Meaning of Chain Transaction

If several entrepreneurs, at least two, conclude a sales transaction for the same delivery item, this is called a chain transaction.

Definition of chain transaction

The individual performance of the chain transaction takes place in that the delivery item is transported or sent directly from the first supplier to the last buyer.

This means that several deliveries are carried out with one movement of goods in a chain transaction. These deliveries must be checked for the place and time of delivery.
If only one of these conditions is missing, it is not a VAT chain transaction. Normally it is a moving delivery of goods, which you can find in § 3 Paragraph 1 UStG.

It is also not a chain transaction if the transport or dispatch of the delivery is carried out by more than one entrepreneur.

To make it a little clearer for you, here is a small example:

Max Steuer orders a table set from the furniture dealer Holz, the furniture dealer Holz orders the table set from the wholesaler Bein and gives him the order to deliver the table group directly to the customer Max Steuer.

Since the table group from the wholesaler Bein goes directly to the customer Max Steuer, it is a chain transaction within the meaning of Section 3 (6) sentence 5 UStG.
Several entrepreneurs are involved in this sales transaction and the table group goes directly from the wholesaler to the customer.

This happens quite often in practice and is therefore easy to understand. But it goes on.

In a chain transaction, there are just as many sales transactions as deliveries, but only one delivery is the moving delivery and thus the transport delivery. The remaining deliveries are called unmoved deliveries, which is very important for the VAT assessment.


Incorrect information in the sales tax return can quickly lead to a special sales tax check.

In the case of an export delivery as part of a chain transaction, for example, only the moved delivery can receive a tax exemption.

A distinction must be made between two deliveries:

For the transport or dispatch delivery, the place of delivery is where the movement of goods begins. (Section 3 (6) sentence 1 UStG)

For dormant deliveries, the place of delivery is where the transport or dispatch delivery ends (Section 3 (7) sentence 2 No. 2 UStG) and where the transport or dispatch delivery begins. (Section 3 Paragraph 7 Sentence 2 No. 1 UStG)

Which delivery is moving and which is stationary depends on which entrepreneur is moving the goods.

For our example this would mean:

The delivery follows the scheme: wholesaler Bein → furniture dealer wood → customer Max Steuer. Since furniture dealer wood is the first to move the goods, the delivery from wholesaler Bein to furniture dealer wood is the moving delivery. This is the place of delivery at wholesalers Bein.

The dormant delivery is from furniture dealer Holz to customer Max Steuer. This follows the 1st delivery and the place of delivery is where the delivery ends, for customer Max Steuer.

If the customer Max Steuer had picked up the table group from wholesaler Bein, the 1st delivery would be the stationary and the 2nd the moving one.

What is an intra-community triangular deal?

From the term it can be easily deduced that it is an intra-Community triangular transaction if three entrepreneurs who are based in different EU countries conclude a sales transaction for a delivery item.

You have to enter these intra-community triangular transactions in the ZM (summary report).

The intra-Community triangular transaction belongs to the chain transactions, but is subject to a simplification rule with regard to sales tax.

The requirements according to § 25b UStG

The supplier, the first and the second buyer (three entrepreneurs) conclude a sales transaction, whereby the delivery item is delivered directly from the supplier to the second buyer.
All three entrepreneurs are based in different EU member states.

The delivery item arrives from one EU member state to another EU member state.
The delivery item is delivered either by the supplier or by the first purchaser.


The French wholesaler (first buyer) orders wooden tables from a Polish joinery (supplier) and has them delivered directly to his Spanish furniture store (second buyer).

It is an intra-Community triangular deal when the French wholesaler picks up the goods from the Polish carpenter himself and then delivers it himself to his Spanish furniture store.

Chain Transaction