Seller requests personal ID when trying to make B2B purchase by reverse-charge?

14 posts in this topic

I wanted to make a B2B purchase from a seller located in a neighboring EU country using my German VAT ID by reverse-charge. Their webshop does not have this functionality, so when I made an email request, they asked me to send them my personal ID. I have never been asked this before when making a B2B purchase.

 

Is it normal to do so?

 

I can't imagine a personal ID being necessary for checking whether or not a buyer is qualified for reverse-charge, even for a self employed person. It may even be excessive personal data collection, and sending it by a simple email attachment may not be secure enough for GDPR.

If a B2B order was made by a GmbH, you wouldn't ask the employee for their personal ID.

 

Also, why is it that VIES does not show German addresses / names with their VAT ID? What website would you direct sellers to look at when validating your vat ID? 

 

 

 

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If you're personally registered for VAT as a sole trader (rather than a company or other legal person) they seller might want you to prove that you're entitled to use the VAT details (rather than someone using another registered entity's details fraudulently to avoid paying VAT). This may be a standard process for the seller if thay have been caught out before. The sector and method of ordering may also influence their checks.

 

You can check all EU transnational VAT details (for intra-EU transactions ) here

 

https://europa.eu/youreurope/business/taxation/vat/check-vat-number-vies/index_en.htm

 

Note that it's possible to be only registered for domestic (national) VAT and you can check that this is not the case on that site.

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1 hour ago, applepenpineapple said:

Also, why is it that VIES does not show German addresses / names with their VAT ID? What website would you direct sellers to look at when validating your vat ID? 

Because Germany does not transmit that information. 

There is none better than the VIES VAT database that you already know about: https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/vies/

 

I suggest you send that EU seller a scan of the letter in which the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern told you what your VAT ID number is.

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8 hours ago, nomadpunk said:

If you're personally registered for VAT as a sole trader (rather than a company or other legal person) they seller might want you to prove that you're entitled to use the VAT details (rather than someone using another registered entity's details fraudulently to avoid paying VAT). 

 

I use the same shipping address as the one registered with the VAT ID. If they go through the VAT check, the same address will be pulled up, assuming whichever checking service they use provides addresses. A personal ID may give some evidence that you may be who you claim to be. But It doesn't contain a VAT number and your residence address may be different from your VAT address.

 

My method to confirm that the a buyer business received the package is to send it to the same address registered to the VAT ID and getting a delivery confirmation. I may consider sending to a different address if I get some evidence that it's a branch office or if the buyer sends a statement saying something like this and keeping a copy of it.

 

 

7 hours ago, PandaMunich said:

Because Germany does not transmit that information. 

 

I suggest you send that EU seller a scan of the letter in which the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern told you what your VAT ID number is.

 

I did send the latest scan of a VAT letter which was an address change, when the seller first asked for "ID" because I didn't know what they meant. They asked for "ID" again so I'm assuming a personal ID.

 

The only additional information that a personal ID contains is biometric data and unique personal numbers, which starts to seriously enter the realm of GDPR. If a typical buyer bought from their webshop, they wouldn't be asking for ID. Biometric data isn't necessary for validating VAT ID or business purpose, so asking for it doesn't conform to the data minimization principle. If asking for it, email isn't compliant because attachments are decrypted on each mail server it passes through, unless you encrypt the attachment before sending.

 

The only reasons I can think of is that perhaps they typically don't get reverse charge requests and aren't familiar with it, or they have suspicions as they are located in a German speaking country to the south and I'm asking to ship to Germany while writing in English. But whichever language I write in doesn't affect whether or not I have a valid VAT ID or a business. They're better off asking for a Gewerbeschein but that also doesn't prove a valid VAT ID. A VAT ID itself is issued to businesses and already shows a business purpose. (or maybe they're unable to validate the VAT address)

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3 hours ago, applepenpineapple said:

I use the same shipping address as the one registered with the VAT ID. If they go through the VAT check, the same address will be pulled up, assuming whichever checking service they use provides addresses. 

I don't know how to put it more plainly:

No, nobody will ever see your name and address when checking your German VAT ID number.

Because, probably for misunderstood data privacy reasons, the institution that knows these details, the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern, never hands them out to its European sister institutions.

 

3 hours ago, applepenpineapple said:

I did send the latest scan of a VAT letter which was an address change, when the seller first asked for "ID" because I didn't know what they meant. 

Did you send them this letter?

https://www.booklooker.de/images/ust_ID.jpg

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I think the simplest solution would be to ask the seller directly, rather than the forum, becuase we can only speculate on the seller's motivation and understanding of their obligations.

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5 hours ago, PandaMunich said:

I don't know how to put it more plainly:

No, nobody will ever see your name and address when checking your German VAT ID number.

Because, probably for misunderstood data privacy reasons, the institution that knows these details, the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern, never hands them out to its European sister institutions.

 

Did you send them this letter?

https://www.booklooker.de/images/ust_ID.jpg

 

I wonder how vat - search . eu is able to do a reverse lookup of German VAT ID's by names and addresses?

 

I sent them the letter which comes from address changes. It looks similar except for differences in the Betreff and first sentence. The original issue letter is really old and 2 addresses prior.
 

