The German VAT Number for Foreign Companies: A Simple Guide

In Germany, the Value Added Tax Identification Number (VAT Number) is a crucial component of international business transactions.

When foreign companies conduct business activities in Germany or provide taxable services here, they generally need to apply for a German VAT Number. This guide provides an overview of the significance and the process of obtaining a German VAT Number for foreign companies.

1)Why do foreign companies need a German VAT Number?

The German VAT Number is a unique identifier that companies require to fulfill value-added tax obligations in Germany. It enables German authorities to track VAT payments and refunds. Foreign companies need this number to carry out the following activities in Germany:

2)Applying for a German VAT Number

The application for a German VAT Number for foreign companies is done through the Federal Central Tax Office (Bundeszentralamt für Steuern - BZSt). The application can be submitted online or by mail. Here are the basic steps:

3)Using the VAT Number

After receiving the German VAT Number, the foreign company is obligated to include it on invoices and other business documents when providing taxable services. It must also submit VAT declarations in Germany and make the corresponding VAT payments.