Since the beginning of 2019, online traders have been obliged to obtain a certificate from the tax office in accordance with § 22f UStG and make it available to the electronic marketplaces. The so-called 22f certificate confirms that the online merchant is registered as a business in Germany.
Without this certificate, the marketplace - i.eAmazon., eBay and Co. - can be held liable for the amount not paid Value Added Tax by the merchant.
Note: The background to the topic of marketplace liability we had explained to you in 2019 in this blog article.
Certificates are currently issued for a limited period of up to three years. This means that many certificates will lose their validity in late 2021/early 2022.
Currently the process is being carried out in paper form. Both the application and the certificate itself are applied for and issued on paper. With the publication of the sample forms, the Federal Ministry of Finance announced that in future the process will be carried out electronically, without giving a concrete date.
Now the first plans have been revealed. The Bavarian State Office for Taxes - responsible for ELSTER, among others - is expected to digitize the project by the 4th quarter of 2021. The existing ELSTER online portal (My ELSTER) and the ELSTER ERiC interface are to be used for this purpose.
The paper certificate is to be replaced by an electronic certificate - the so-called RegID.
Not only the application, but also the storage and retrieval of the certificate should be done electronically. This means in particular that operators of online marketplaces will be given the opportunity to query the RegID.
According to the publication, the searches carried out should be exempt from liability for the marketplaces. The tax authorities have reserved the right to log the RegID query and response.
This eliminates the effort for online merchants and the marketplaces will be able to minimize their risk through the RegID status query.
It is expected that from 2022 onwards it will also be possible to register new entrepreneurs together with the granting of a RegID. With the questionnaire for tax registration (FSE), an online trader who does not yet have a tax number should also be able to apply for a RegID.
Further information is awaited, but timetable realistic
There is a relatively long time left until the end of 2021. However, if one considers the speed of implementation of comparable projects using ELSTER and the current project workload with major projects (digital administrative act, real estate tax via ELSTER), this seems to be a very optimistic time planning. The publication of very general information and only a rough timeline, suggests that this project is still at a very early stage.
The information is taken from a presentation of the ELSTER developer meeting in Munich, which unfortunately did not take place this year. Further details therefore remain to be seen.
Do you need an ELSTER connection?
Recht logisch has specialised in the topic of interfaces in tax law. The company supports software manufacturers in particular in connecting to the ELSTER interface and has developed a state-of-the-art solution for this purpose.
You are welcome to contact Krzysztof Tomasz Zembrowski here to arrange an initial interview.
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