Anyone who wants to sell their entire company or just part of it, such as the online shop, is often faced with the problem of not finding a suitable buyer in Germany. Many entrepreneurs solve this problem by selling to foreign buyers. Across the EU, such a purchase is linked to rules and standards based on fixed structures. But what is the legal situation if you want to sell to non-European countries such as Switzerland. How is the value added tax or sales tax paid? Which rules must be observed so that the invoice is recognized by the tax office? This article is intended to provide answers to these questions as well as information on procedural measures.

Legal situation

When marketing entire web companies or online shops in Switzerland or other non-EU third countries, there is no uniform legal situation, such as the European reverse charge agreement, as the tax and legal systems in the various countries differ greatly. Sellers are therefore required and obliged to inform themselves sufficiently about the legal situation of the respective country. Information in this area, e.g. on invoicing in third countries, is also provided by the German Chambers of Foreign Trade.

Value added tax or sales tax

The type of invoicing also depends entirely on the legal basis of the respective country in which the goods are sold. In principle, invoices are issued without sales tax, as the tax is calculated in the country in which the recipient of the service is based.

For sales to Switzerland, similar sales tax systems apply here as within the EU.


A German entrepreneur sells his webshop to a Swiss. The German entrepreneur does not show sales tax on the invoice, but the buyer reports the sales tax to his tax office in Switzerland and deducts it himself as input tax.


Small businesses are excluded from this regulation, as they are exempt from sales tax anyway. BUT: It should be noted that the thresholds for small business owners in the legal bases of the individual countries may vary.

Billing information

The respective regulations of the third country also apply to the invoice details. According to the German perspective, no special information is mandatory. Nevertheless, it is advisable to include a note on the invoice that the sale is non-taxable in Germany.

Sale to private individuals

The situation is different, however, when the sale is made to private individuals rather than to other companies. Then the German sales tax must be listed on the invoice. Regardless of whether the buyer is based in the EU or outside of it, such as Switzerland. Are you interested in selling yourself, but don’t know how and where?

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