Changes to Value Added Tax regulations in Germany
Due to a law change in Germany on January 1, 2019,
- eBay may be liable for the unpaid VAT of its sellers
· eBay will have to collect a certificate (“Bescheinigung nach §22f UStG”) from each business seller, which confirms the tax registration of the seller.
Please note that a tax clearance certificate from the tax office is not sufficient. Required is a "certificate according to §22f UStG"..
- Tax evasion is a criminal offence. eBay continues to work with German authorities to prevent it and will take action against those who don’t comply with the law. This includes but is not limited to listing removal and account suspension.
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In principle, it is not relevant on which local eBay site a seller lists his item.
Typically, a seller needs to register for VAT if they meet one of the 3 conditions:
· You are a seller established in Germany.
· You are selling goods that are warehoused in Germany.
· You ship goods to private individuals in Germany from a foreign EU country where the goods are stored or delivered in advance. This applies for a total German turnover of 100,000 euros per year across all sales channels.
For any further questions, please contact your tax advisor.
If you fulfill any of the 3 criteria, you should check whether you are complying with your value added tax (VAT) obligations as soon as possible.
1. Check whether your business needs to register for German VAT.
- If so, register with the German tax authorities and apply for a VAT identification number. In addition apply for a VAT certificate (Bescheinigung nach §22f UStG).
3. Enter your VAT identification number on eBay, so we can display it on your eBay.de listings (as required by the law)
- Check that your business name and VAT identification number in your eBay account matches those on your VAT certificate (Bescheinigung nach §22f UStG). Also, please make sure that your certificate carries an official stamp by your tax office
5. Upload your certificate (Bescheinigung nach §22f UStG). .
If you are affected, you should request the certificate (“Bescheinigung nach §22f UStG”) as soon as possible, as the tax offices can quickly reach their capacity.
You have to upload your certificate to eBay on time in order to continue selling on eBay.
· 1 March 2019 - Business sellers outside the European Economic Area (EEA)
· 1 October 2019 - Business sellers within the European Economic Area (EEA
Information from the German tax authorities for countries outside the EU
To learn more about VAT for businesses not established in the EU, please visit::
How can I find a tax advisor?
There are several options to find a tax advisor which could help you going forward.
- Ask your local tax advisor (or lawyer, accountant) if they can recommend a firm in Germany e.g. from their network
- Search for a tax advisor in Germany (“Steuerberater”, “Steuerberatergesellschaft”) based on the respective needs
- Language skills
- Tax area (“Umsatzsteuer” (VAT))
- Experience with clients trading on eBay
- If you are subject to a criminal investigation due to unpaid taxes, consider looking for a “Steuerberater” or “Rechtsanwalt” with focus on “Steuerstrafrecht“ or “Steuerstrafverfahren”
- In the section – “Arbeitsgebiete” (Field of activity) you can select the below:
- VAT – “Umsatzsteuer”
- Penal proceedings for tax fraud and other tax offences – “Steuerstrafverfahren”
- In the section “Branche” (Industry) you can select the below:
- E-commerce – “Internethandel”
- B2C trading – “Business-to-Consumer-Handel”
- In the section “Fremdsprache” (Language skills ) you can select the below (to be localized according to the site) for example:
- English – “englisch”
What is the difference between a German national tax number and a VAT identification number
If you register your business in Germany with your local German tax office, you receive a national tax number (“Steuernummer”) from that tax office. In most cases you will be given one tax number for all types of taxes your business is obligated to register for, e.g. VAT. The tax
number is used for any communication with the tax office.
The Tax number is between 10 and 13 digits long and only consists of numbers, some separated by “/”.
German VAT identification numbers start with “DE” followed by 9 digits (numbers).
I have multiple ebay accounts. Do I need a certificate for each account?
You must upload a certificate for each of your eBay accounts. Please check whether the data of your company on the certificate ("Bescheinigung nach §22f UStG") matches the data in your eBay account.
How can I add my VAT identification number to my eBay listings?
If you are liable for VAT in Germany and have a VAT identification number, the law requires that your VAT identification number is displayed on all of your listings (§ 5 TMG). Please enter it beneath and we will display it for you:
Do I have to provide the German national tax number at eBay?
In the future, it will be necessary to provide your tax number on eBay.de as well.
Please note that this information is only general information and cannot replace legal or tax advice.
If you have further questions, please contact an attorney or other legal and/or tax advisor.