As early as 1 January 2020, all POS systems must have a technical safety equipment (TSE) – according to the text of the law. But at the end of 2019, the federal government already granted an extension until 30 September 2020. On their own initiative, several federal states have now initiated a further extension of the TSE deadline – this means that individual businesses can continue to operate cash registers without a TSE solution penalty-free until 31 March 2021. Important: The TSE deadline extension only applies under certain conditions, which we explain here.

Let us say this in advance: The extension is an additional respite for all those who, within the framework of the already extended legal deadline until the end of September, can prove that they are doing everything in their power to implement a TSE POS system solution in a timely manner. Those affected are restaurateurs, traders and also craft businesses. They all have a lot to deal with in 2020: The Corona pandemic has kept customers away, the changed VAT has caused additional work.

It is precisely in this situation that quite a few businesses probably ran into difficulties in complying with the TSE retrofitting obligation for POS systems in time – this is also the reason given by individual countries for their initiative to extend the deadline. Yet for a long while, there was also the question of which technical solutions would even be available by the specified deadline. Let us start by taking a brief look at the market for POS system hardware and software.

Stationary TSE Solutions Available, Cloud Solutions Scarce

The TSE obligation has caused a development push on the market for POS systems. Numerous certified solutions are now available for stationary POS systems. Via integrated or retrofittable TSE modules, all deposits and withdrawals are logged in encrypted form and thus stored in write-protected form for evaluation by the tax authorities. After all, this is what it is all about: all POS systems throughout Germany should be protected against manipulation by being able to clearly compare every receipt issued with a recorded transaction.

While there are already numerous TSE module solutions, certified TSE cloud systems are still scarce. This refers to solutions where the booking logs are not encrypted and stored on a locally installed data carrier, but in a cloud storage protected from unauthorised access. They can be exported there directly via a suitable data interface of the POS software and later retrieved by the auditing tax authorities.

TSE Deadline Extension: Goodwill Deadline of the Federal States for Timely Applicants

Initially, representatives of the federal states tried to persuade the German government to extend the deadline again – without success. The Federal Ministry of Finance continues to insist on a timely implementation by 30 September 2020. Therefore, several federal states have now decided on a kind of “grace period” within their own means. In this regard, finance ministries of various federal states have gradually published official statements over the past months.

For example, the letter of the “Bavarian State Ministry of Finance and Home Affairs” (StMFH) states the following conditions according to which a taxable cash operator can still remain exempt until 31 March 2021:

  • The business operator has demonstrably ordered or commissioned the required number of TSEs from a specialist POS system reseller or other service provider in a binding manner by 30 September, or
  • The installation of a cloud-based TSE is planned, but such a TSE is verifiably not yet available.

According to the letter, Bavarian businesses that meet these requirements do not have to submit a separate application to avoid penalties. Instead, the required evidence should be enclosed with the documentation on cash management. The tax offices in the Free State have been informed of this.

Other federal states have also issued supplementary transitional periods in this style, the majority phrasing the requirements very similarly to Bavaria. This makes it clear that the grace period granted by the states does not actually change the deadline set by the federal government, but protects businesses from negative consequences such as fines or prosecution by tax offices. But only provided that the orders for stationary solutions were demonstrably placed within the legal deadline of 30 September 2020.

TSE Deadline Extension Further Information and Background

You can read the text of the StMFH letter here. The “Gastgewerbe Magazin” has also compiled a useful overview of the regulations in the various federal states. Attention: The wording of the individual state tax offices differs in some details! We have compiled the detailed regulations of the underlying “Law for the Protection against Manipulation of Digital Basic Records” for you under the keyword Cash Act 2020.