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Zusammenfassende Meldung: What is it and who has to do it?

Written by Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer
Updated on
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Anyone who has clients or customers in other EU member states beyond their national borders can make use of the Reverse Charge Procedure, meaning the VAT burden shifts from the invoicing party to the invoice recipient, who must now pay tax on the purchase of the goods or services in their home country. So when you send an invoice outside of your EU country, your client needs to take care of paying VAT.

However, to ensure that these transactions remain traceable for the authorities of the two EU countries involved, you must submit a recapitulative statement to your Finanzamt (tax office) for these so-called intra-community deliveries. This statement is called ‘Zusammenfassende Meldung’ in Germany.

VAT within the EU

A brief sidenote first: If you work with clients who are based in another EU country, you need a Umsatzsteueridentifikationsnummer (VAT identification number). As the word is very long, the common abbreviation for the VAT identification number is VAT ID. You must state this on your invoices instead of your Steuernummer (tax number). This number can also be used by the relevant authorities to trace transactions across German borders. The VAT ID is used to uniquely identify a company within the EU.

As soon as you supply a service or goods to a client or customer in another EU country, the VAT burden also shifts to the recipient. This means that you do not have to state VAT on your invoice. This procedure is known as Reverse Charge and must also be noted as such on the invoice. The invoice recipient has now to pay tax on the service or goods received in their home country.

➡️ Find out what else you need to know when invoicing international clients.

What is the Zusammenfassende Meldung (ZM)?

For the responsible authorities to be able to track such transactions, which are labelled as intra-community supplies, you must report this type of trade to your own Finanzamt. You do this firstly in your regular advance VAT return (Umsatzsteuer-Voranmeldung) under point 3 – ‘supplies and other services’ (tax-free transactions).

On the other hand, you must submit a so-called Zusammenfassende Meldung. In this form, you again list all the intra-community supplies you made, but this time not in a total amount, but rather in individual items, broken down by clients. In order to do this, you need the respective VAT ID of your suppliers or clients.

💡Tip from Accountable: Does is sound process sound intimidating? No worries, with the Accountable tax software, the ZM is automatically created for you and you can send it directly to your Finanzamt! Test it for free!

Zusammenfassende Meldung: What data is requested?

Firstly, a few general details about your company are mandatory. This includes your address and your VAT ID.

Next up, you have to list the intra-community deliveries that you made. To do this, you enter your client’s VAT ID, as well as the sum of the services provided and the type of service. That’s it already! Now you can check your entries and, if everything is correct, send them directly to your local Finanzamt.

What happens if I forget to submit the Zusammenfassende Meldung?

The deadline for the Zusammenfassende Meldung is the 25th day after the end of the reporting period. For example, you have to submit your VAT return for the first quarter (January to March) by 10 April at the latest. In that case, you must then have submitted the Zusammenfassende Meldung for this period by 25 April.

In theory, if you fail to submit the form, it could get expensive for you: A late submission can cost you up to €2,500. And if you still fail to comply with the separate request to submit the ZM, you can expect to pay a penalty of up to €25,000. However, usually the Finanzamt is quite generous and if you explain your situation, you might be granted an extended deadline.

Also, you don’t have to worry, as forgetting to submit the Zusammenfassende Meldung is not that easy. When you use ELSTER to submit your VAT return, it will automatically remind you to submit your Zusammenfassende Meldung. Also, if you use Accountable, it will generate the Zusammenfassende Meldung for you and you’ll see a reminder in your tax screen.

Summary declaration dates 2024

Q1: 25 April 2024
Q2: 25 July 2024
Q3: 25 October 2024
Q4: 25 January 2025

💡Accountable is the tax software for all self-employed professionals in Germany. You can submit all tax returns, including your income tax return directly via the app. You also get personal support by our Tax Coaches and our unique AI Assitant! Try it now for free!

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How to submit the VAT return

Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer
Sophia Merzbach, creative writer and content producer

Sophia loves literature and writing. She's happy to have joined the Accountable team and is becoming a pro on all things tax related.
In her free time you will find her in a boulder gym, studying Italian or discovering the streets of her new hometown Berlin.

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