Electronic submission of German advance VAT returns ("Elster-Verfahren")

Translators in Germany registered for VAT - which means the majority of them - are required to submit their advance VAT returns electronically, unless they obtain a dispensation to submit the returns in paper form as in the past. The "Elster" software made available by the German tax authorities initially supported Windows only. As reported here, Plaasoft Technologiesproduced a native Linux application (the "Plaasoft Formularmanager") that supports the Elster interface.

The German tax authorities have now made an online Java-based facility available which can be used for submission of the data and which is compatible with Linux (besides Windows and Mac OS X). This presumably explains why the Plaasoft Formularmanager has now been withdrawn. Besides the facility provided by the tax authorities themselves, other applications also still exist with the same functionality, however; one of them is Winston, a native Linux application.

For an excellent guide to completing your VAT returns, I recommend Per N. Döhler's excellent article (in German) on VAT for translators in Germany.