Frequently asked questions - value-added tax (VAT)
FAQ regarding VAT changes in general
- Are value-added tax (VAT [Mehrwertsteuer (MwST)] and turnover tax [Umsatzsteuer (USt)] the same?
In the German language, “Mehrwertsteuer (MwST)” (VAT) and “Umsatzsteuer (USt) (turnover tax) are used as synonyms.
- Which shipments remain VAT exempt?
Universal services which are provided on the basis of the GT&C and which neither vary with regard to the quality conditions in the quality features defined in accordance with PUDLV [German Postal Universal Service Ordinance] nor deviate from the tariffs generally accessible to anyone or from authorized charges will remain VAT exempt.
- What tax rate will apply to postal products?
With regard to postal services liable to VAT, the regular VAT rate of currently 19% will apply to customers residing in Germany.
Customers residing abroad are subject to the Reverse Charge method, according to which the customer has to settle his tax liability with the fiscal authorities and at the VAT rate applicable in the country he is based in.
- What do I need to consider when franking my shipments? Can I continue to use my franking machine?
Nothing is going to change with regard to franking, i.e., the type of franking has no impact on VAT liability. This means, the franking machine can still be used.
Shipments are always franked net (regardless of the franking method), i.e., without VAT being disclosed in the postage amount.
- Will the customer be given a corresponding receipt? Will the invoice amount be shown with or without VAT?
Regardless of whether and where services are obtained, a proper receipt/invoice document which can, for example, be submitted to the fiscal authorities for the deduction of input tax, will be issued in any case. The customer will receive an invoice in which the VAT is disclosed.
- What is universal service?
Universal service is the provision of specific services in an appropriate price and quality structure to all users, in particular where this would not be profitable for the provider(s) based on economic criteria alone. In the postal sector this refers to nationwide, daily delivery of specific postal products (e.g., mail items up to 2 kg or addressed parcels up to 20 kg), compliance with transit time requirements and guaranteed reachability even in thinly populated areas at affordable prices. The exact requirements for the postal universal service arise from the German Postal Act (PostG, Postgesetz) and the German Postal Universal Service Ordinance (PUDLV, Post-Universaldienstleistungsverordnung).