Quote

 

Erteilung einer Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer

die Ihnen zugeteilte Umsatzsteuer-Identifikationsnummer lautet: DExxx

Sie ist gültig mit Wirkung vom xx.xx.xxxx

Folgende Daten werden im Rahmen des Bestätigungsverfahrens den zuständigen Behörden der übrigen Mitgliedstaaten zugänglich gemacht:

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, applepenpineapple said:

I wonder how vat - search . eu is able to do a reverse lookup of German VAT ID's by names and addresses?

That's an excellent question.

Which is why I have now written to the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern to find out why they do not provide this information free of charge to the European Commission's VIES VAT database, but apparently do provide this information to an Austrian company in Vienna, which then sells this information on https://vat-search.eu/.

 

I will update this thread once I have received their reply.

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I have now received the reply from the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern, a 3 page letter, which looks like copied text blocks.

 

Sadly, they do not "get" what I was asking, i.e. whether the complete data set of all German VAT ID numbers is provided to commercial companies, since that is the only way that vat-search.eu could work.

The Bundeszentralamt still seems to think that each new German business' VAT ID number comes to vat-search.eu in a dream and that they then look up the name and address belonging to that specific VAT-ID number in the Austrian portal.

Which clearly isn't the case, the Austrian tax department is giving the entire data package to that Vienna company, they don't first need to know each and every VAT-ID number in that package.

Or maybe vat-search.eu does "cold queries" of all possible German VAT number combinations and each time they get a hit, i.e. one of the queried VAT ID numbers turns out to exist, they populate their vat-search.eu database with that data?

 

Basically, what the Bundeszentralamt are saying that that Austria interprets the EU's "Council Regulation on administrative cooperation and combating fraud in the field of value added tax 904/2010" differently from Germany and that therefore the Austrian tax department, unlike Germany, hands out more information than Germany does.

 

In Germany, the most you can do on the Bundeszentralamt website is to enter a non-German VAT ID number, the name of the business and its address, and the Bundeszentralamt will then confirm that what you entered was correct ("stimmt überein") through the "Qualifizierte Bestätigung": https://evatr.bff-online.de/eVatR/index_html#

So in Germany, you first have to know the name and address belonging to that VAT ID number, which means that a service such as vat-search.eu could never have been created in Germany.

62750120af45c_2022-05-0613_03_59-BZSt_US

 

The Bundeszentralamt says in the letter that the Austrian tax department does get all of these details (names and addresses of the owners of all German VAT ID numbers together with those German VAT ID numbers) from them, but that they then have no say about what Austria in its turn does with this data. 

 

In Austria, according to that Bundeszentralamt letter, there is a portal where any Austrian company can - once they know a German VAT ID number - can get the name and address belonging to that VAT ID number:

  • "Der Betreiber der Website www.vat-search.eu, die Linkomat GmbH mit
    Sitz in Wien und österreichischer USt-IdNr., hat sich in dem von der
    zentralen Behörde Österreichs zur Verfügung gestellten Portal für das
    Bestätigungsverfahren registriert. Ein uneingeschränkter Zugang zu
    diesem Portal sei nach Auskunft der zentralen Behörde Österreichs allen
    Unternehmen zu gewährleisten.
    Über dieses Portal kann die Linkomat GmbH auch Unternehmen mit
    deutscher USt-IdNr. abfragen.
    Nach Eingabe einer (gültigen) USt-IdNr. wird bei diesem Portal diese
    USt-IdNr. bestätigt und neben der Gültigkeitsmeldung die zu dieser UStJdNr.
    hinterlegten Firmendaten (Firmenwortlaut und Adresse) angezeigt.
     
  • The operator of the website www.vat-search.eu, Linkomat GmbH with domicile in Vienna and with an Austrian VAT ID number, has registered with the portal made available by the central authority of Austria for the confirmation procedure (Bestätigungsverfahren). According to the central tax authority of Austria, unrestricted access to this portal has to be given to all companies. 
    Linkomat GmbH can also use this portal to query companies with a German VAT registration number. 
    After entering a (valid) VAT registration number, this portal will confirm whether this VAT registration number is valid, in addition to the validity message, will supply the data stored for this VAT registration number (business name and address).

6274f933600a0_1-2022-05-0612_19_53-Bunde

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On 21/04/2022, 20:58:17, applepenpineapple said:

What website would you direct sellers to look at when validating your vat ID? 

According to what the Bundeszentralamt writes, there is a free, official portal in Austria where that Austrian company can query your German VAT ID number and get your name and address.

It's probably this one (for which a login is necessary): https://www.finanz.at/steuern/finanz-online/

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On 5/6/2022, 12:51:26, PandaMunich said:

According to what the Bundeszentralamt writes, there is a free, official portal in Austria where that Austrian company can query your German VAT ID number and get your name and address.

It's probably this one (for which a login is necessary): https://www.finanz.at/steuern/finanz-online/

 

If Germany gives addresses and names to Austria, why don't they give it to VIES too, or why doesn't VIES publish it?

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2 hours ago, applepenpineapple said:

If Germany gives addresses and names to Austria, why don't they give it to VIES too, or why doesn't VIES publish it?

I have no idea, I suggest you write the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern an e-mail and ask: poststelle@bzst.bund.de

Just remember to state your postal address in that e-mail, the Bundeszentralamt für Steuern only ever answers by letter.


And then you can look forward to your own 3 page letter with their answer, it will take about 2 weeks :D

 

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