Invoicing delivery of goods to customers outside the EU

What to consider when invoicing goods to countries outside the EU

Written by Fanny Silheres
Updated over a week ago

There is a difference between services and goods. Goods are seen as tangible assets, which, in contrary to services, can be stored and physically shipped from one country to another e.g. books, clothes, computers, etc. Another characteristic is that the production and consumption of goods differ in time. Therefore they are treated differently when it comes to invoicing the delivery of goods to clients outside of Germany.

When you as a registered business in Germany export goods to a country outside the European Union (EU) then it is in general exempt of the value-added-tax (VAT).

A requirement is that the delivered goods reach the other country.

Further, for export shipments (individual or grouped dispatches) with a value higher than 1,000 EUR or whose weight exceed 1,000 kg, it is obligatory to participate in the electronic export procedures called ATLAS.  
Exports below this threshold that are not declared electronically must be proven with shipping documents or other commercially available documents.

Keep in mind that you have to store the relevant export documents for up to 10 years as a proof.

What should I write on the invoice?

In addition to the details required on a regular invoice, your invoice has to include the following details:

  • Your net invoice amount and no VAT

  • A statement that the delivery is tax exempt like "Tax free export delivery" / „Steuerfreie Ausfuhrlieferung“

Keep in mind that this is a general rule as there are always several important exceptions. In any case, it is essential for you to find out in advance whether and which taxes and customs duties are payable on a delivery to another country outside Germany and the EU.

Sorted tax guides are provided without liability and do not replace a tax advisor.
To get an accurate answer for your specific case, please consult a tax advisor.
You can always
ask one of tax advisors on the Sorted platform.

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