As of January1st 2019 electronic marketplace providers are obliged to document that the traders using their online marketplaces in Germany are in possession of a German Tax Certificate confirming VAT registration in Germany. The online sellers must provide a copy of this certificate to their marketplace provider.
This amendment (§22f UStG) was introduced in order to prevent the loss of VAT revenue on internet trade by introducing a liability regulation for providers of electronic marketplaces.
If a company is VAT registered in Germany, an application for this certificate can be made. The German Tax Certificate can only be issued if a German tax number exists. This implies a VAT liability in Germany.
If a company is not registered for VAT in Germany, electronic marketplace providers such as Amazon requests that their sellers assess if they are obliged to register. This is mostly the case if sellers store goods in Germany in a warehouse or use Amazon FBA or exceed the delivery threshold of EUR 100,000.00 in Germany.
Besides, there is the possibility to waive the application of the delivery threshold and to register for VAT in Germany even if turnover is below EUR 100,000.00. However, in this case all deliveries to customers in Germany must include German VAT at the current rate of 19%/7%.
According to our information Amazon has informed their sellers that their account will be blocked if the German Tax Certificate is not provided by 1st March 2019. In an email from the Federal Ministry of Finance dated 21 February 2019, the Ministry informed that no objections will be made if the online traders provide the marketplace provider with a copy of the application for the German Tax Certificate (USt 1 TJ) which the Ministry has received by 28 February 2019 at the latest. This decision applies until 15 April 2019.