2 min article

Your VAT obligations in the EU

If your business on eBay sells goods in any EU country, you may be required to register for and collect Value Added Tax (VAT).

Due to a law change in Germany on January 1, 2019, eBay will have to collect a certificate (“Bescheinigung nach §22f UStG”) from each business seller, which confirms the tax registration of the seller.

Note: Tax evasion is a criminal offence. eBay continues to work with German authorities to prevent it and will take action against those who don’t comply with the law. This includes but is not limited to listing removal and account suspension.
VAT regulations in Germany

VAT in the EU is a tax on consumer spending. It is collected by VAT-registered traders on their sales within the EU territory, and passed on to the national tax authorities via VAT return filings. Most EU countries allow you to register for VAT online, through the local tax authority’s website.

In practice, the following three situations will normally trigger mandatory VAT registration:

  1. If you are an EU established seller and your business is trading over the legal thresholds defined by your home country you must ensure that you are registered for VAT. The thresholds vary between EU countries and are currently anything from 0 EUR in Spain to 85,000 GBP in UK. In practice, this means that you must register for VAT immediately if you are a Spanish business (no minimum threshold), whereas you are required to register for VAT as an UK seller only after you have made over 85,000 GBP sales within 12 consecutive months.
  2. If you are selling goods that are warehoused/pre-deployed in any other country than your home country, then you must register for VAT immediately in the EU country where your goods are located. There is no minimal threshold and this rule also applies for sellers from outside of the EU with inventory pre-deployed in the EU.
  3. If you sell a lot of goods located in one EU country to private buyers in another EU country (distance selling), you may also be required to register for and collect VAT in the country of your buyer if you exceed specific thresholds for that country. These range from 26,135 EUR for distance sales to Romania to 100,000 EUR for Germany.

Read more about VAT thresholds in individual EU countries - opens in new window or tab.

It is mandatory that you display your VAT number on the eBay site in connection with your listings.  This can be done by updating your business seller information page.  This is also explained in our Seller Center - opens in new window or tab

Failure to meet your VAT obligations is a serious criminal offence. If you do not appear to be meeting your VAT obligations on EU sites, your account may be blocked from selling and your active listings removed. You will need to update your account with a valid VAT number and contact us before we can remove any selling restriction.

Most EU countries allow you to register for VAT online, through the local tax authority’s website.

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