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Germany: Court’s revised position, invoice requirement for input VAT deduction

Germany: Court’s revised position, input VAT deduction

A claim for deduction of input value added tax (VAT) requires—among other things—an invoice that satisfies certain formal requirements of German VAT law.


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Up to now, the tax authorities and the German Federal Tax Court (BFH) have conditioned the ability to deduct input VAT as dependent on the address provided on the invoice as the location where the issuer of the invoice conducts or carries out the economic activity. 

In two decisions from June 2018, the BFH has changed its position and decided in favor of the contractor. According to the BFH decisions, any type of address (including a post office box address) is sufficient as long as the contractor is contactable at this address. The BFH reached this determination based on a 2017 judgment of the CJEU. 

VAT developments

Other recent VAT developments that may affect businesses in Germany include the following items:

  • VAT-exempt transactions concerning the payments and bank transfers business (CJEU judgment of 25 July 2018 – case C-5/17 ‒ DPAS Limited)
  • VAT-exempt purchase of opera tickets (BFH decision of 25 April 2018, XI R 16/16)
  • Effects of the CJEU’s judgment in Skandia America in draft guidance (German Ministry of Finance (BMF))


Read an August / September 2018 report [PDF 291 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Germany.

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