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Germany: VAT invoice addresses; zero-rated services concerning imports and exports

Germany: VAT invoice addresses

Recent value added tax (VAT) developments that may affect businesses in Germany include the following items.


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  • Opinions of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) advocate general in two cases (Geissel C-374/16 and Butin C-375/16) on referral from the German federal tax court (BFH) about the requirements with respect to due and proper invoices for the deduction of input tax—particularly, concerning issues relating to the full address of the supplying business having to be provided on the face of the invoice. The position of the CJEU advocate general was that national law cannot make the right to deduct input tax contingent upon the address being shown on the face of the invoice (indicating the location where the invoice-issuer’s business activities take place). It is sufficient if the supplying business can be reached readily and swiftly at the listed address. For this reason, a letterbox address may be considered to be a due and proper invoice address. This conclusion was contrary to the approach of the German tax authorities and findings of the BFH. It remains to be seen whether the CJEU will follow the opinion of the advocate general.
  • A judgment was issued by the CJEU in L.C. (C-288/16 (29 June 2017)). The case concerns services in connection with imports and exports—services that are “zero-rated” (VAT exempt with entitlement of input deduction) if there is a direct link. In response to a case that originated from Latvia, the CJEU interpreted the existence of the necessary direct link, not only based on the goods in question but also in light of the underlying contract. This treatment is not consistent with the current general practice in Germany.


Read a July 2017 report [PDF 240 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Germany

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