UPDATE: New German VAT law: How to avoid Amazon/Ebay account suspension
How to step by step request the new tax certificate. If you received an Email by Amazon and Ebay, you need to take action now.
Since 01.01.2019 it’s mandatory for VAT Registered businesses in Germany to provide a further confirmation to Marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay. Several Emails by Amazon, Ebay and other Marketplaces created fear around the e-commerce community. This blogpost will help to understand the circumstances and what to do next.
Marketplace Liablitiy 2019
Germany has passed a new VAT law that makes marketplaces liable for any kind of VAT fraud that happens on their platforms. To avoid this liability, Amazon and Ebay ask sellers to provide them a new VAT form (F22). This excludes them from being liable and at the same time allows the authorities to access all sales data from the past.
“All Accounts will be under review to spot any VAT liabilities prior to the Registration date!”
Germans aren’t joking ;-) Authorities made a clear statement that every account will be reviewed to spot any early registration date. This means that prior VAT evasion can be spotted and will lead to further investigation.
How to apply for the tax certificate
Every EU and NON EU company registered for VAT in Germany has to apply for this certificate. These are the five steps to apply for the new certificate and to avoid your account getting suspended.
- Make sure you got your VAT Certificate with the proper validity date.
Authorities will review your account and they will spot any discrepancies. If you know you did not register in time, you need to get your validity corrected upfront and submit past VAT Returns (and yes, pay any past VAT!).
- Fill the USt 1 TJ Form.
It is written in German and asks for details about your account and business. You will need to share every account name and Seller ID for each marketplace you use or have used in the past. Ask your German accountant (or use our service) to help filing it. Download the form HERE (page 3 only).
- Send it by Email or Post to the tax authority written on your VAT certificate.
Each country has its own assigned tax authority inside Germany. Make sure to send it to the corresponding authority only. A list of all tax offices you can find HERE.
- Receive the F22 confirmation for each marketplace.
If the review is positive, you will receive the F22 confirmation for each marketplace you are selling on. It will definitely take several weeks to receive it. . It is valid for 6 months only.
- Upload it to your marketplace account.
Amazon, Ebay and other Marketplaces will show you where to upload this confirmation. Note: Currently Amazon is not offering any place to upload the document. Keep it stored for the moment to have it ready.
UPDATE: You can now upload it at Amazon Settings: Settings>Information about your account>VAT ID
The official deadline to provide the F22 form for NON EU Companies is the 01.03.2019 and for EU companies the 01.10.2019.
This huge bureaucratic burden tries to create fair circumstances for all sellers. We don’t appreciate the mess of paperwork but the results will speak for themselves. Many Sellers who have evaded VAT in the past, will definitely face further investigations. If you have further questions or need help filing the form, get in touch. We have created a quick service to help with the application: https://fba-hero.com/product/german-tax-certificate-f-22
Frequently asked Questions
I’m not VAT registered in Germany, do those changes apply to me?
These changes only apply German or foreign businesses registered for a German VAT ID. So, as long as you don’t have to be VAT registered in Germany (see next question), these change do not apply.
When I need to register for a VAT ID in Germany?
From the day you skip the German threshold limit of 100.000€ (Net sales to Germany) or the day you store goods in a German warehouse; whatever happens first.
I should have been registered for a German VAT ID, what shall I do now?
Take Action now! You will need to register for a German TAX and VAT ID from the time you got liable. Remember: Authorities can access your sales data, they know if you try to hide any liability. This is a crime, not just a cavalier offense. Speak to our team to apply for a vat number: fba-hero.com/free-consultancy
Will I need to pay any past VAT?
If you got VAT liable in the past you will pay back dated VAT, interest and penalties to the government. We have seen cases where the accounts are closed down, stock seized (as per the German tax code) and funds frozen. Don’t risk your business!
My company is based in UK, what is my deadline?
UK companies are currently assumed as EU traders — however if Britain leaves the EU in March, this might change from one day to another. We suggest to request your certificate now, to be prepared for any situation.
How long will it take to receive the file?
As expected there is a huge demand for this document. You have to wait several weeks to receive the F22 confirmation. It is only valid for 6 months.
What If I dont receive it in time?
If tax offices realize the deadlines are too short for them, they might extend them. However If you are late, your account will be suspended until you provide the file.
How long does it take to apply for a number?
1–2 months from the date of application. This depends on your home country, as VAT registration requests are split among different authorities in Germany. Due to these changes you can expect more registrations and therefore a longer waiting time.
My account already got suspended, what can I do?
Providing the Marketplace the evidence of your registration. We had cases where Amazon enabled the account by providing them the evidence of being in the process of registration.
Christoph Prokes is a VAT specialist for e-commerce sellers. fbahero helps EU and NON EU companies to expand their business in Europe and to automated VAT and Tax related tasks.