Ministry of Finance decree dated 6 February 2012

Since 1 January 2012, Germany has tightened the legal requirements for export evidence supporting the zero rate for cross-border supplies of goods within the EU. The supplier shall be obligated to get and submit a so-called "Gelangensbestätigung" which would contain the recipient acknowledgment of the receipt of the goods. Practical and legal details are to be observed in order to obtain the zero rate with this document. The tax authorities are drafting detailed guidance and sample documents.

The industry heavily complained about these quite impractical requirements. It remains unclear as to how to provide the evidence for the signing person's authorisation as well as how to even oblige the recipient in another EU-country to complete this document. And it is dubious who has to sign the paper in a chain supply of goods.

The Ministry of Finance has now granted the second extension (grace period) until end of June 2012. For supplies carried until that date, the new requirements will not be obligatory yet.

Germany tightens requirements for export evidence for export of goods outside the EU

Ministry of Finance decree dated 6 February 2012

Exports, which are declared via the electronic ATLAS system for customs purposes, must for VAT purposes be accompanied by a specific piece of export document issued by the customs authority responsible for the export ("Ausgansgvermerk der Ausgangszollstelle"). Otherwise the VAT zero rate will not be accepted. Exceptions are possible in certain cases.