Germany’s Ministry of Finance has imposed the obligation for annual balance sheet electronic filings, e-Bilanz from 2013. This covers the balance sheet submitted as part of income tax filings.
Read more about German VAT in our national guide.
German e-balance sheet
This requires all accounts and general ledgers to be mapped to the German tax authority’s taxonomy or schema of accounts which follows German generally accepted accounting principles. This applies to any taxpayer, incorporated or not, that must submit a balance sheet for income tax reporting. This includes non-residents – although a non-resident VAT registration alone does not trigger this requirement. They will be presented with particular implementation challenges since they may follow International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and not German GAAP.
The reporting format is eXtensible Business Reporting Language (XBRL). Most accounting software packages have now been adapted for the Germany e-balance sheet format.
The obligation started from 1 January 2012, although paper-based versions will still be accepted for 2012 financial reporting. Non-residents are mandated from 1 January 2015.
OECD’s Standard Audit File for Tax SAF-T
Whilst not as detailed as the Organisation for Economic Development’s SAF-T format, Germany’s e-balance sheet is a similar standard electronic format for the exchange of tax transactional data. Check which countries have implemented SAF-T.
Standard Audit File for Tax SAF-T countries
|Country (click for details)||Date||Scope|
|13||Ukraine||Jan 2025||Phased 2025 to 2027 implementation|
|12||Bulgaria||Jan 2025||Phased introduction over two years|
|11||Denmark||2024?||Phased implementation from 2024|
|10||Romania||Jan 2022||Mandatory monthly filings initially large taxpayers (due Jan 2023)|
|9||EU OSS & IOSS||Jul 2021||On-demand for sellers, marketplaces or Intermediaries|
|8||Norway||2020||Replaced VAT return 2022|
|6||Lithuania||2019||On-demand; residents and non-residents above €30,000 sales threshold|
|5||Poland||2016||Mandatory, monthly replaced VAT return Oct 2020|
|1||Portugal||2009||Monthly for residents and non-residents (Jun 2022)|