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Quick Fixes – Proof of intra-EU transport

Your company sells and dispatches goods from Germany and you always considered that the operations were qualifying as VAT exempt intra-EU supplies. Following the implementation of the Quick Fixes on 01/01/2020 and the related presumption regarding proof of transport, you now wonder whether additional documents would be necessary to secure the VAT exemption.

Quick fixes : Two rebuttable presumptions

Two rebuttable presumptions were introduced in the European VAT legislation allowing the seller to claim the VAT exemption on intra-Community supplies. It is now presumed that the goods have been transported outside the Member State of dispatch when the seller who takes care of the transport is in possession of at least two documents listed in the regulation. If the transport is carried out by the purchaser, the latter must also provide the seller with a written declaration indicating the country of destination of the goods so that the presumption can apply.

German's VAT rules

In Germany, the presumption was transposed in the national legislation under §17a of the implementing provisions (“Umsatzsteuer-Durchführungsverordnung”). However, there are still other means for the supplier to demonstrate that the goods have been dispatched out of Germany.

One of these means is the “Gelangensbestätigung”, which is a confirmation by the customer that the goods have reached their destination in another Member State than Germany. It must contain the following information:

  1. the name and address of the customer,
  2. the quantity of delivered goods and their commercial name,
  3. the place and month of receipt/end of transport of the goods in the Member State of destination,
  4. the issuance date of the confirmation and
  5. the signature of the customer or one of his authorized agents for acceptance.

The confirmation of arrival can be issued as a collective confirmation. Sales of up to one quarter can be summarized in the collective confirmation. The confirmation of arrival can be provided in any form containing the required information. It can also consist of several documents from which the required information can be derived.

Of course, in case of doubts about the reality of the intra-EU transport, the Tax Authorities can demonstrate that the intra-EU shipment hasn’t taken place. In other words, the burden of proof lies with the Tax Authorities.