Elster tax Germany

When you apply for your German VAT number, the German steuernummer, you will receive useful tips for Elster: the portal where you file your tax return in Germany. Here you can read the translation of the useful tips for Elster tax Germany that are attached when you apply for your German VAT number.


In Germany, sales tax returns and input tax returns must be filed electronically. For this purpose, the German tax authorities provide the application Elster (electronic tax return). Elster is a web application found on the website www.elster.de.

The web application is recommended for future use, as it can be used with all common operating systems and also with a tablet or smartphone.
A certificate file is required to use the Elster application. Among other things, this has the function of an electronic signature for financial administration forms and allows purely electronic transmission.

To create a certificate file, you must first create a user account at www.elster.de.

Note: If your address has changed recently, you must notify the IRS in writing or by email prior to enrollment. A new registration may not be performed until 2 days after the address is confirmed.

Instructions for successful registration

– You can request a certificate file from Elster’s website.
– On the home page, you must first click on “Create User Account.”
– To get to registration, click “Next” twice on the following pages. Next, you come to the login option selection.

We encourage you to register for a free certificate file. Once you click Select, you get to personalization. As a company, the option for an organization (employer, company, association) should be selected here. There you must enter the company name, the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and your tax number, the details of a contact person (for any discussions about your transmissions), a user name and a security question. Once you have completed these fields and click Next, you must enter a so-called captcha code, which is visible in the form of letters in a field.

Once successfully entered, you can print out your security information and then send it in. After these are sent, you will receive an email confirming your application. Once this is done, you will receive another email with the first part of the activation code and within 2 weeks of signing up you will receive a letter with the required second part of the code, which will allow you to perform step 2 and step 3. You will get to step 2 via the link in the activation ID email.

When performing step 2, you must enter both codes so that the certificate file is saved on the computer, which is required for registration, and you can assign your own password. (Important: make a note of your password. If you forget your password, you will have to renew your user account, resulting in a new activation code and activation ID).

The certificate file should be located in your “Downloads” folder. The name consists of your username, the word elster, the current date and time you performed step 2. When you perform step 3, you must use the certificate file and your own password to log in for the first time so that registration is completed successfully. In the next step, the address must be entered once. Here you do not have to enter the country and select the state “Netherlands.” I recommend “Entrepreneur” as a user group. If it turns out that your password is incorrect, you can repeat step 2 as long as you did not log in for the first time.

If you have problems registering for electronic filing, please contact us immediately by phone or E-mail (service@fa-5116.fin-nrw.de) to report to the IRS.

Using Elsteronline after successful registration

After successfully logging in for the first time, you can log in to the Elster website.
Here, as in the implementation of step 3, the certificate file must be opened with the “Search” button and the PIN entered.

After you are on your homepage, you can access the forms on the left. The forms for advance VAT returns, sales tax returns, summaries and long-term extension/registration of the special advance can be found under All Forms in the Sales Tax area.

Tip #1: To make filling out forms for different tax numbers easier, create profiles. When you open the forms, you can access these tax profiles directly with the data for the tax number executed at registration are already stored as a separate profile.

Tip 2: If forms are not available at www.elster.de, find delivery dates under Forms & Services.

With Staxxer, we help e-commerce web shops with their international VAT returns.
Are you an e-commerce entrepreneur and have a question about German VAT returns? If so, please contact us at support@staxxer.com

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