In keeping with this article, a few more information about small business owners according to Section 19 I UStG, who sell goods over the Internet, for example, be it in their own online shop and/or on trading platforms, are also lost. And, of course, I have said that this also applies to all other services, not just goods.

Here, too, the problem arises as to whether prices are considered “incl. VAT’ means that a small business owner does not actually have to pay VAT. This is due to a problem with the wording of Section 19 of the Value Added Tax Act. After that:

The transactions for transactions within the meaning of Section 1 para. 1 Vat due in no. 1 is paid by traders who are resident in Germany or in the 3 designated territories are resident, not collected,


The predominant opinion therefore assumes that, in theory, vat is included in the transactions obtained as a small business owner, but this does not have to be paid up to the ceiling. This is mainly justified by the regulation of so-called opt-outs. After that:

The trader may declare to the tax office, until the tax is not challenged (Sections 18(3) and (4), that he waives the application of paragraph 1.

Even retrospectively, e.g. after the sale of an item, one can decide as a small business owner to opt. In this case, the value added tax, which has not yet been shown separately, must be paid retrospectively. In return, you can also claim VAT against the tax office, for example, for purchases of goods or from other invoices of third parties. The latter is not possible as a small business owner. The logic therefore dictates that, purely from a legal point of view, VAT, including in the prices of small business owners, should be included.

Here too, however, great care applies when designing an online shop, for example. As long as you have not opted, you cannot/may not issue invoices with a separate VAT card and send them to your customers. This, in turn, means that customers who can claim VAT on their part cannot do so when buying from a small business owner. Of course, the buyer must be made aware of this, otherwise one risks deceiving the customer and acting anti-competitively. You may also not provide conflicting information on trading platforms or in your own shop. For example, a separate presentation of VAT (e.g. in an order confirmation or in the product overview) combined with the indication that one is a small business owner would probably also be an anti-competitive act.

As you can see, it is therefore worth it already with this supposedly simple problem that an experienced colleague with experience in the law of online retail advises the seller. Then it can also be discussed whether the small business regulation makes sense for oneself at all or whether an optimization is not already the better choice from a business point of view.

I have many years of experience on these issues and can give comprehensive advice on them.

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