Value added tax; application for a refund by travelers from a non-EU country
Travelers from a non-EU member state can make purchases in Germany free of VAT under certain conditions.
- You have your place of residence in a non-EU member state.
- Your place of residence is not Northern Ireland.
- You are not in possession of a residence permit that entitles you to stay in Germany for more than 3 months.
- Your purchase is retail goods. Services are excluded.
- The goods must enter the third country territory within three months after purchase.
- You export the goods in your personal luggage. Personal luggage includes only luggage that you carry with you when crossing the border. Luggage sent home by mail or by a forwarding agency is not considered personal luggage.
- The purchase must amount to at least EUR 50.01 (including VAT) per receipt.
Ask in the store for the form "Export and buyer certificate for VAT purposes for exports in non-commercial travel (§ 6 para. 3a UStG)" and have it filled out on the spot. Alternatively, you can print out the form yourself from the customs website and carry it with you during the purchase. Or you can use the cash or invoice receipt. This can be used instead of the previously mentioned form for presentation at the border customs office.
In the store
- If you use the form: Have the merchant fill it out and confirm it with his signature.
- Alternatively: use the cash or invoice receipt.
At the border customs office
- At check-in, inform your airline staff that you will need an export and buyer's receipt in order to be reimbursed for the sales tax on your purchases.
- The airline personnel will direct you to the appropriate border customs office with your luggage after you have cleared your luggage and attached the luggage tag.
- The customs personnel will confirm the export of your purchases on the form or the receipt/invoice. If your purchases are in your checked baggage, the baggage remains at customs and is forwarded from there to transport. If your purchases are in your hand luggage, you can take it with you to the cabin after check-in.
- With the export and buyer confirmation by customs, you can now have the sales tax refunded. There are 2 ways to do this:
- Back home, you send the export and buyer certificate to the dealer. The dealer will then refund the sales tax to you.
- Alternatively, you can contact a service company directly at the airport before departure, which will carry out the refund for you for a service fee.
Please note if you are transferring again within the European customs area:
- You must have goods in checked baggage confirmed by the customs office at the first departure airport.
- The export of items in hand luggage will be confirmed by customs at the last departure airport of the EU.
You will be refunded sales tax only if you export the goods before the end of the 3rd calendar month following the month of purchase.
You will usually receive the export confirmation from the responsible border customs office immediately.
- Proof of residence by means of personal documents (e.g. passport or identity card)
- Objection (in case of rejection of the confirmation)
- The objection must be filed with the main customs office in whose jurisdiction the border customs office that rejected the confirmation is located.
- Tax court action
Links to more information
Responsible for editing:Bundesministerium der Finanzen
- Online transactions, Bavaria-wide
- Online transactions, locally limited
- Form, Bavaria-wide
- Form, locally limited
- Prefillable Form, Bavaria-wide
- Legal bases, Bavaria-wide
- Legal bases, locally limited
- Fees, Bavaria-wide
- Fees, locally limited