Help filling out a German VAT tax return

Understanding an Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung

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andydrew
Hello Everybody,

I wonder if anybody could help me!

My name is Nicholas and I live in London. I have a UK company. I import solar panels from China to a UK port, then I forward them to Germany where I use a German outsourcing company to send the panels to my customers in Germany and Europe.

95% of my customers are consumers, and so I charge them 19% German Vat. A small number of my customers are companies in other EU countries, so I charge them net of German Vat.

So, I pay UK Vat on imports, which I then claim back from HMRC, and I charge German Vat on sales.

Invoices from my outsourcing company is my only purchase which has German Vat.

I recently received my German Vat number and have to file quite a lot of returns - basically monthly returns for October through to June, an annual return for 2007, and the ZM (EC Sales List) for the last quarter of last year (which will be a null return) and the first quarter of this year.

I keep very good records and know exactly what Vat was charged and paid each month.

However, after downloading Elster I see that the Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung is a very complicated form!

I am trying to work out which boxes I need to fill out.

As I said, most sales are to consumers in Germany and Europe and I've charged them 19% German Vat.

Around 1 order a month is to a non-German EU company, and so I have invoiced them net of German Vat.

Could anybody give me some pointers? I know I should be seeking professional help however I've just finished university and have put all my money into buying stock, so I'm trying to economise. The UK form is so easy I didn't think this would be any different...

Any help would be extremely appreciated.

Kind Regards
Nicholas
Freising
I saw YL6 coming and leaving again, so I guess there isnt much of a chance that anyone else will write something.

Doing this from the perspective of a foreign company is new to me and Im to tired to do a full research, so there is a good chance of complete failure. If anyone wants to correct me or add something, please go ahead. Id be pleased to learn something new.

This is how I would do it:

Im assuming you know how to fill out the top half of the first page (line 1-17) name, Finanzamt, ...

Your net sales to german customers into box81 "Steuerpflichtige Umsätze zum Steuersatz von 19v.H."

The VAT on the invoices from your outsourcing company in box66 "Vorsteuerbeträge aus Rechnungen von ..."

That´s all (I would do).

If an english company is selling to a non-German EU company, why would this have anything to do with german VAT? Unless there is something really complicated going on - in that case you need professional help...

Even if this was wrong, germany would get the right amount of tax and that should be enough...

You could try to contact a british-german trade chamber. They might know more.
andydrew
Thanks for your reply.

All of my sales come under the scope of German Vat because the products are stored in Germany. So, even my sales to non-German EU companies must go on the German Vat return.

Because the products are stored in Germany it should be exactly the same as if I were a German company.

Thanks again.

King Regards
Nicholas
YorkshireLad6
I saw YL9 coming and leaving again, so I guess there isnt much of a chance that anyone else will write something.
Oh the honour! YL6+3!
To be honest, I saw Freising coming and thought I'd leave him to it...
Being somewhat more honest, I also saw the OP had only registered on TT today, presumably for the sole fact of asking this question, and really think this is a question that needs professional and paid-for assistance. From the profits he's making on the solar collectors, and the infrastructure he has in place, then his business plan surely includes an allowance for professional support to operate the business.
andydrew
That's a fair point. However you might see the first thing I did after posting was return the favour by replying to someone else's post.

When I started the business, I thought that as a UK company I would charge UK Vat. Subsequently, after I began trading I discovered I had to register for German Vat, which has already cost me a fortune.

I'm just trying to understand the form. I found this forum after scouring the internet, and it seemed like the best place to ask for advice.

Thank you Freising for your reply, I think essentially that is what I need. However, when I sell to consumers outside of Germany (but send the goods FROM Germany), do these orders also go in Box 81?

In the UK, sales to consumers (i.e. people without Vat numbers) in the UK and Europe are all treated the same on the tax return.

Kind Regards
Nicholas
Freising
All of my sales come under the scope of German Vat because the products are stored in Germany.
If this is a so called "Umsatzsteuerlager", this would be too much to explain here.

Because the products are stored in Germany it should be exactly the same as if I were a German company.
If this is so, then I should add the following:
your sales to non-german EU-companies belong to box41 "Innergemeinschaftliche Lieferungen ..." (assuming they have given you their USt-ID number)

Oh the honour! YL6+3!
hehe sorry I wasnt quick enough with the edit button.
Freising
However, when I sell to consumers outside of Germany (but send the goods FROM Germany), do these orders also go in Box 81?
If you charge 19% german VAT (which I guess you have to) then yes.
leylah
you should really speak with a german steuerberater (tax advisor/tax lawyer). google steuerberater and the city (or state) where you store your product. also google british embassy germany english speaking tax accountants.
andydrew
Thanks for the help.

