German VAT Returns & Recovery

Every VAT-registered business in Germany, whether resident or non-resident, is required to submit periodic preliminary VAT reports to report taxable transactions and reverse charge invoices.

Normally, monthly preliminary VAT returns are required, however, depending on the number of annual VAT payments, the tax authorities may allow quarterly or annual VAT returns.

GVC can automate your VAT returns with our unique VAT return preparation tool Parlez™. Contact GVC for your VAT Compliance in Germany.

VAT guides

VAT Returns in Germany

If a business submits monthly or quarterly preliminary VAT reports, it must also submit an annual “final” VAT return for the calendar year.

VAT returns – Filing deadline

Monthly or quarterly VAT returns in Germany have to be filed by the 10th of the month after the period’s end. A permanent extension of time can be available if an advance payment as a deposit is made to the tax authorities. The permanent time extension provides for the filing of the mandatory VAT return one month later. If you wish to get such a postponement as well, you must demonstrate its necessity.

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VAT Recovery

Taxable persons can claim input tax back from the government. Input tax is the VAT levied on products and services given to them for taxable business purposes (and then used to provide taxable (output) services or supply). There are some exceptions to this rule. To recover input tax, a taxable person normally deducts it from output tax, which is the VAT charged on the supplies made.


Types of input tax :

  • VAT charged on goods and services supplied in Germany.
  • VAT paid on imports of goods.
  • VAT assessed self-assessed on intra-Community acquisitions of products. VAT charged on purchases of goods and services taxed under the reverse-charge procedure.

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German VAT Refunds

Deadline for refund claims:

  • EU – 30 September of the year following the year in which the invoice was received by the claimant.
  • Non EU – 30 June of the year following the year in which the invoice was received by the claimant.


Filing Procedures:

EU Businesses

  • Businesses in the EU must electronically file refund claims with their home state tax authorities. These tax authorities forward the form to the German Federal Tax Office (BZSt).
  • The language on the electronic form is that of the claimant’s home state. All subsequent BZSt correspondence must be in German.
  • A claim must be worth at least EUR400, and annual claims must be worth at least EUR50. The original VAT invoices are no longer required.
  • Copies must be attached electronically if the net value is over EUR1,000 or for fuel invoices if the net amount is over EUR250.
  • The BZSt may inspect the original invoices or copies of them in certain instances.
  • The BZSt must normally return VAT within four months of the claim date. The reimbursed money earns interest of 0.5 percent every month, starting four months and ten days after the BZSt receives the claim.


non-EU Businesses

  • All claims must be made in German. The refund application must be accompanied by the necessary paperwork (see the chapter on the EU).
  • The claimant must produce a Certificate of Taxable Status attesting to the fact that he or she is registered as a taxable person with a tax identification number.
  • A claim must be worth at least EUR1,000, and annual claims must be worth at least EUR500.
  • The certificate must be no more than a year old. Additionally, the German VAT authorities may send a questionnaire to certify that the claimant is not required to register for VAT in Germany, in lieu of following the EU 13th Directive procedure.
  • According to the tax authorities, the application must be signed by the legal representative and cannot be signed by any other person. As a result, they may deny an application on this basis.
  • Applications for German VAT refunds by non-EU enterprises must be directed to the following address: Bundeszentralamt für Steuern Dienstsitz Schwedt Passower Chaussee Passower Chaussee 3b D-16303 Schwedt/Oder Germany.

For electronic returns and claims to a German tax authority, a qualified electronic signature is required.

Last Updated: 16/01/2022



The information provided by Global VAT Compliance B.V. on this webpage is intended for general informational purposes only. Global VAT Compliance B.V. is not responsible for the accuracy of the information on these pages, and cannot be held liable for claims or losses deriving from the use of this information. If you wish to receive VAT related information please contact our experts at support@gvc.tax

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