Cross-border services

Place of taxation

According to the general basic rule, the determination of the place where a service is performed – and thus where its taxation takes place – essentially depends on whether or not the recipient of the service is an entrepreneur. According to this law, where the recipient is an enterprise, a service (other service) is essentially carried out at the place where the enterprise operates its business and where its establishment is located (section 3a paragraph 6 UStG). Where the recipient is a non-entrepreneur, the service is, in principle, carried out at the place where the enterprise providing the service operates its business (establishment) (section 3a paragraph 7 UStG).

There are some exceptions where the place where a service is performed is not governed by the above basic rule, such as in the case of

  • Passenger Transport (section 3a paragraph 10 UStG)
  • Services in connection with a property (section 3a paragraph 9 UStG)
  • Electronically provided services (e.g. e-books, apps to download), telecommunications, radio and television broadcasting services to non-entrepreneurs
  • Cultural, artistic, scientific, educational, sports, entertainment or similar services provided to non-entrepreneurs (section 3a paragraph 11 UStG)
  • Other services to companies concerning admission rights and related other services for cultural, artistic, scientific, educational, sports, entertainment or similar events (section 3a paragraph 11a UStG)

VAT Identification Number and Reverse Charge

In case of cross-border services the enterprise recieving the service is obliged to notify the business providing the service of its VAT Identification Number. Where cross-border services are provided to an enterprise in a Member State according to the general basic rule, the tax liability may be transferred to the recipient of the service (Reverse Charge).

Comparable regulations also exist in other member states. Therefore, when a service is provided to a recipient in another Member State, it must be assumed that the tax liability is also transferred to the recipient of the service in this other Member State (Reverse Charge).

Recapitulative Statement

Services in respect of which the tax liability must be transferred to the enterprise receiving the service in accordance with article 196 of the VAT Council Directive 2006/112/EC (Reverse Charge) are to be recorded in the Recapitulative Statement (RS) by the enterprise providing the service. This includes all services in respect of which tax is payable in accordance with the general rule in another Member State pursuant to section 3a paragraph 6 UStG (at the place of receipt). These are:

  • carriage of goods between enterprises
  • services that are ancillary to this carriage
  • work on movable tangible property
  • intermediary services
  • services to procure the other services listed here
  • services provided electronically

Services where the place of performance is not in line with the general rule and those provided to non-entrepreneurs without a VAT Identification Number do not have to be recorded in the Recapitulative Statement.

Invoice

Where invoices are issued in the context of the reverse charge system, which must be done by the 15th day of the calendar month following the provision of the service, the following information must be provided (section 11 paragraph 1a UStG):

  • information on transfer of tax liability to the recipient of the service
  • indication of the VAT Identification Number of the enterprise performing the service and its business customer
  • the regulations on separate disclosure of taxes do not apply

Legal Basis

Translated by the European Commission, altered by the Federal Ministry of Finance
Last update: 1 January 2022

Responsible for the content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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