How to get your ELSTER digital certificate

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If you are registered for VAT, i.e. if you are not a Kleinunternehmer, you need to get an ELSTER digital certificate with which to sign your Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldungen (= VAT announcements) from 2013.

 

From 1. January 2013 the Finanzamt will no longer accept them without it.

 

You will use your ELSTER digital certificate when submitting your Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung via either:

 

 

To get your ELSTER digital certificate, you will have to register here: https://www.elsteronline.de/eportal/eop/auth/RegistrierungBasis.tax

 

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You can register either with your Steuernummer or your Steuer-Identifikationsnummer.

 

Here are the screen shots for registering with your Steuernummer:

 

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Geburtsdatum = your date of birth. Please remember to enter it in the European format, i.e. day/month/year.

As one of their security measures they will compare the date of birth you entered here with the one they have on record and if it is different you will just keep waiting to get that letter with the activation code and never get it.

No error message to warn you about your mistake either.

 

Land = the Bundesland you live in

Finanzamt = the Finanzamt that you are registered at

Steuernummer = your tax number :)

 

Sicherheitsabfrage = a security question you will be asked if you should ever forget your PIN.

 

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Great timing, Panda!!! I´ve been out and about today and just opened my mail. There´s a letter to this effect from those b....

 

I´ll ignore it and follow your guidelin :D es!!!

I am a professional independent insurance broker and authorised advertiser. Contact me.
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My steuerberater told me to start using this about 2 years ago. If you do any business in Europe then you will also have to use this for the "zusammenfassende Meldung"

 

Then again, the enforcement seems rather random, so far.

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On this page you see your details again and can go back if you want to change something:

 

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After you click on "Absenden", you will get a confirmation window telling that they have sent you an e-mail in which you will find a confirmation link which you have to click.

 

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Here's the e-mail with the confirmation link that you have to click:

 

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Now, you will get a second e-mail with an activation ID (= Aktivierungs-ID):

 

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*************************Wait for 1 week

 

About a week after that second e-mail you will get a letter from the Finanzamt with your activation code (= Aktivierungs-Code).

 

You will need both the Aktivierungs-ID from that e-mail and the Aktivierungs-Code from the letter.

 

Click on the link in the second e-mail, it should be this one: https://www.elsteronline.de/eportal/eop/auth/RegistrierungSoft-PSE.tax

 

Now click on "Schritt 2: Aktivierung und erstmaliges Login":

 

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On the next page, allow your browser to run Java.

 

Now a pop-up will appear, asking you trust Elster. Do so.

 

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You will now have to enter both the Aktivierungs-ID from that e-mail and the Aktivierungs-Code from the letter:

 

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On the next page, you have to confirm that you want them to save the certificate to a default place on your PC and you will have to define a PIN (= password) that you will use from now on (so write it down somewhere so that you don't forget it!).

Enter the Aktivierungs-Code again (quite redundant, but if they want it...):

 

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On the next page you will have to enter your address.

As if they didn't already have it, if they hadn't you would never have received that letter with the Aktivierungs-Code to get this far in the activation process.

But humour them and enter your address:

 

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You will now get a page telling you that the activation was successful:

 

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When you now want to use that certificate, i.e. either:

 

  • login to ElsterOnline (https://www.elsteronline.de/eportal/) and submit your Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung (or your Zusammefassende Meldung if you need to) online, or
  • use your downloaded version of ElsterFormular and "sign" (that digital certificate is your digital signature) your Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung. Or to submit your "signed" tax return with ElsterFormular.

you will have to know:

 

  • the path to where you saved the digital certificate, usually it's:
    C:\Users\your name, e.g. Smith\your Elster Kurzname Konto, e.g. JSmith_elster_2048.pfx
  • the PIN you just defined

 

 

If you want to change computers, copy that .pfx file (which is your ELSTER digital certificate) from that default location onto a USB stick and ideally into the same location on your new computer.

 

Your certificate will be valid for exactly 3 years, after that you will have to again go through the whole process and get a new one.

