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Intra-Community acquisitions

Intra-Community acquisitions are treated in the same way as intra-Community deliveries. Intra-Community acquisitions are when goods are brought into the country from an EU Member State for business purposes. If an Austrian entrepreneur purchases items for their business in the Community territory, the Austrian entrepreneur will disclose their VAT registration number. This means that the business partner is able to make sales without having to pay VAT. This constitutes a tax-free intra-Community delivery from the business partner's perspective. By contrast, the Austrian entrepreneur is making an intra-Community acquisition and must pay tax (article 1 paragraph 1 of the Umsatzsteuergesetz (UStG)).

The items purchased are subject to VAT (20 per cent), but usually only in the entrepreneur’s accounts. Where entrepreneurs are entitled to input tax deduction, entrepreneurs can deduct the calculated VAT as input tax in the same preliminary VAT return (first line of article 12 paragraph 1 (1) of the UStG). In this case, the whole procedure only takes place on paper; no payments have to be made.

Example

A German wholesaler supplies stereo systems to an Austrian retailer. This delivery is not subject to taxation in Germany; however, in Austria it is subject to VAT at 20 per cent (‘acquisition tax’). The Austrian retailer is able to deduct this acquisition tax as input tax where it is entitled to do so.

The place of the intra-Community acquisition and therefore the taxation must generally be where the item is located following transportation or shipment.

Tax liability arises when the invoice is created, but no later than on the 15th day of the calendar month following the purchase. Different rules apply when it comes to intra-Community acquisitions of new vehicles (article 19 of the UStG).

Please note

In some cases (article 1 paragraph 4 of the UStG), such as, for example, for intra-Community acquisitions by non-genuinely exempted entrepreneurs, taxation on intra-Community acquisitions is associated with the purchasing limit of 11,000 Euro. Details of this can be found in the Umsatzsteuerrichtlinien 2000.

Related links

Vehicle importation (→ BMF)German text

Legal basis

Translated by the European Commission
last update: 1 January 2021

responsible for content: Federal Ministry of Finance

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