In margin number 5650 et seq. of their coalition agreement, the three parties SPD, Bündnis90/Die Grünen and FDP described their planned system of transactional tax reporting obligations as follows:
“We will continue to fight sales tax fraud. This path is to be intensified in cooperation with the states. As quickly as possible, we will introduce an electronic reporting system uniformly throughout Germany, which will be used for the creation, verification and forwarding of invoices. In this way, we will significantly reduce the susceptibility of our VAT system to fraud and at the same time modernize and reduce bureaucracy in the interface between the administration and businesses. We will advocate at EU level for a definitive VAT system (e.g. reverse charge).”
From a technical point of view, the comprehensive target “creation, verification and forwarding” of invoices is surprising. In terms of timing, it is noteworthy that the time specification “as quickly as possible” was chosen for the introduction of the planned electronic reporting system, which occurs only three times in total in the coalition agreement. It is therefore to be expected that consultations and preparatory work on this project, which is essential for all users of tax law – companies, consultants and the tax authorities – will begin soon. However, according to reports, the BMF does not intend to start with concrete legislative proposals until the EU Commission’s consultation process on the same topic, which has just begun, has been completed. There is therefore a possibility that a harmonized solution will be created at EU level, which would then also be implemented in Germany.
Against this background, IDSt has already prepared a petition on 23.12.2021 and sent it to the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF). Whether the planned electronic reporting system for invoices will be successful in economic terms depends on various factors. For companies, advances in efficiency are of central importance in this regard, while for the tax authorities, the focus is on direct access to transaction data and thus the creation of greater transparency. From IDSt’s point of view, the following points in particular should be noted: