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Paying VAT on passenger transport by bus across the border to German seaports and Switzerland
Source: Zuständigkeitsfinder Schleswig-Holstein (Linie6PLus)
The tax arises if
- your bus or coach is not registered in Germany and
- you transport passengers in occasional traffic across a third-country border of the Federal Republic of Germany against payment. Occasional transport means, for example, excursion trips, holiday destination trips and transport with rented buses. A third-country border of the Federal Republic of Germany is a border with a state that is not a member of the European Union, i.e. the borders between Switzerland and Germany and at German seaports.
You must pay the tax whether you run a company based in Germany or abroad, or whether you transport German or foreign passengers. The tax is due as soon as the bus crosses the border. The customs office at the border levies the turnover tax for each transport individually in the so-called individual transport taxation procedure.
In the individual transport taxation procedure, the turnover tax is calculated on the basis of an average transport charge. The average transportation charge is 4.43 cents. At a tax rate of 19 percent, the sales tax is therefore 0.84 cents for each passenger kilometer that you travel in the Federal Republic of Germany. You calculate the passenger kilometers by multiplying the number of passengers carried by the number of kilometers the motor bus actually traveled in the Federal Republic of Germany.
For example: If you transport 50 persons in a bus over 100 kilometres in Germany, the result is 5000 passenger kilometres.
In the case of individual transport taxation, no input tax is taken into account. This means that the sales tax you pay when purchasing goods or services for your business, so-called input tax, is not refunded. However, you can claim a refund of input tax amounts if the input taxes are related to a passenger transport that has been subject to individual transport taxation.
When leaving and entering the Federal Republic of Germany via German seaports or the border with Switzerland (third-country border):
- For each individual journey, complete the VAT declaration form on the carriage of passengers in international occasional transport with buses and coaches not registered in Germany in duplicate. You can do this in advance. You can also get the form directly at the customs office at the border.
- The carrier of the bus or coach, e.g. the driver, must hand in both completed forms to the customs office at the border.
- The customs office assesses the tax and returns a copy of the form to the carrier.
- The carrier must pay the tax immediately.
- The customs office gives the carrier a tax receipt. The carrier must carry this receipt and the form with him throughout the journey.
When leaving the Federal Republic of Germany via German seaports or the border with Switzerland (third country border):
- The carrier must present the receipt and the form to the customs office at the border when leaving the Federal Republic of Germany for a third country. If the number of passenger-kilometres actually covered by the bus or coach in the Federal Republic of Germany subsequently differs from the number on the form at the time of entry, the carrier must submit a new tax return as referred to above and the procedure is as above. If the amount is less than EUR 2.50, the carrier does not have to submit a new tax return.
- The buses and coaches with which you transport passengers are not registered in Germany.
- Your buses and coaches cross third-country borders of the Federal Republic of Germany on an occasional basis.
Which documents are required?
You do not need to submit any additional documentation.
What are the fees?
There are no costs for you.
What deadlines do I have to pay attention to?
Submission of the tax return:
Immediately upon each transport (entry or exit) across a third country border to the Federal Republic of Germany.
Payment of the tax:
Calculation of the tax amount at the border: immediately
Issuance of the tax assessment at the border: immediately
Applications / forms
- Forms: yes
- Online procedure possible: no
- Written form required: yes
- Personal appearance required: yes
Technically approved by
Federal Ministry of Finance