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Entry Certificate – No tax exemption without documentary evidence

Since 1.1.2014, all companies that export within the EU have had to submit a so-called entry certificate (Gelangensbestätigung) to the tax office in order to be exempted from VAT for intra-Community deliveries. In a recent ruling, the Münster tax court confirmed that this documentary evidence cannot be dispensed with.

In the case relating to the ruling from 15.12.2020 (case reference: 5 K 1805/20 U), it had been disputed whether the sale of a vehicle was taxable or, as an intra-Community delivery, was exempted from VAT. The legal action was brought by a GmbH [a German limited company] that traded in new and used vehicles and operated a repair service. There was a dispute over the purchase of a car by an Italian company that had collected the car locally. The GmbH had treated the transaction as a VAT-exempt intra-Community delivery. In the course of a special VAT audit, the tax office queried that the entry certificate issued by the Italian company was missing. The sale was therefore a taxable delivery.

The GmbH’s claim was unsuccessful in view of the non-compliance with the requirements relating to documentary evidence in the form of accounting records and receipts for the existence of a tax-exempt intra-Community delivery. It had not been possible to produce either a confirmation that the vehicle had reached the customer in Italy or that the vehicle had been registered in Italy. 

Please note: According to the case law of the Federal Fiscal Court, the registration of a vehicle abroad would not be sufficient to prove the existence of a tax-exempt intra-Community delivery.

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