Intra-community distance sales to Austria
As a rule, revenues from intra-community distance sales are taxable in Austria if the final destination for the goods is in Austria. However, if the items are dispatched by a micro-business, the resulting revenue is taxable in the member state where it begins its journey to its destination.
Since 1 July 2021, VAT due in other EU member states in respect of intra-community distance sales can be declared in only one member state, using the EU One Stop Shop (EU OSS) system.
Until 30 June 2021, if a company supplied goods from one member state to a destination in another member state, and if the recipient was a private individual or fell into certain other categories, the revenue associated with those goods was only taxed in the country of destination if it exceeded the threshold applicable in the country of destination.
A German company is sending items to private individuals in Austria. The value of the goods exceeds the delivery threshold under Austrian tax law. The place of delivery is deemed to be Austria (the final destination), not Germany. This means that the deliveries are treated as domestic deliveries in Austria, making them taxable in Austria. The German company is therefore obliged to register for VAT in Austria. The bills sent by the German company to Austrian private individuals are legally required to show Austrian VAT (see Article 11, Paragraph (1), Sentence (2) of the Umsatzsteuergesetz – UStG).
If the goods are sold by a foreign company within the meaning of Section 27, Paragraph (4) UStG, and if it undertakes intra-community distance sales to threshold purchasers, the recipients must retain the VAT payable on the goods and pay it to the tax office responsible for the supplier (Finanzamt Graz-Stadt).
Calculating the threshold for deliveries
The threshold for deliveries is calculated separately for each member state, Austria included. When calculating the threshold, only revenue within the definition of the Distance Sales Regulation (Versandhandelsregelung) should be taken into account.
Intra-community deliveries, considerations for the delivery of new vehicles, considerations for the delivery of goods subject to excise duty and revenue subject to differential taxation under the margin scheme are excluded for calculation purposes.
Companies based in other EU member states that supply goods to private individuals or threshold purchasers in Austria must invoice their goods inclusive of Austrian VAT as follows:
- If they exceeded the threshold of 35,000 euros the previous year:
Invoices must show Austrian VAT from the first revenue earned in the current year.
- If they exceed the threshold of 35,000 euros in the current year:
Invoices must show Austrian VAT from the delivery that takes the total value of the goods over the threshold.
The intra-community distance-selling regulation also applies up to and including 30 June 2021 if the company had introduced the object of the delivery into EU territory with severance payment in any EU member state other than Austria (as the destination member state). This meant that companies based in third countries and/or third territories could generate revenue that was taxable in Austria. Since 30 June 2021, such trade has been treated as imported distance sales trade.
If a company has exceeded the intra-community distance sales threshold of 35,000 euros in previous calendar years, this revenue must also be declared retrospectively.
Companies can do this by filing a voluntary disclosure and/or by disclosing their revenues.
Companies that are not based in the EU and do not have offices or facilities in the EU must appoint a tax representative within the meaning of Section 27, Paragraph 7 UStG unless a suitable administrative assistance agreement applies. The nominated representative must be authorised to receive official communications.
Revenues from intra-community distance sales subject to taxation in Austria can be declared via the EU OSS. If the company is not registered with the EU OSS, the tax should be declared by filing a preliminary VAT return, followed by the annual VAT return.
Annual VAT return
|Form: "U1" (for the relevant calender year)||e.g.: U1 2013|
|Hard-copy||30 April of the following year|
|Electronic:||30 June of the following year|
Preliminary VAT return
|Form: "U30" (for the relevant calender year)|
|Due date:||No later than the 15th of the next-but-one calendar month|
|Deadline for paying tax due:||No later than the 15th of the next-but-one calendar month|
|Annual revenues (net)||Preliminary VAT return required|
|Up to 35,000 euros||No submission required|
|35,000 to 100,000 euros||Quarterly|
|Over 100,000 euros||Monthly|
You can find further information about filing your tax return electronically or the procedure for registering to do so on FinanzOnline (→ BMF).
- Verf. (Verfahren) 19 (Procedure 19): Tax assessment questionnaire
- Additional requirements: State the sales channel used for your goods (e.g. Internet, catalogue etc.). Please note: VAT ID numbers are not normally issued to companies engaged in the distance selling sector. This is because any tax liability can be paid using their tax account number (Abgabenkontonummer), so, as a rule, there is no requirement for an additional VAT ID number. If you do need a VAT ID number, you must explain why on form Verf (Procedure) 19.
