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Groundbreaking ruling on VAT in photovoltaic system sales


On December 5, 2023, the Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court issued an important ruling that has far-reaching consequences for the trade in photovoltaic system components. This ruling sets new standards in the interpretation of tax laws, in particular with regard to the application of the 0% VAT rate in accordance with Section 12 para. 3 No. 1 UStG. In this context, the court emphasized the relevance of the exact product description and the correct tax classification, which is particularly important for providers in e-commerce. This ruling also sent a clear signal that the interpretation of VAT regulations in relation to such products must be carefully examined.

Main part:

The main issue was whether the offer of a “solar rail” as an essential component of a photovoltaic system was misleading or unfair, particularly with regard to VAT. The defendant had offered a solar profile with 0% VAT, based on the exemption under Section 12 para. 3 No. 1 UStG for PV systems 2023. However, the applicant argued that this tax rate was not applicable, as the components could also be used for other purposes.

The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court ruled that the offer was not misleading or unfair. It was emphasized that the question of the applicable VAT rate would be irrelevant for the buyer, as the final price including VAT would remain the same regardless of the tax rate shown. This decision underlines the importance of transparency and accuracy in product communication, especially when it comes to complex tax regulations. It also reflects a fundamental principle of competition and advertising law, namely that offers must be truthful and not misleading. This ruling serves as an important point of reference for traders and manufacturers in the renewable energy sector and shows how crucial compliance with tax regulations is in the trading context.

Here is the verdict in anonymized form!


This ruling illustrates the relevance of correct price indication and tax calculation in e-commerce, especially when marketing photovoltaic system components. It provides important guidance for companies in this sector and emphasizes the importance of precise knowledge of VAT regulations.

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel

Marian Härtel is a lawyer and entrepreneur specializing in copyright law, competition law and IT/IP law, with a focus on games, esports, media and blockchain.


03322 5078053