German Annual VAT returns
Annual summary returns are filed in addition to the periodic VAT returns submitted during the year. These returns summarize the data reported in the four quarters (or 12 months) of the previous calendar year.
The annual summary returns in Germany are considered as the final VAT return. Periodic VAT returns, whether they are monthly or quarterly, are often referred as "preliminary VAT returns" because the data reported is only considered final once the Annual return is submitted. This is the reason why some corrections can be made directly through the German annual summary VAT return.
Frequency of filing and due date
The annual summary VAT returns is filed for a complete calendar year. The due date to submit the German annual VAT return is 31 July of the following year. In case this return is filed by a recognised tax consultant, the due date is shifted to 28 February of the second following year. These deadlines have been updated in December 2016 by the German tax authorities.
In case a payment needs to be made following the submission of the annual return (e.g. Additional output VAT reported in the annual return), this payment must be made within one month following the submission of the return.
In case the due date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or bank holiday, the date is shifted to the next working day.
Nil Annual summary VAT return
If there are no transactions to be reported in a given year, a nil Annual summary VAT return must be submitted in Germany.
Corrective German Annual VAT return
Once the annual return has been submitted for a calendar year, any subsequent correction of transactions reported in that year can only be made through a corrective annual return. Periodic VAT returns cannot be corrected once the annual VAT return has been submitted.
The corrective annual VAT return in Germany replaces the previously submitted return. It is not a supplementary declaration but a completely new return where all data has to be reported again. The return is corrected using the same form and way of filing as the annual return. In this form, box 110 must be completed with code 1.
Penalties on German Annual VAT returns
Where these annual VAT returns are submitted late, an automatic penalty of 0.25% of the VAT due will apply. The VAT due is reduced by the amount paid throughout the year, therefore, penalties will apply on the remaining payment following the monthly or quarterly returns submitted and paid during the year.
Late filing of the German annual VAT return can be subject to a penalty of up to 10% of the reported VAT amount with a limit of €25,000. In practice, the authorities may not always apply this penalty.
If the annual return requires an additional payment, missing this payment will also trigger a late payment penalty of 0.25% of the VAT due per month. Monthly interest will be added to this amount after 16 months from the end of the year in which VAT became due.