„ClearVAT offers a highly innovative clearing solution based on an interdisciplinary approach to tax and commercial law.“
… This is the statement of the jury. And further: “It enables the approximately one million e-commerce companies in Europe to sell their goods within the member states, considering the value added tax applicable in the destination country. This unique service provides more tax security for cross-border online trade within the EU.
With the German Innovation Award, the German Design Council honours trend-setting innovations that have a lasting effect and offer added value for the user. “Online trade is booming, especially cross-border. Our products enable merchants to access the single European market,” notes ClearVAT founder and CEO Roman Maria Koidl. The ClearVAT VAT engine has more than 450,000 European VAT rates and 7,000 exemptions at the heart of the system: “The online retailer installs our plug-in directly in his shop, can compare his products with our VAT engine and sell them immediately throughout the EU with the applicable VAT rate. ClearVAT reports and collects the VAT at the tax office in the destination country. In addition, we exempt traders from registration obligations and, above all, from the risk of a tax audit abroad,” says Koidl, explaining ClearVAT’s innovative performance. The VAT machine was developed with the tax consultancy Deloitte and certified by SAP and the auditing company BDO.
“When I founded an online art trade in 2014/2015, I suddenly had to deal with European VAT law. At that time, I couldn’t find a service provider in Europe who could help me with this bureaucratic burden. That gave me the idea of founding ClearVAT,” recalls Roman Maria Koidl. ClearVAT benefits from its experience and needs as an online trader in Europe. We now have 30 employees in Berlin, Constance, and Munich. The user’s perspective also influences the assessment at the German Innovation Award.
How does the German Design Council judge?
“The focus of evaluating the submitted innovations is the user perspective. It is the distinguishing feature of the German Innovation Award,” explains Lutz Dietzold, Managing Director of the German Design Council. “Many companies have recognized this and are using appropriate methods to identify real customer needs and develop economically relevant products based on these needs”.
„The evaluation of the submitted innovations focuses on user-centricity, which is the differentiating feature of the German Innovation Award.“
The German Innovation Award is awarded in two competition classes: Excellence in Business to Consumer and Excellence in Business to Business. In addition, a winner was selected in the additional category of “Design Thinking”. The evaluation criteria of the German Innovation Award cover topics such as the level of innovation, user benefit and economic efficiency. The innovation strategy should consider social, ecological, and economic sustainability and energy use and resources. Factors such as location and employment potential, durability, market maturity, technical quality and function, materiality and synergy effects also play a decisive role in the judging process. The winners were chosen by a top-class jury – including physicists, patent consultants, computer scientists, financing specialists, product designers, technology historians and marketeers. “In this way, we guarantee an individual, neutral and professional evaluation,” emphasizes Dietzold.
In 2019 ClearVAT won the eco://award in the Innovation/Digital Business Models category. The ecoVerband, the Internet industry association, praised the simple and reliable solution to the bureaucratic-political problem of correct VAT collection.