If you make distance sales from an inventory in Germany to B2C consumers in other EU countries (example: sell from Germany to another EU country), and do not already have a VAT registration in the ship-to country, you are required to charge German VAT. In these circumstances you must charge and account for VAT using the same method as for domestic sales (see above section). Please note that you must always issue a German VAT compliant invoice for distance sales from Germany which are subject to German VAT.
However, if you exceed the distance selling threshold in another EU country you will be required to register for VAT in that country. This means you should no longer charge German VAT on these types of sales into that country, instead you should charge the VAT of the ship-to country. For example, if you store goods in Germany and start selling those goods to B2C consumers in France you must charge German VAT. As soon as it is clear you will exceed the distance selling threshold in France you must submit a French VAT registration application to the French tax authorities and you will be required to charge French VAT on B2C sales to France (i.e. issue French VAT invoices and submit French VAT returns).
Under distance selling, you can also opt to tax your sales in the ship-to country (before you exceed the distance selling threshold). As soon as such option has been made, VAT of the destination country needs to be collected (instead of German VAT) and that country’s invoice requirements will apply.
If you store goods in the consumer’s EU country prior to the sale this is not considered to be distance selling. For example, if you sell to French consumers and supply those consumers with goods which are already stored in France you will be making a domestic sale in France and will need to consider your VAT registration position in France.