Goods acquired from Germany require Entry Certificates

When goods are supplied between businesses from one EC member state to another, the transactions can be zero-rated for VAT purposes provided certain requirements are met.  One such requirement is to evidence that the goods have actually been transported as expected.

Historically, an intra-community supply could be evidenced to EC VAT authorities by a reasonable combination of documents, such as waybills, packing lists, delivery notes, etc.  However, with effect from 1 January 2013, we understand that the only evidence the German VAT authorities will accept is the new “Entry Certificate” (Gelangensbestätigung), with very few exceptions.

After 2012, UK VAT registered businesses should therefore expect to complete this new Entry Certificate, if they are to secure zero-rating on relevant purchases from Germany.  This will apply not only to those businesses buying stock for resale, but also to those purchasing items for use in their business such as machinery, cars, aircraft, ships/yachts, spare parts and so on.

This document, also known as a confirmation of arrival, is available in English under the catchy title “Certification of the entry of the object of an intra-Community supply into another EU Member State (Entry Certificate)”.  There are eight fields to complete:

  • Name and address of the customer
  • Quantity of the goods
  • Standard commercial description of the goods (for vehicles, include the vehicle identification number)
  • Date the goods were received in the member state of entry, unless the customer transported the goods themselves
  • Date the transportation ended, if the customer transported the goods themselves
  • Member state and place of entry
  • Date of issue of the certificate
  • Signature of the customer (or authorised representative) and the signatory’s name

Some businesses will be involved in transactions for which it is not clear how (or by whom) the Entry Certificate should be completed.  Must a company, moving its own goods from Germany to the UK, provide an Entry Certificate to itself?  How should the Entry Certificate be completed if the goods are purchased by a UK business, but transported from Germany to a third EC country under “triangulation” rules?  Such businesses will need support in resolving issues of this kind.

For assistance in securing zero-rating for goods purchased from Germany, or for VAT support on any cross-border transactions, please contact the TaxDesk on 0845 4900 509 and ask for Vaughn Chown or Kevin Hall.