When you send money from Germany to people living, working or travelling in other countries, you might see a note about a reporting obligation to the AWV. You may also notice it when receiving money in Germany from overseas – wherever the funds come from and however they arrive.
The AWV obligation to report can seem confusing at first. The good news is that it only applies to large money transfers so, in many instances, there’s little to worry about.
But if it applies to your transfer, it’s vital to understand and comply with the rules – whether you’re sending or receiving money.
To clear up any confusion and help you observe the AWV reporting obligation correctly, we’ve put together this helpful guide.
In this article
- What is the AWV reporting obligation?
- Who must declare and what payments need to be declared?
- How and when to declare the AWV to the Deutsche Bundesbank
- What information is needed to complete the declaration?
- What is the penalty for not declaring AWV?
Foreign Trade Ordinance (AWV) stipulates a reporting obligation for international money transfers made to and from Germany above €12,500.
Section 67 of this regulation, in conjunction with section 11 of the Foreign Trade and Payments Act (AWG), regulates the obligation. All reports must be made to the Deutsche Bundesbank.
The Deutsche Bundesbank uses this data to record the flow of capital in Germany to and from overseas countries in foreign trade statistics. It regularly publishes payment balances from such recorded data. This provides agencies and other associations responsible for economic and monetary policy in Germany with reliable information.
If you make or receive an international money transfer of more than €12,500 in Germany (or the equivalent in another currency), you must observe the AWV reporting obligation.
This applies to all residents in Germany – including those who have their habitual residence, domicile or company headquarters in the country.
The reporting obligation for AWV also covers the receipt of money from residents in Germany from the account of non-residents. Plus, if you’re sending money to German residents to the account of non-residents.
You need to declare money transfers above €12,500 to Deutsche Bundesbank for a variety of payment types, including:
- Money transfers in euros (EUR) or other currencies
- Cash payments
- Direct debits
- Set-offs and settlements
- Contribution of property and rights to companies, branches and permanent establishments
Even when making payments to your own account, the AWV obligation to report for international transfers may apply.
To avoid an AWV obligation to report penalties or delays to the process, it’s important you know when and how to report to the Deutsche Bundesbank. Whether you’re sending or receiving money from abroad, understand the AWV obligation to report and learn how to report with these important steps.
Deadline for declaration
Under the AWV there is a reporting deadline of up to the seventh calendar day in the month after the international money transfer was made. This is known as the Z4 notification. The length of time you have to declare varies depending on the date you send or receive the money transfer.
- You send money to France on June 20th
- The deadline to report is July 7th
How to contact the Deutsche Bundesbank
There are two main ways to report an international money transfer to the Deutsche Bundesbank, depending on who sends or receives the money.
- Call the Bundesbank reporting hotline on (0800) 1234-111
- This is free and open 9am to 3pm on weekdays
- To report from abroad or without a landline you can call +49 6131 377 4790
- File an electronic report online via the Bundesbank reporting portal
- Upload XML or CSV files to submit several reports at once
You can also send an email as an individual or company of your completed Z4 report to: email@example.com
Exceptions for AWV reporting
As well as any money transfers below €12,500 (or other currency equivalents), there are other exceptions where you do not have to observe the AWV reporting obligation. This includes:
- Goods import proceeds
- Payments received for exported goods
- Loans and deposits with a maturity of less than 12 months
- Receiving a pension from abroad
- Paying a subscription to a foreign provider
Most banks usually include the wording ‘Observe the AWV reporting obligation’ on a physical or online bank statement – even for money transfers exempt from the regulation.
However, the account holder is responsible for reporting any incoming or outgoing international money transfers above €12,500. The bank is not liable for declaring these. Therefore, you may have to check yourself whether a money transfer you or your company makes or receives is subject to the AWV obligation to report.
Whether you choose to make a declaration over the phone, via the online portal or by email, you need to provide the same information. Any errors could cause a delay, so checking spellings and numbers are accurate is important.
When making a declaration as an individual or company, you must include the:
- Full name of yourself or your company
- Country of origin (receiving) or destination country (sending)
- Purpose for the money transfer
- Amount of money
- Registration number
- Contact details
If you failed or forgot to report to the AWV by the deadline of the seventh calendar day of the following month (after the international money transfer was made), it is classed as an administrative offence. The AWV obligation to report penalty for such an offence is a fine of up to €30,000.
Late, forgotten, incomplete or incorrect reports can all result in fines. Generally, you are unlikely to be granted an extension to the deadline. However, if you miss the deadline by accident, you should still report it immediately as you may be able to avoid a fine. Here, you need to include the month the money transfer occurred and not the month the report is submitted.
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