The introduction of the One Stop Shop, or OSS for short, has created a lot of confusion among online retailers. Not least because the implementation of the new taxation program in a large number of European countries, including Germany, was only bumpy. In this article we will therefore show you step-by-step how you can sign up for OSS and which data you have to keep in order to register successfully for the OSS.
Antonia KlattLast Updated on 19 January 2022
What is the OSS?
The One Stop Shop is a new taxation system for the e-commerce market that was introduced in June 2021. Its purpose is to avoid VAT arbitrage and to simplify the payment of VAT for online retailers active across Europe. The OSS is used on a voluntary basis.
How does the One Stop Shop work?
As soon as you have signed-up for the OSS in a country of your choice, registrations for VAT in other countries to which sales are made are no longer necessary. This applies as long as goods are only sold and shipped, but not stored abroad. As a result, OSS reports must then be submitted in the country of the OSS registration. In addition, the entire VAT that is incurred in the various countries is paid there. The authorities then distribute the VAT to the countries to which it is owed. This reduces the administrative workload for online retailers who would otherwise have to submit separate advance registrations in all countries and pay VAT.
Signing up for One-Stop-Shop: Explained in detail
In order to sign-up for the One Stop Shop and consequently participate in the process, online retailers have to meet a few requirements. This includes:
- Timely submission of tax returns
- Timely payment of tax amounts
- Compliance with the record-keeping obligations
- Dealers who are active in the mail order business must therefore have ensured and proven before registering that they are acting in compliance with VAT and complying with the regulations of the tax authorities. Then you can start to register for the OSS.
1st step: Registration in the BOP
Registration for the One Stop Shop does not take place, at least in Germany, directly at the Federal Central Tax Office, but separately via the BOP online portal. You need an ELSTER certificate file to register. You should already have this, as it is also used to log into the ELSTER portal, in which you founded a company, submitted previous tax returns and filled out other tax forms.
In contrast to the ELSTER portal, you do not have to search for the correct form after successfully registering. The form „Registrierungsanzeige zur Teilnahme an der OSS EU-Regelung (vormals Mini-One-Stop-Shop)“ is displayed immediately. In the course of the OSS sign-up process, information about
- the company
- the contact details
- the bank details
- the branches and supply chains
- the VAT ID
- other company registrations
Are required. There is also the option of transferring data from an existing profile.
Step 2: Information on the provision of an electronic delivery threshold
Following the specification of general entrepreneur and company information, a query is made as to whether the entrepreneur operates an electronic delivery threshold to support deliveries. These are online marketplaces such as Amazon and Ebay. Since most online dealers and sellers only use these marketplaces and do not operate them, you can probably tick “No” there.
Step 3: Information on branches and supply chains
For the next step you have to have data on your locations and delivery processes ready. Entering this information can be complicated, especially for online sellers who send goods and products to their end customers via fulfillment programs such as Amazon’s FBA. The platform’s help function, recognizable by the small question mark next to explanatory words, can be helpful here.
This shows that a fulfillment vendor’s warehouse, such as an Amazon FBA warehouse, is not considered a permanent establishment. Also, these warehouses do not represent “another facility”, since the warehouse must be assigned to the entrepreneur in order to be valid.
Step 4: Information on previous registrations
In the last step, it must be stated whether an OSS registration is already available in another country or whether the company has already signed up for the One Stop Shop in the past. This is still quite an important step right now as most entrepreneurs are signing up for the first time, but will become more important over time. It is entirely possible to use the One Stop Shop for a while, later to pay VAT debt directly and then sign up again.
Step 5: Submission and processing
After you have checked all the details again, you can send the form. You will then receive an email from the portal confirming receipt of your registration. After that, it’s time to wait and see. After a few weeks you will receive another message from the Federal Central Tax Office confirming that your registration has been successful.
After successfully signing up for the One Stop Shop, you will enjoy a few easements, but also have some obligations. First of all, you no longer have to register for VAT in other European countries after you have signed up, as long as you do not store any goods there. However, after signing up for the OSS in Germany, you must also regularly submit OSS reports in this country. Specialized service providers such as hellotax can help you with this. In addition to submitting and signing up for the One Stop Shop, we can also take care of your VAT obligations in many other European countries. Contact us today and reduce your administrative effort.
Hellotax One-Stop-Shop Solution
- Automated identification of B2C sales
- Automated determination of your tax rates
- Handling of OSS registrations and reports
- Quality control for your transactions
In addition to VAT obligations, you should keep a few other points in mind. These concern
- the Mini One Stop Shop (MOSS)
- your right to vote
- the end of OSS use
The Mini One Stop Shop, a taxation system for digital services that has existed for some time and was the forerunner of the OSS, is integrated into the One Stop Shop. This means that companies that are already using the MOSS automatically take part in the One Stop Shop and do not have to sign up for OSS again.
It is also important to know how an entrepreneur can, may or must no longer participate in the OSS process. You yourself have the option of notifying the authorities that you no longer want to use the One Stop Shop in the next tax period. This must be done by the end of the respective period. The authorities can also exclude you from the OSS if you have not generated any sales for more than two years and the company is no longer active.
In this case, you will also have to de-register yourself, as the registered company’s service provision has been discontinued. You also have to deregister if the prerequisites for participation no longer apply in all EU member states, or if they no longer apply in Germany and you sign up for the OSS in another EU country. The deregistration must then be done again via the online portal of the Federal Central Tax Office (BOP) and submitted no later than the 10th day of the month following the change in the situation.
Singing up for the One Stop Shop is worthwhile for these online sellers
Now that it is clear how the sign-up process for the One Stop Shop works, the question arises for many online retailers whether the OSS is worthwhile. All distance sellers should note that an OSS registration automatically leads to the waiver of the delivery threshold regulation.
For small entrepreneurs who only have low sales outside Germany, for example small manufacturers, signing up for the One Stop Shop is therefore usually not worthwhile. The same applies to Amazon FBA dealers or other online sellers who participate in fulfillment programs. Because a delivery of goods abroad still means that dealers in the warehouse countries have to register for VAT and submit separate VAT returns. If you store your goods in Germany, Italy and France, then you also have to apply for a VAT registration in Germany, Italy and France
However, it is worth signing up for OSS for online retailers and distance sellers who only store in Germany and send goods from there with a total turnover of more than € 10,000. In this case, signing up for the One-Stop-Shop saves a lot of administrative effort.
Still not sure whether OSS is right for you and your online business? Do not worry! The hellotax team can assist you with this decision. We can also help you signing up for the One Stop Shop and turn in OSS reports or take care of your VAT registrations and filings in a variety of European countries if you use fulfillment programs or decide against the OSS. Contact us today!
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