- Verf (Procedure) 26: Specimen signature form
- Valid VAT ID number or proof of status as an entrepreneur, issued by the tax office in the country where your company is based (original documents required)
- Copy of your company's articles of association
- Copy of the managing director's passport or national ID card
- Copy of the relevant extract from the companies' register (Handelsregister)
If the company does not meet the criteria for the micro-business exemption and/or has exceeded the relevant turnover threshold in the current or previous calendar years, this revenue must be declared retrospectively.
Companies can do this by filing a voluntary disclosure and/or by disclosing their revenues.
Applications to register for tax should be sent by post or fax to the address below:
Finanzamt Graz-Stadt (Graz-Stadt Tax Office)
Bank details for Finanzamt Graz-Stadt:
In addition to the rules governing distance selling more generally, the following provisions must be observed in relation to items subject to excise duty:
Anyone who delivers items subject to excise duty within the meaning of the Austrian Alcohol Taxation Act (Alkoholsteuerungsgesetz), Beer Taxation Act (Biersteuerungsgesetz), Mineral Oils Taxation Act (Mineralölsteuergesetz), Tobacco Taxation Act (Tabaksteuergesetz) or Sparkling Wine Taxation Act (Schaumweinsteuergesetz) in free circulation in the EU member state in which their business is headquartered to private individuals in other member states, and who either sends the goods to the purchaser themselves or arranges for the goods to be sent to the purchaser, is deemed to be engaged in distance selling.
In this context, a private individual is anyone who does not declare themselves to the distance seller as a buyer whose intra-community acquisitions are subject to VAT according to the regulations of the UStG (i.e. they do not provide a VAT ID number).
Anyone wishing to supply items subject to excise duty into the taxation area as a distance seller must declare this intention to the Customs Authority Austria (Zollamt Österreich) and/or the Innsbruck Customs Office prior to each shipment, and must provide security. The requirement to pay excise duty arises when the items subject to excise duty are dispatched to the private individual within the taxation territory. The party liable to pay the excise duty is, as a rule, the distance seller. If the trader fails to comply with the distance-selling regulations, the recipient of the goods will also be held liable for tax.
If you regularly supply items subject to excise duty in the course of distance selling, upon application to the Innsbruck Customs Office, you can obtain general authorisation to deliver such goods into the taxation territory. For further details on the rules governing distance selling of items subject to excise duty, contact Innsbruck Customs Office.
The procedure for consumption tax described above also applies if VAT is declared and/or paid via the One-Stop-Shop.
Under the Austrian Tobacco Monopoly Act (Tabakmonopolgesetz), a general prohibition is in place against trade in tobacco, including snuff. The Austrian Tobacco Tax Act (Tabaksteuergesetz) also includes provisions prohibiting distance sales in tobacco (Section 30 TabStG). In addition, Section 2a of the Tobacco and Non-Smokers Protection Act (Tabak- und Nichtraucherinnen- bzw. Nichtraucherschutzgesetz – TNRSG) prohibits distance sales of tobacco products; Section 2 TNRSG also prohibits chewing tobacco and snus from being brought onto the market. In practice, this means that it is illegal to order or purchase tobacco products obtained via the Internet or by other remote means of communication, including by telephone, home-shopping, e-mail and similar. This provision applies to supplies obtained from countries outside the EU and to supplies from EU member states, as well as within Austria according to the provisions of the TNRSG.
Any tobacco products ordered outside Austria and delivered into the taxation territory will be subject to Austrian tobacco duty, in respect of which both the distance seller and the purchaser will be held liable for tax.
Ordering tobacco products in defiance of a ban may result in financial criminal proceedings.
Regulations regarding the purchase and small business thresholds (Article 3, Paragraph 4, Item (2) and Article 3, Paragraph 5 UStG) do not apply to the supply of goods subject to excise duty. All such consignments from other EU member states are always subject to Austrian VAT or purchase tax.
Attention is drawn to the fact that goods are likely to be checked by customs and tax authorities in order to enforce compliance with customs regulations and tax administration, and tax bases can be estimated pursuant to section 184 of the Bundesabgabenordnung (BAO - Federal Fiscal Code).
Voluntary disclosure (→ BMF)German text
All of the forms mentioned here are available for download from the website of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Finance, under menu item 'Forms'German text.
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