I've got on fine with the form. All I have to fill out is box 81 and box 41 on most forms.

Just a quick question, do normal rounding rules apply? Or should I always round up? (whole euros only)

Kind Regards
Nicholas
andydrew
Hello Everybody,

I took some professional advice regarding the German Vat return and thought I'd post back to help anybody trying to fill out this form in the future.

Freising's comments were all correct:

Net Sales = box 81
German Vat Paid = box 66
sales to customers with EU Vat Number = box 41

Elster will calculate entries for other boxes automatically.

With regards to rounding, I have been advised that you can always round down the TOTAL amount of turnover, even if it is .99.

The annual return should be printed out from http://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de, rather than completed by Elster, and signed by the legal representative of the company and posted to the Finanzamt.

Kind Regards
Nicholas
Disco_L
Anyone feel like making my Sunday a whole lot easier?

I'm trying to do a monthly VAT return - payment received in August, but for services supplied in July. Is this wrong, given it is now September? I imagine I should instead submit a quarterly return at the end of this month?

In any case, I can see that there are a certain few fields I need to fill out. The turnover is VAT-exempt (sonstige leistung, exported to non-EU customer) - which box does that need to go in?

in terms of VAT inputs, all I have is my Isar card - is the VAT deductible? And if so, which box does it go in?

In the UK, from what I know, it goes like this:

1 VAT due on sales
2 VAT due on EU sales

3 ==> Total VAT due (=1+2)

4 VAT reclaimed on purchases & inputs

5 ==> Net VAT to be paid (=3-4)

Does this tally up with the German form at all?

Thanks if you even bother reading this! I know I'm sick of the sound of it!
swimmer
You submit to the periodic timetable your Finanzamt has asked you to - you can't just decide to do it quarterly if they want it monthly. I record income in the period (quarterly for me) I get it.

You produce a final year end return as well anyway of course.
mmorgan
thanks swimmer - do they write to you and let you know which way they want it? i registered with them a few weeks ago and so far all they have given me is a personal identification number
YorkshireLad6
All new registrants are required to submit monthly - no later than 10 days after the end of the relevant month. After a full year of trading the Finanzamt will revise the submission period according to your turnover for the year. You can initially opt for the "ist" (cash accounting) or "soll" (invoice accounting) submission procedure. "ist" means that the relevant dates for handling inputs or outputs relate to when you actually receive or pay money. "soll" relates to the date on the relevant documents. Small traders can choose either, but "ist" is usually to their benefit, as the only pay the tax to the Finanzamt when they actually have received or paid money. Traders with a larger turnover are usually required to operate under the "soll" procedures , which mean they may end up paying VAT before they receive it, when they receive payments after they have paid the tax, as the invoice date fell in the relevant tax period, but the customer paid afterwards. There is clearly some potential disadvantage here when customers are late payers, or worse, don't even pay.
Freising
The turnover is VAT-exempt (sonstige leistung, exported to non-EU customer) - which box does that need to go in?
If VAT-exempt means "nicht steuerbar" (=it wont be taxed in germany, as the location of the deal is considered somewhere else and it is probably taxed there) - then the correct field would be "Nicht steuerbare Umsätze" No. 45 (thats the last one on the first page).

in terms of VAT inputs, all I have is my Isar card - is the VAT deductible? And if so, which box does it go in?
I dont know how the Isarcard looks like, but train tickets are a little tricky, as they often dont show the VAT rate. If they dont, then everything equal and below 50 km "Tarifentfernung" is 7% VAT, while everything above is 19%. (§§ 34, 35 UStDV) So you have to calculate the correct amount yourself (price divided through 1,07 multiplied with 0,07 or price divided through 1,19 multiplied with 0,19). The correct field would be "Vorsteuerbeträge aus Rechnungen ..." No.66 on the second page.

In the UK, from what I know, it goes like this:

1 VAT due on sales
2 VAT due on EU sales

3 ==> Total VAT due (=1+2)

4 VAT reclaimed on purchases & inputs

5 ==> Net VAT to be paid (=3-4)

Does this tally up with the German form at all?
If this is all, then the Brits have to be very happy people.
It does tally up, but german Finanzamt wants a little more information on the kind of sales...
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