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As a Mac user I've been using the Collmex website to do my monthly VAT declaration. Unfortunately due to the need to have the digital certificate they have announced that they will stop this service. As I understand things ELSTER doesn't work with a Mac so I need to find an alternative.

I've done a bit of searching on the net, but I thought I'd ask here if anybody knows of a good, preferably free, service that I can use after the end of the year. Thanks for any input.

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As I understand things ELSTER doesn't work with a Mac ...

 

 

 

You will use your ELSTER digital certificate when submitting your Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung via either:

 

 

 

You can do your Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldungen on the ElsterOnline web site, see here.

 

The BZStOnline website proposed by Freising is actually the ElsterOnline website and it works with a Mac, as long as you have the right combination of Java Runtime Environment, MacOS and browser version, see here.

 

However, you can't yet do a tax return with ElsterOnline, for that you would need to download the ElsterFormular software which does not yet work on a Mac, or buy a commercial software that has an Elster plugin.

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Ah ok, that's great thank you. I don't need to do my tax return online, I have a Steuerberater for that, it's just the monthly VAT that I do myself. I knew it would be a good idea to ask here. Once again thanks. If I ever meet you, I will buy you a drink of your choice.

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Now, I have forgot my PIN. I think I fairly recall the password. I suppose it had to be a 6 digit number. But, I used up my usual combination of 6 digit PIN but none of it seem to work. If anyone recalls what the entry parameters (i.e. if it was not the 6digit number requirement) then it might help me recall.

 

So I go about trying to retrieve my password since there is a security question right, so there should be a forgot PIN process.

 

 

Sicherheitsabfrage = a security question you will be asked if you should ever forget your PIN.

 

Well, no. I had no luck finding that.

After hours of trying to figure out, the FAQ tell me to register again in case of loss of PIN.

 

 

PIN steht für persönliche Identifikationsnummer und kann daher nur Ihnen persönlich bekannt sein. Ohne PIN können Sie sich nicht am ElsterOnline-Portal einloggen und auch nicht auf Ihr Postfach zugreifen.

Sollte die PIN unwiederbringlich verloren sein, registrieren Sie sich bitte erneut, denn eine neue PIN kann nicht ausgestellt werden. Bei der Registrierungsart ELSTER-Basis ist nach dreimaliger falscher PIN-Eingabe das Benutzerkonto nicht gesperrt. Es gibt keine Beschränkung an Versuchen. Falls Sie einen Sicherheitsstick (Registrierungsart ELSTER-Spezial) verwenden, beachten Sie bitte, dass nach dreimaliger Falscheingabe der PIN das Zertifikat auf dem Stick gesperrt und damit unbrauchbar ist. Eine Entsperrung ist nicht möglich. Bitte registrieren Sie sich erneut. Weiteres Vorgehen bei Neuregistrierung mit Sicherheitsstick. Verwenden Sie eine Signaturkarte (Registrierungsart ELSTER-Plus), so hängt die Anzahl der möglichen Fehlversuche bei der PIN-Eingabe von Ihrer Karte ab. Ist Ihr Zertifikat gesperrt, so ist dadurch nicht automatisch Ihr Konto beim ElsterOnline-Portal gelöscht, aus Sicherheitsgründen sollten Sie Ihr Konto löschen. Bitte beachten Sie aber, dass dadurch alle Daten in Ihrem Postfach unwiderruflich verloren sind.

So I go about registering again, but when I get to the confirmation of email stage I get this error.

 

 

Fehlernummer: 080090206 Es sind keine weiteren Registrierungen zu dem angegebenen Identifikationsmerkmal möglich, da die maximal zulässige Anzahl von Registrierungen überschritten wurde. Nähere Informationen finden sich in ELIAS.

Apparently, ELIAS (the ESTER robot version of the paperclip assistant) tells me that I can only make one registration per taxID number.

 

 

Wenn Sie den Portalfehler 080090206 erhalten, wurde die maximal zulässige Anzahl von abgeschlossenen oder/und nicht abgeschlossenen Registrierungen pro Identifikationsnummer, Steuernummer, BZSt-Nummer oder Bearbeiternummer überschritten.

