Intra-Community supply

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Entrepreneurs or freelancers often ask themselves the question: what is an intra-Community supply?

The most important information on the subject is available here.

  • Intra-Community supply: what is it?

    Under certain conditionsDeliveries of goods and products between the member countries of the EU are exempt from value-added tax (VAT). Import VAT is thus only incurred for those products that originate from a country that is not a member of the European Union.

  • The legal basis for intra-Community deliveries can be found in several paragraphs. Interested parties can find out more about the legal situation here:

    • Section 4 No. 1b Value Added Tax Act (UStG)
    • Section 6a UStG
    • Sections 17a to 17c of the German Turnover Tax Implementing Regulation (UStDV)
    • German VAT Application Decree (UStAE) , which provides guidance on the interpretation of the legal provisions.

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You should take great care to ensure that you do not make any errors in the intra-Community supply. If the tax office does not recognize the documents or the requirements, you may have to make an additional payment.

Requirements for the tax exemption

The great advantage of intra-Community delivery is that you do not pay VAT on the delivery. However, entrepreneurs and freelancers can only make use of this advantage if they meet certain requirements. These conditions are:

  • 1

    Business or freelancer

    The trade or business is officially registered. Only entrepreneurs and freelancers can benefit from the VAT-free intra-Community supply.

  • 2

    Within the EU

    The product or goods are traded between member countries of the European Union and are subject to VAT in the country of origin.

  • 3


    Proof of shipment must be available..
  • 4

    Business activity as a basis

    The product or goods are delivered or accepted as part of the business activity of the company. It is not possible for entrepreneurs to ship certain goods abroad privately and not pay VAT on them. The reverse, that entrepreneurs or freelancers have goods sent privately from abroad and do not want to pay VAT for them, is also excluded. The exception to this rule is the purchase of a new car. Here, the regulations for intra-Community deliveries also apply to private individuals.

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In addition, entrepreneurs and freelancers should pay attention to the following things:

  • Proof: Both documentary and accounting evidence of the intra-Community supply must be available. The vouchers will only be accepted if they are in the original.

  • Evidence requirement: The tax office would like to see proof of the intra-Community supply. Entrepreneurs and freelancers are obliged to prove that they meet the necessary legal requirements for VAT-free intra-Community supply.

  • Register and create tax free invoice

Checklist: Intra-Community supply

Was ist der Unterschied zwischen einer Reklamation & Beschwerde

This applies to the intra-Community delivery

If you want to be sure not to forget any important details when making an intra-Community delivery, we recommend the checklist of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Frankfurt am Main. We have summarized the most important points for you here:

  • Are the goods or products exempt from sales tax in Germany?

  • Are the conditions for an intra-Community supply met?

  • Have you paid attention to the requirements for receipts and postings that the IRS requires?

  • Does the outgoing invoice contain all the mandatory information that an invoice for intra-Community supplies must contain? This includes:

    • The VAT number of the invoice recipient
    • Reference to exemption from VAT due to intra-Community supply

  • In which currency does the supplier invoice his services?

  • Have the assessment bases been observed?

  • Is input tax deduction possible?

Intra-Community supply and recapitulative statement (ZM)

One of the obligations to provide proof to the tax office is the recapitulative statement (ZM). Within the scope of these reports, entrepreneurs and freelancers must list the amount of their sales in other EU countries. The sales of goods and the sales of services must be strictly separated in the ZM.

With the help of the recapitulative statement, the tax office can check whether the recipient of the goods or services has taxed them correctly in his country. For this purpose, the German tax office transmits the specified data to the tax offices of the member states concerned.

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