Tax Refund Process in Germany
In Germany the VAT tax rate for most of the products is 19%. For a small number of products like books, health products and food the tax rate is 7%. The tax rate will be shown on the invoice.
Let’s take a pan from a well-known German brand as an example: the purchase price (119 Euros) is the result of the net price (100 Euros) plus the value added tax (100×19%). With TAX FREE EASY you can therefore receive a refund of 19 Euros which is equivalent to a discount of 16%!
If you wish to receive a tax refund you just have to fulfill the following conditions:
The buyer must not be a European citizen and must not visit Europe for more than 3 months. After completing the purchase, you yourself have to export the purchased goods out of the EU within three months (no later than the last day of the third month after the purchase).
The nationality does not have a direct impact on the eligibility for a tax refund, but rather the location of the residence permit.
For example, a Chinese citizen who has lived in Germany for a long time is not eligible for a tax refund. A German citizen who has no lived in Germany for a long time (but in China for example) is also eligible for a tax refund when leaving Germany.
What kind of regulations apply for tax refund products?
1）The tax refund for services, vehicles and their components (e.g. train tickets bought in Germany, invoices for dining or drinking, bumpers, rearview mirror or fuel) is not possible. The VAT for all other products can be refunded.
2）The purchased goods have to stay unopened and must be taken out of the country within three months of purchase (no later than the last day of the third month after the purchase month).
3）The goods have to be taken along in the tourist’s luggage (hand luggage or checked-in luggage). The reason for this is that goods which were purchased abroad and were then sent by post or intermediary agencies are eligible for a tax refund.
Remember: You are eligible for a refund if you purchased the goods yourself, left them unopened and carried them with you in your luggage back to China.
Three Easy Steps With TAX FREE EASY:
- Receive the tax refund form
When you pay for your purchase at the store, please receive the TFE tax refund form. Make sure that your personal information on the form are correct and sign the form on the designated line.Please check if all invoices have been stapled or glued onto the back of the TFE tax refund form. Sending a valid invoice together with the tax refund form is a necessary precondition for receiving a tax refund.Name, nationality and passport number are the necessary information on the form. If you fill in your mobile number, we can contact you immediately in case there is a problem with your refund documents.
- Obtain the customs stamp
When you leave the country, please plan in enough time to go to the customs counter and receive a customs stamp on the refund form – we don’t want your trip to be delayed! According to the regulations, the customs officers are entitled to examine the purchased good. Therefore, please don’t check the luggage in before you visit the customs counter. Please present your tax refund form, together with your valid shopping receipts, passport and relevant purchased goods at the customs service counter upon departure. Please note that a tax refund form with unclear or invalid customs stamp cannot be refunded.
- Send the tax refund form
After the TAX FREE EASY tax return from was stamped by the customs staff, you can place the completed tax refund form together with the purchase receipts into the prepaid envelope and seal it. Please then follow the instructions on the envelope and either drop it into an ordinary mailbox at the airport or return it by mail after being back at your residence. All related costs will be borne by us.
- Customs stamp necessary
For receiving a tax refund, it is mandatory that the refund form has a customs stamp.
Note: If the customs counter is not open because it is too early or too late, please do not worry. There will always be a notice with contact information. You can contact the officer on duty and they will process your tax refund form.
- Original invoice needed
The original invoice must be attached to the tax refund form when sending the documents to our datacenter. In order to receive a tax refund, a valid and original invoice is a precondition. After having received the customs stamp, please don’t tear the invoice off the tax refund form.
- Products must stay unopened
In principle, at the customs counter, the customs officer will check if the product is intact and unopened. This is the case for any product, also food, medicine, candy etc. If the product has already been used or is open, the customs officer will refuse to place a customs stamp on the refund form. Without a valid customs stamp, you are not entitled to receive a tax refund.