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Goods shipments from third countries with GJS Fiscal DE

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Goods shipments from third countries with GJS Fiscal DE

The German customer orders the goods (e.g. a pair of trousers) in the foreign online store and pays the online store the net value of the goods plus the German value added tax (VAT) of currently 19% standard rate or 7% at the reduced tax rate on the basis of the accounts receivable invoice sent. The foreign online store then sends the goods to the end customer in Germany via a logistics provider. Before it reaches the end customer, the goods are cleared at the German border either by the logistics company or a customs officer using a commercial invoice.

Thanks to the commercial invoice, the customs declarant knows what information needs to be entered at the main customs office. Important delivery information can be found here:

  • the net value of goods
  • the weight and
  • the customs tariff number, if available
  • Terms of delivery

Once the customs declarant has entered the information into the system, the import VAT and customs duty are assessed. The goods are then DDP, i.e. taxed and cleared through customs in Germany. The customer is no longer the importer of the goods, but receives the goods from the foreign online shop already taxed and duty paid. The foreign online store thus imports the goods using its own German tax number for VAT purposes and/or VAT ID number. You can find an example of a commercial invoice for import assessment here.

Whether and to what extent import duties are incurred depends on the value of the goods and the type of shipment.

Customs duty, insofar as it is levied, represents an expense for the foreign online shop. Customs first sets a customs value, which is higher than the actual value of the goods because it includes foreign taxes as well as shipping costs. A customs duty will be charged on this. The customs value plus the customs amount, plus the transportation costs, form a calculation base amount. The EUST then amounts to 7 or 19 percent of the tax base. Import sales tax is not an expense for the online retailer. The import sales tax is merely a security tax and is refunded with the monthly or quarterly sales tax settlement in Germany. The import sales tax is assessed by customs when the goods cross the border and is generally due immediately; in the case of imports by an entrepreneur, it must be paid no later than the tenth day after importation.

Value added tax accounting in Germany

The right shipping strategy will make you, as a foreign online store, successful in Germany from day one. With a DDP delivery, taxed and duty paid, you achieve maximum customer satisfaction and thus meet the specific customer requirements in Germany. They deliver and charge like local online stores in Germany. And there are no limits to onward shipment to other EU countries.

An expert from GJS will be happy to support you in setting up the process optimally and avoiding tax and customs traps.

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