts with the exception of products for which there are restrictions as harmful to minors carrier media or information obligations under § 15 (1) to (3) and (6) of the Youth Protection Act, as amended, as well as the publications that serve primarily advertising purposes (including travel advertising), namely

a)

Books, pamphlets and similar printed matter, whether or not in part-books, loose sheets or leaves, intended for brochures, cardboard or binding, and newspapers and other periodicals, paperback, bound or in collections of more than one number in a common cover (except those containing mainly advertising),

b)

Newspapers and other periodicals, whether or not containing pictures or advertisements (excluding advertising journals, advertising newspapers and the like, which contain mainly advertisements),

c)

Picture albums, picture books, and drawing or coloring books, for children,

d)

Notes, handwritten or printed, also with pictures, also bound,

e)

Cartographic products of all kinds, including wall maps, topographic plans and globes, printed,

f)

Stamps and the like (eg, first-day covers, postal stationery) as collectibles

50

Discs, tapes, non-volatile semiconductor storage devices, “intelligent cards (smart cards)” and other sound carriers or similar recording media containing exclusively the sound recording of the reading of a book, with the exception of products for which restrictions are imposed as carrier media harmful to minors or. Notice obligations under § 15 paragraphs 1 to 3 and 6 of the Youth Protection Act, as amended exist.

51

Wheelchairs and other vehicles for the disabled, whether or not motorized or fitted with other means of mechanical propulsion

52

Body substitutes, orthopedic appliances and other orthopedic devices, and devices to correct functional defects or infirmities, for humans, namely

a)

Artificial joints, excluding parts and accessories,

b)

Orthopedic appliances and other orthopedic devices, including crutches and medical-surgical belts and bandages, excluding parts and accessories,

c)

Prosthetics, excluding parts and accessories,

d)

Hearing aids, pacemakers and other devices intended to correct functional defects or infirmities, to be worn in the hand or body or to be implanted in the organism, excluding parts and accessories

53

Artifacts, namely

a)

Paintings and drawings created entirely by hand, as well as collages and similar decorative pictorial works,

b)

Original stitches, cuts, and lithographs,

c)

Original products of sculpture, made from fabrics of all kinds

54

Collection items,

a)

zoological, botanical, mineralogical, or anatomical, and collections of that kind,

b)

of historical, archaeological, paleontological, or ethnological value,

c)

of coinage value, namely

aa)

Invalid banknotes, including stamp money and paper currency,

bb)

Coins of base metals,

cc)

coins and medals made of precious metals, if the taxable amount for the sales of these items is more than 250 percent of the metal value excluding sales tax, calculated on the basis of the fine weight

55

Products for the purpose of menstrual hygiene, namely

a)

hygienic pads (liners) and tampons made from fabrics of all kinds,

b)

Hygiene items made of plastics (menstrual cups, menstrual sponges),

c)

Goods for hygienic purposes made of soft rubber (menstrual cups),

d)

Natural sponges of animal origin (menstrual sponges),

e)

Period underpants (briefs and other underpants with an incorporated absorbent insert, for multiple use).

List of items subject to the reduced rate

VAT rates for all EU member countries

German VAT rate for electronic services

If you sold Apps, Games, Pictures, Music (E-Services), then you should use the German VAT rate of 19% when calculating the VAT for the customer. As you may know, companies must now charge and collect VAT for the customer when selling digital services to individuals – based on the VAT rate in the customer’s country (MOSS VAT system).

Threshold for distance sales to Germany

What is the value threshold for distance sales to Germany? If you have traded with Germany with a turnover of more than 100,000 €, you must register for VAT in Germany and pay and report VAT in Germany to the German tax office (note: new rules after 1 july 2021).

Threshold for remote sales registration: €100000

Taxation of small business

The turnover tax due on turnover within the meaning of (§ 1 (1) No. 1) shall not be levied on entrepreneurs resident in Germany or in the territories designated in (§ 1 (3)) if the turnover referred to in sentence 2 plus the tax thereon in the preceding calendar year amounted to 22500 EUR (The threshold was raised from 17500, the 2019 threshold, on January 1, 2020.) and is not expected to exceed 50000 euros in the current calendar year (small business regulation/small businessprinciple). Turnover within the meaning of sentence 1 is the total turnover measured in terms of remuneration received, reduced by the turnover of fixed assets included therein. Sentence 1 does not apply to the tax due under Section 13a(1)(6), Section 13b(5), Section 14c(2) and Section 25b(2).

How do you register for VAT in Germany?

A special feature of VAT registration for foreign companies in Germany is that you are assigned to a specific local tax office, depending on your company’s country of origin. No central office manages VAT registrations for foreign companies. For example, UK companies are handled by the Hanover tax office. American (USA) companies are assigned to Bonn.

A complete list of contact information for German tax authorities and individual offices for foreign companies by country of origin can be found here

Exceptions for VAT in Germany

There are two exceptions to VAT in Germany that few people are aware of. If you sell to the German region Helgoland, an island in southwestern Denmark that has changed nationality several times, you need to think about how you manage VAT and invoicing. It now formally belongs to Schleswig-Holstein and Germany, but is not included in the EU VAT area. Another exception is the area of Büsingen am Hochrhein, which is located in Switzerland south of the German border. Formally, the area is part of Germany, but economically it is part of Switzerland, which means it is treated as if it were outside the EU VAT area as far as taxes are concerned. If you sell to either of these German territories, it is considered an export outside the European Union (comparable to the Finnish island of Åland). If you buy from a company that is inside these territories, it is imported into the EU from a country outside the EU, from a VAT perspective.

EU VAT rates

VAT in EU Member States

Where can I check the German VAT identification number?

Check the German VAT identification number here

Calculate VAT

Calculate the VAT included in a price (backwards)

Calculate VAT on price

Customs territory and VAT territory of the European Union

Here is an explanation of the included regions of the EU VAT territory

How should companies in other countries bill customers in Germany?

B2B: (Seller outside Germany) Germany. To a business invoice without VAT (Reverse Charge).

B2C: (Seller outside Germany) ⇨ Germany. With the MwSt. of your own country (with Austrian VAT, if you sell from Austria) for private individuals in Germany up to a limit, which is usually 35000 € (but Germany has 100000), above that with German VAT that applies to (goods/physical products). Service sales/Services are sold with your own VAT, unless this is done on German soil. There is no quantity limit. But watch out for digital services below!

Please note the new rules for B2C sales of goods to private individuals from 1 July 2021 (destination principle of VAT). You need to invoice with the VAT rate of the target country you are selling to, i.e. 19% german VAT to german customer.

B2Cd: (sellers outside Germany) ⇨ Germany. Electronic services (downloadable files from your website) are sold with German VAT. Almost always 19% (e-books 7%).

Keywords:  German VAT rates, VAT rate Germany, Germ an VAT,  mwst deutschland, VAT in Germany and Germany VAT rate on electronic services.