Export delivery/intra-Community delivery

General Information

Cross-border deliveries to purchasers in non-EU Member States (export deliveries) and in Member States of the EU (intra-Community deliveries) are exempt from VAT under certain conditions. Since these are genuine tax exemptions, the input taxes associated with these deliveries can, in principle, be claimed.

These tax exemptions are, however, subject to strict requirements, with the delivering entrepreneur having to provide evidence of their compliance with these requirements to the tax authority. Where the required evidence, for example a tax audit, cannot be provided, VAT must be paid on the corresponding sales transactions, irrespective of whether or not this tax can be recovered by the purchaser.

Export deliveries (section 7 of the UStG) are tax-free:

  • Where the entrepreneur has transported or shipped the delivery goods abroad or
  • Where the sales transaction was concluded with a foreign company as the purchaser, with the foreign purchasing company transporting or shipping the item abroad, or
  • Where the sales transaction was concluded with a foreign purchaser, who has purchased the goods item for non-business purposes and exports it in their personal travel baggage, provided that this purchaser does not have their residence or habitual place of residence in the Community territory (= national territory and the territories of the other Member States), the delivery item is exported within three months of the delivery and the total amount of the invoice exceeds 75 Euro (‘tourist export’).

Additional requirements for tax exemption are:

  • The export certificate, which is to be issued as follows:
    • Where goods are dispatched by courier:
    • By way of postal receipts, such as, for example: waybills, postmark certificates, bills of lading, etc. or by way of the export certificate of a forwarding agent resident in the Community territory, or by way of written registration in the export declaration (provided with the customs exit confirmation), or by way of the export record within the meaning of article 796e of the Customs Code Implementing Provisions (CC-IP).
    • In the case of the transport of goods (with the exception of tourist export):
    • through written registration in the export declaration (provided with the customs exit confirmation), or by way of the export record within the meaning of article 796e of the Customs Code Implementing Provisions (CC-IP). Under certain conditions, an export certificate drawn up by the delivering company provided with the customs exit confirmation will suffice.
    • In the case of tourist export:
    • by way of an export certificate drawn up by the delivering company provided with the customs exit confirmation.

Where the export takes place through the ECS (Electronic Control System), the electronic data record held by the customs office constitutes the original export certificate.

  • The accounting evidence:
  • accounting evidence must be provided of the export delivery conditions specified, i.e. the conditions must be clearly evident from the books or records together with evidence in a manner that is easily verifiable. Where there is no evidence of export or accounting, the claiming of the tax exemption will be refused under certain circumstances in the case of a possible tax audit. In this case, the relevant sales must be treated as being liable for tax and the VAT paid, irrespective of whether or not this can be recovered by the purchaser.

Tax-free intra-Community deliveries (article 7 of the UStG, internal market) are such:

  • where the entrepreneur or the purchaser transports or ships the delivery item to the remainder of the Community territory, and
  • the purchaser is an entrepreneur, who has purchased the item on behalf of their company or is a non-entrepreneurial legal person, and tax must be paid on the purchase of the delivery item in the other Member State by the purchaser,
  • the purchaser has communicated the VAT registration issued in another Member State to the company and
  • the entrepreneur recorded the delivery in a recapitulative statement or properly corrected or justified the failure to the satisfaction of the authorities.

Accounting evidence must be provided of the requirements (transportation/shipment, entrepreneurial status of the purchaser) (article 7 paragraph 3 UStG, Regulation (VO), BGBl. No 401/1996 as amended).

Where the VAT registration number is not communicated, the delivery is not exempt from tax and the purchaser is not entitled to deduct tax (see UStR 2000, Rz 2839 no application of the input tax refund procedure).

Where the delivering entrepreneur subsequently receives a VAT registration number issued by another Member State from the purchaser, a corrective invoice may be drawn up. The purchaser must demonstrate to the delivering entrepreneur that it was an entrepreneur at the time of the purchase and that it acted as such (cf.UStR, Rz 3992a).

Intra-Community deliveries are only exempt from tax in cases where the delivering entrepreneur has complied with the obligation to submit a recapitulative statement within the deadline stated in article 21 paragraph 3 of the UStG 1994.

Where no recapitulative statement has been submitted or where the recapitulative statement submitted is incomplete or incorrect, intra-Community deliveries are taxable. Irrespective of this, tax exemption must, however, be granted where the delivering entrepreneur provides proper reasons for its failure (non-submission, incompleteness or inaccuracy) to satisfy the competent tax authority and makes appropriate corrections to and subsequently submits the recapitulative statement (see UStR, Rz s3994 and 4203).

In addition to the standard invoice features, invoices showing no VAT owing to the exemption must include the following invoice features:

  • VAT registration number of the recipient of the service
  • indication of the tax exemption

The invoice must be drawn up no later than the 15th day of the calendar month following the performance of the tax-free intra-Community delivery. This does not apply, however, in cases where an advance payment was made on an intra-Community delivery that is still to take place.

With effect from 1 January 2020, the customer's VAT registration number is not only a prerequisite for exemption from tax for intra-Community deliveries, but also an important indication of the fact that the customer, as an entrepreneur, is purchasing the object for their business and that tax is to be paid on the delivery in their Member State. In order to check the validity of a VAT registration number, there is an EU-wide "VAT registration confirmation procedure"

Evidence of transportation (provided by the Austrian entrepreneur):

  • Copy of invoice
  • Proof, e.g. delivery note (must clearly show the place of destination in the Member State)
  • Confirmation of receipt from the purchaser

Collection by the purchasing person or a representative thereof:

  • Copy of invoice
  • Proof, for example e.g. delivery note (must clearly show the place of destination in the Member State)
  • Declaration from the purchasing person, or a representative thereof, that the object is being transported to another Member State

Proof of shipment (for example by transfer to a carrier):

  • Copy of invoice
  • Postal receipt (e.g. waybills, postmark certificates, e.g.)

Accounting evidence of an intra-Community delivery:

  • Name, address and VAT registration number of the purchasing person in the Member State
  • Name and address of the authorised representative of the purchasing person in the case of collections
  • Customary designation and quantity of the delivery goods
  • Day of delivery
  • Payment amount agreed
  • Nature and extent of any processing or treatment prior to transportation or shipment
  • Transportation and shipment to another Member State

Since 1 January 2020 companies also have the option of providing evidence of shipment or transportation to the Community territory in accordance with article 45a of the (EU) 282/2011 (CC-IP).

Enterprises Affected

Entrepreneurs performing export deliveries or intra-Community deliveries under the conditions described (see General Information).

Competent authority

When it comes to VAT, the tax office (→ BMF)German text in whose jurisdiction the entrepreneur is resident is usually competent (tax office closest to their residence). Where there is an establishment (corporation, partnership) with its registered office in another tax office area, this tax office is competent (tax office closest to their business establishment).

Legal bases

Expert Information

Umsatzsteuerrichtlinien 2000 (→ BMF)

Translated by the European Commission
Last update: 1 January 2021

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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