Bei der Registrierung mit Identifikationsnummer ist unabhängig von der verwendeten Registrierungsart (ELSTERBasis, ELSTERSpezial und ELSTERPlus) nur eine einzige abgeschlossene Registrierung möglich.

Bei der Registrierung mit persönlicher Steuernummer oder BZSt-Nummer sind unabhängig von der verwendeten Registrierungsart (ELSTERBasis, ELSTERSpezial und ELSTERPlus) bis zu 20 abgeschlossene Registrierungen möglich.

Can anyone suggest how I can get out of this catch 22 situation? Panda, I am looking at you. Any number of wrong entry does not seem to block it. Do I have to manually ask them to block that by an letter or something?

 

Public Service Announcement

 

 

On the next page, ... you will have to define a PIN (= password) that you will use from now on (so write it down somewhere so that you don't forget it!).

Listen to her people, write it down!

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Sorry, forgot to mention. I thought of that too, but the website (new I suppose - changed from the time you had first made this thread) does not provide that option anymore :( . The only two option on the website available for individuals are

 

 

Registrierung mit Identifikationsnummer

Hier können Sie die Registrierung unter Angabe Ihrer persönlichen Identifikationsnummer vornehmen. Sie benötigen dazu die Identifikationsnummer, mit der Sie auch Ihre persönliche Einkommensteuererklärung beim Finanzamt abgeben.

 

Registrierung mit Identifikationsnummer und dem neuen Personalausweis (nicht barrierefrei)

Sie benötigen dazu Ihre persönliche Identifikationsnummer, mit der Sie auch Ihre persönliche Einkommensteuererklärung beim Finanzamt abgeben, sowie Ihren freigeschalteten neuen Personalausweis, die Personalausweis-PIN (eID-PIN), einen an den Computer angeschlossenen kontaktlosen Kartenleser sowie die AusweisApp2 für den neuen Personalausweis.

 

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Did you try erasing your old account before registering a new account: https://www.elster.de/anwenderforum/showthread.php?35994-PIN-vergessen/page2

 

You can erase your old account here.

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It worked! Thanks Panda!

 

My search gave me number of links but noting suggesting me to delete it. I was expecting it to be automatically blocked after entering multiple wrong entries as the FAQ said it would, never though of manually having to delete it.

 

So the update : The link provide above asks me for the kontoname and email address. Then it asked for the answer to the security question. So the answer to security question is to enable deleting the account, not retrieving the password as I though it was meant for.

 

Thankfully I remembered the answer to the question. It confirms if I really want to delete it. If so, next I get an email confirming the deletion of my account.

 

After deleting the account I was able to register again using the steps mentioned earlier. The email confirmation went without a trouble. Now I am waiting for the letter with the Activation code to complete the registration.

 

On an other note, how about amending the title of the thread to make it something in the line of "How to register and obtain an ELSTER digital certificate : Mandatory for Freelancer/Self-employed and for VAT charging". Since the digital signature can be used by anyone irrespective of the category, and it is now mandatory for freelancers and self-employed (even part time) even if you do not charge VAT.

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I was able to register again for the certificate. After that, I was able to log into Elsteronline website with my certificate and password. So everything worked fine. Both was with the office computer.

Last weekend when I finally completed my forms on Elsterformular and wanted to submit a digitally signed returns online, it does not work. I get the same error as before, wrong password. This is my home computer.

It also does not work with Elsteronline anymore. I am certain that the password is the correct as this time I wrote it down. I am also certain that I use the correct downloaded certificate as I saved it with the date. I also have used it with the same computer on which I downloaded the certificate on.

Am I doing something wrong?

-  I though the certificate might have been corrupted when I sent it to my home computer by email, or there was a PGP key which was installed on the office computer where I first downloaded it. So I have subsequently tried on my office computer with the certificate as originally downloaded. No success. 

- I did not use it try it more 2 times continuously, so I dont think it was locked or invalidated for multiple wrong tries. 

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