According to the German Foreign Trade and Payments Regulation (Außenwirtschaftsverordnung, AWV), incoming or outgoing payments from abroad must be reported to the Deutsche Bundesbank.
What counts as incoming and what as outgoing payment?
“Incoming payments” refers to payments that someone accepts from another German person in the name (on account) of a foreign person. In the same way, “outgoing payments” also include payments that someone pays to a German person in the name of a foreign person.
Bank transfers must also be reported
The term “payments” is to be understood in a broad sense and includes in particular
- Cash payments
- Credit transfers (including incoming and outgoing payments by residents made through foreign financial institutions or clearing houses)
- Payments by direct debit, cheque and bill of exchange
- Charges arising from letters of credit and documentary collections (where these payments concern services, transfers or capital movements)
- Offsetting and clearing (also via current account or clearing houses)
- The transfer of property and rights to companies, branches and permanent establishments
Habitual residence is decisive
Whether someone is considered a “national” or a “foreigner” does not depend on nationality, but on the so-called residence principle, i.e. the place of residence or habitual residence. According to this principle, a foreigner is also a German citizen who has been living abroad for more than a year. Persons with foreign nationality who have lived in Germany for longer than a year are, on the other hand, to be considered “nationals”. In the case of legal persons, the place of administration applies.
Exemptions from the obligation to report to the Bundesbank
The notification requirement does not apply to:
- Payments that do not exceed the amount of EUR 12,500 or the equivalent in another currency
- Payments for the import, export or transfer of goods
- Payouts and repayments of loans and deposits with an original agreed maturity of up to and including 12 months
- Long-term lending activities of financial institutions with foreign countries
- Payments between foreigners received and forwarded by residents
Notification of foreign payment must be received within the time limit
The reporting period for the above-mentioned payments runs until the seventh calendar day after the end of the month in which the reportable payment was accepted or made. For payments related to securities and financial derivatives, the deadline is the fifth calendar day following the end of the reference month.
Where should the report be submitted?
The reports must be submitted to the Deutsche Bundesbank in electronic form. The Bundesbank offers various procedures. The simplest option is to use the General Statistics Reporting Portal (Allgemeines Meldeportal Statistik, AMS).
Fine of up to EUR 30,000 for non-compliance
Failure to submit a declaration or late submission of a declaration constitutes an administrative offence punishable by a fine of up to EUR 30,000. This also applies to negligent breaches of the obligation to report.
Our experts for foreign trade law will be pleased to assist you in the transfer of large sums of money. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions.
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