Tax base

The tax base for deliveries and other services is the fee. The fee is everything that the customer has to spend (including voluntary payments) in order to receive the delivery made or the other service provided (section 4 paragraph 1 of the Umsatzsteuergesetz – UStG). This also includes ancillary costs charged (expenditure), such as, for example, on packing, postage and shipping costs, service charge, taxes (e.g. excise duty, advertising charge), which are carried out on their own behalf.


VAT (USt) itself is not included in the tax base.

In practice, VAT (USt) is dependent on the agreed purchase price or fee. Only in certain cases, ‘the default value’ (section 4 paragraph 9 of the UStG) must be used as the tax base.

Tax base for self-supply

In the case of self-supply through withdrawal or use of an object the VAT is assessed according to the purchase price or the cost price (at the time of the withdrawal or use of an object). In the case of services for personal use, the VAT is assessed according to the accrued costs (section 4 paragraph 8 of the UStG).

Taxation of advance payments

Where an entrepreneur receives an advance payment for a service to be provided in the future, VAT must be paid on the monetary amount for the month of collection (first line, point a of section 19 paragraph 2 (1a) of the Umsatzsteuergesetz – UStG).

Where the person paying is an entrepreneur, an invoice must be drawn up for him/her, with the VAT being listed separately. This invoice entitles him/her – if the other legal requirements are met – to deduct input tax.

Legal bases

Sections 4 and 19 of the Umsatzsteuergesetz (UStG)

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2024

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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