Stress with chain transactions

New legal situation for chain transactions from 01.01.2020:

On the way to a new definitive EU VAT system, which will take some time, European finance ministers agreed in October 2018 on a short-term package of measures (Quick Fixes). This package of measures has already been incorporated into the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC and the Implementing Regulation 282/2011 in December 2018 and will apply from 01.01.2020.

For the first time, the new Article 36a introduced regulations on chain transactions in the VAT Directive-2006/112/EC. This article now bindingly regulates the assignment of transport or dispatch in intra-Community chain transactions for all member states. The previous legal uncertainty that different rules for assigning of transport or dispatch could apply in other member states will therefore be removed from 01.01.2020.

The new basic rule (Article 36a (1) states that the dispatch or transport shall be ascribed only to the supply of goods by the intermediary operator. The definition in paragraph 3 clarifies that "intermediary operator" means the entrepreneur who dispatches or transports the items. This assignment rule corresponds with the currently valid basic assignment rule of the VAT Application Decree (3.14, Section 7 UStAE). As a result, nothing fundamentally changes with intra-community chain transactions and the problem that the ECJ case law deviates from the administrative concept is thereby resolved. Likewise, Member States which have so far followed the ECJ case-law (Connection to the transfer of the right to dispose over the goods) must adapt their assignment rules. Legal certainty thus increases in intra-Community chain transactions. The VAT Directive 2006/112/EC, however, refers only to intra-Community chain transactions, that means in the case of third-country transactions (import / export), the respective national legislation and the statutory provisions of the third country must be observed.

The second rule (Article 36a (2)) represents an absolute novelty from the point of view of most Member States. From the German point of view, however, there is a striking similarity to the option to choose in accordance with § 3 para. 6 sentence 6 UStG. This new rule causes a shift of the supply to which the shipment or dispatch is assigned if the intermediary operator has communicated to his supplier the VAT identification number issued to him by the Member State from which the goods are dispatched or transported. As a result, this creates an option to choose for the entrepreneur who initiates the transport, who can choose between acting with a VAT ID number of the country of departure or with a VAT ID number of the destination country. Depending on the VAT ID number used, either the supply to this intermediary operator or the supply by this intermediary operator will be exempt from VAT if all legal requirements fulfilled (IC supply). This assignment rule thus largely coincides with the currently valid option to choose according to § 3 para. 6 sentence 6 UStG (acting as "supplier"), however, this supplier must no longer prove in intra-Community chain transactions that he has taken over risk and cost of transport or dispatch. However, as with the application of Article 36a (1), in the case of third-country transactions (exports), the respective national legislation and the legal provisions of the third country must be observed.

The big advantage from the German point of view is therefore that the currently valid option to choose according to § 3 para. 6 sentence 6 UStG is simplified and at the same time it is ensured that from 01.01.2020 all member states have to recognize this option to choose. (In the past, this option to choose could only be used to a very limited extent because it has not been recognized by most of the Member States).

In the chain transaction calculator you could already select "U2 as supplier" and "U3 as supplier" and thereby move the taxexempt supply to "right". When you register in the chain transaction calculator, you will also find in the notes at the end of the chain transaction evaluations comments in connection with the changes described above and in those examples where the initiator of the transport has the nationality of the country of departure (and thus automatically in possession of the VAT ID number of the country of departure) a second chain transaction sketch exercising the option to choose in accordance with Article 36a (2) of the VAT Directive 2006/112/EC. So on one and the same page you can see a sketch for the legal situation 2019 and at the same time another sketch with the legal situation 2020 and you can see at a glance how the new regulation will affect from 01.01.2020.

So that you too can benefit from this additional information, I ask for your registration via the following link:

New here? - Registration


Already a customer? - Log In


Information contained in the full version:

  • Registration obligations: Countries in which the entrepreneur is required to register
  • Invoicing: Details to be provided in the invoice in connection with a tax exemption
  • VAT return: All entries required in the VAT return (incl. German ID's)
  • Import VAT: Input tax deduction entitlement based on the import VAT
  • EC-Sales List: The reporting requirements in the "ESL" (the recapitulative statement)
  • Intrastat: All Intrastat reporting obligations
  • Notes: Concerning double acquisition, different debtor of Import VAT
    legal assessment from 01.01.2020 / partially with a second chain transaction sketch according to the legal position from 1.1.2020. See also sample page Chain Transaction-4
  • Suggestions: For obtaining a tax exemption
  • Information: Concerning deviating legal assessments of other Member States
    A detailed description can be found on the Help page or in subsequent sample pages:
    Chain Transaction-1, Chain Transaction-2, Chain Transaction-3

Further features of the full version:

  • Print version: For quick (ad-free) printing of the individual chain transactions
  • Word-File: Additionally, the chain transactions are available as (editable) Word files for downloading. These essentially correspond to the print version (incl. sketch according to the current legal situation) without © marking and should facilitate the work of tax consultants by allowing them to use this file as a basis for their own chain transaction assessments.

Cost of the full version:

A Single-user licence costs only EUR 80,- plus VAT per year and workplace. Immediately after your order, you will receive an email with an activation link including the usage contract. The usage contract is concluded only by clicking on this link in the email and allows you to immediately use the chain transaction calculator without restriction. After that, you conveniently pay the annual fee by bank transfer upon receiving the invoice. Other licence models can be found in the price list.


Further changes due to the quick fixes:

Please note that the Quick fixes, in addition to the changes in the chain transactions, also has effects on the following areas:

More details can be found here.