Value Added Tax regulations in Germany

As of 1 July 2021, it will be necessary to provide a valid German VAT identification number (VAT ID) instead of a certificate according to §22f UStG (Value Added Tax Act).

Since 2019, eBay can be held liable for VAT payments that have not been made by its sellers, and eBay has therefore been obligated to require a certificate according to §22f UStG from every commercial seller. As of 1 July 2021, it will be necessary to provide a German VAT identification number (VAT ID) instead of the certificate.

Legal requirements as of 1 July 2021

Most eBay merchants already have a valid VAT identification number (VAT ID) on file for their eBay account. This will become a legal requirement for all merchants as of 1 July 2021.  Merchants who don't have a VAT ID on file should provide a VAT ID as soon as possible. 


Information for providing additional data 

  • In the future, small businesses are also required to apply for a VAT ID and file it with eBay. 
  • Please review the notice from the Federal Central Tax Office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern/BZSt) regarding the issue of your VAT identification number. Make sure that the data stored there matches the data that is on file for your eBay account. This includes your name or the name of your company, its form of organisation and the complete address.
  • eBay is required to verify your VAT ID and the associated data by using the electronic verification procedure provided by the BZSt.

Important: All merchants who don't have a valid VAT ID with matching data on file will be blocked from selling on eBay as of 1 July 2021. 

Verify additional data now
Enter a VAT ID now

Who is required to provide a VAT ID in Germany as of July 2021?

As a seller, you are typically required to register for the German value added tax if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are a seller who resides in Germany.
  • You sell goods that are stored in Germany.
  • You sell goods to private individuals in Germany and your business is established in Europe. You ship these goods from another EU country. You have total sales from all sales channels within Europe in excess of 10,000 Euro per year. You do not participate in a special taxation process for intra-Community distance sales in another EU member country (One-Stop-Shop, OSS) and declare your German sales there. 

Please check with your tax adviser if you have further questions.

Legal requirements until 30 June 2021

eBay is required to obtain a certificate according to §22f UStG from all merchants. This certificate confirms that the seller has been registered for VAT.

Details of the certificate:

  • Your certificate according to §22f UStG must be issued, stamped and signed by the relevant tax office. This shows an example of the certificate
  • Your name, the name of the company and the contact information on the certificate must match the data that is on file with eBay.
  • The VAT identification number (VAT ID) must be noted on the certificate if a number has been provided to eBay.

What you should not upload:

  • Your completed application for a certificate
  • Your tax clearance certificate

Who is obligated to register for VAT by 30 June?

Generally, it does not matter on which local eBay site a seller lists items.

As a seller, you are typically required to register for value added tax in Germany if you meet one of the following conditions:

  • You are a seller who resides in Germany.
  • You sell goods that are stored in Germany.
  • You sell goods to private individuals in Germany. You send these goods from another EU country where they are stored or pre-delivered. This applies to you if your total annual sales in Germany through all sales channels amount to 100,000 Euro.

Please check with your tax adviser if you have further questions.

Upload a certificate according to §22f UStG now

Who is subject to VAT in Germany?

Generally, it does not matter on which local eBay site a seller lists items.

As a seller, you are typically required to register for the value added tax if you meet one of the following 3 conditions:

  • You are a seller who resides in Germany.
  • You sell goods that are stored in Germany.
  • You sell goods to private individuals in Germany. You send these goods from another EU country where they are stored or pre-delivered. This applies to you if your total annual sales in Germany through all sales channels amount to 100,000 Euro.

Please check with your tax adviser if you have further questions.

Information from the German finance authorities for countries outside of the EU

Additional resources regarding value added tax for businesses that are not located in the EU are available here:

Questions & answers

What is the difference between a German tax ID and a VAT ID?

If you register your company in Germany with the applicable German tax office you will receive a tax ID from this tax office. In most cases, this ID will be used for all taxes for which your company must be registered, including value added tax. The tax ID will be used for all communications with the tax office.

The tax ID consists of 10 to 13 digits all of which are numbers separated into groups by "/".

German VAT identification numbers begin with "DE", followed by 9 digits (numbers).

VAT IDs must be requested from the Federal Central Tax Office.

Request a VAT ID now

I have multiple eBay accounts. Do I need a separate certificate according to §22f UStG and a separate VAT identification number (VAT ID) for each account?

You must upload a certificate for each of your eBay accounts and your VAT ID must be on file no later than 30 June 2021. Verify that the information for your company on the certificate according to §22f UStG and on the notice from the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) regarding the issue of your VAT ID matches the information that is on file for your eBay account.

I am a small business owner and do not pay value added tax. Do I need a certificate according to §22f UStG and a VAT identification number (VAT ID) anyway?

Until 30 June 2021: Small business owners must also upload a certificate according to §22f UStG and must apply for a VAT ID which then must be filed with eBay. The certificate according to §22f UStG only confirms that you are treated as a business for tax purposes. It is not essential if the business owner does not pay value added tax because of the exemption for small business owners.

Starting on 1 July 2021: Small business owners are also obligated to provide a VAT identification number. Here as well, it is not essential if the business owner does not pay value added tax because of the exemption for small business owners.

VAT IDs must be requested from the Federal Central Tax Office.

Request a VAT ID now