• Service: Tax, Global Indirect Tax
  • Type: Business and industry issue
  • Date: 6/24/2013

Germany – Change in evidence requirements for intra-Community supplies of goods from 1 October 2013 

GITB June 2013 - Germany
With effect from 1 October 2013 new regulations on documentary evidence will enter into force.

For intra-Community supplies of goods carried out up to 30 September 2013 a transitional provision allows the documentary evidence according to the regulations valid until 31 December 2011 – i.e. including the white carrier`s receipt – to be used in addition to the “confirmation of arrival”, theoretically the sole acceptable evidence for the period from 1 January 2012 to 30 September 2013. The transitional provision replaces respective guidance of the tax authorities. The provisions on accounting evidence remain unchanged.

The new rules still require the trader to provide documentary evidence that he or the purchaser has sent or transported the item being supplied to another EU member state. This information must be stated clearly and in an easily verifiable form in the documentation. The confirmation of arrival, in combination with a copy of the invoice (§§ 14, 14a German VAT Law), is the primary way of providing this evidence. In particular, the invoice has to show a reference to the zero-rated nature of the intra-Community supply of goods. References like “the delivery is VAT exempt” or “VAT@zero for export” are not sufficient as the German Federal Tax Court pointed out.

Confirmation of arrival

The confirmation of arrival, i.e. confirmation by the recipient that the item has arrived in the other EU member state, has been simplified. It requires the following information:

  • name and address of recipient
  • volume and standard commercial description of the delivered item (in case of a vehicle also its identification number)
  • in the event of transport/dispatch by the trader or dispatch by the recipient, the place and month of receipt of the item in the other EU member state
  • in the event of transport by the recipient, the place and month of the end of that transport in the other EU member state
  • date of issue of the confirmation
  • the recipient’s signature or a signature of a person authorized by the recipient to take delivery of the item. A signature is not required in the case of an electronic confirmation if it is evident that the electronic communication was initiated by the purchaser or a person acting on the purchaser’s behalf.

Collective confirmations for supplies made during a period of up to a calendar quarter are permitted. The confirmation of arrival which the supplier must have in possession can be submitted in any form and may consist of more than one document.

Alternative evidence

However, in combination with a copy of the invoice the new regulation also permits other forms of documentation and evidence in certain cases and under certain conditions, which should be checked carefully. In particular, the CMR waybill and other standard commercial documentation such as the carrier’s receipt or, if the item was collected, the carrier’s receipt with proof of payment, come into consideration.

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Claudia Hillek

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Global Indirect Tax Brief: June 2013

GITB: June 2013
Articles in this edition highlight the increasing importance of indirect tax as one of the most important sources of revenue for governments.