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.

Please note

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

In practice, VAT (USt) is dependent on the agreed purchase price or fee. In the case of the withdrawal or use of an object

  • for purposes external to the company,
  • for staff needs,

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).

In certain cases, ‘the default value’ (section 4 paragraph 9 of the UStG) must be used as the tax base; with effect from 1 January 2016, this also applies to taxable deliveries or the letting or leasing of immoveable property.

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. Where an advance payment has been made and the person paying is in possession of an invoice to this effect, with the VAT being listed separately, they are often entitled – if they are an entrepreneur – to deduct tax.

Related links

VAT information on the Steuerreformgesetz 2015/2016 (→ BMF)German text

Legal basis

Sections 4 and 19 of the Umsatzsteuergesetz (UStG)

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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