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Export business

An order from a foreign country arrives – what needs to be done?

Question No. 1: Is the buyer EEC-based or is he third-country based (none EEC)?
If the buyer comes from an EEC member state, firstly it is to be clarified whether the buyer is a private person or an enterprise. When invoicing to a private person, this has to be done exactly as sales within Germany, thus VAT included. The German VAT will be reimbursed by the tax authorities of the EEC member state, when the buyer imports the goods to his country.
On the other hand, if the buyer is an enterprise, the seller must check whether the buyer has a valid tax identification number (www.bzst.de). If the tax identification number is valid, the invoice can be issued without VAT, since this is the case of a tax exempt intra-Community supply of goods.
The German tax authorities, however, need a proof of export for turnover tax purposes (POD) that providence evidence for the fact that the goods have really been shipped to another EEC member state (entry certificate). This certificate can be a way bill, a proof of delivery or a similar receipt that must be signed by the buyer in his EEC member state.

Show entry certificate

Question No. 2: What is to be done, if the buyer comes from a third country (none EEC)?
To begin with one has to check whether the value of the shipment will exceed the value limit of 1,000 EUROS, or whether the shipment will weigh more than 1,000 kilos. If these value limits will not be exceeded, no customs declaration will be needed. When the goods are exported, they can be declared in oral form by submitting, for example, a (commercial) invoice. The German tax authorities demand an export document for small shipments as well (for example a POD or an invoice stamped by a customs officer).

Question No. 3: Does your company have a valid EORI number?
If your company does not yet have an EORI, this has to be applied for with the form „Beteiligte Stammdaten“ (reference data of parties involved) at the Generalzolldirektion – Dienstort Dresden (General customs directorate). The form can be found on the website of the German customs authorities (www.zoll.de). There you will find contact information as well.
Private persons do not need to have an EORI, if their shipments do not have a commercial nature.