🇩🇪 Tax Free in Germany: The Complete Guide
Germany, a country celebrated for its rich history, vibrant culture, and technological advancements, also offers a unique shopping experience for non-EU residents. This guide provides a comprehensive overview of tax-free shopping in Germany, ensuring visitors can enjoy the benefits of VAT refunds on their purchases.
Germany Tax Free Rules
VAT Rate in Germany
Germany's standard VAT rate is 19%, with certain essential goods having a reduced rate of 7%. This tax is included in the price of most items and services purchased in the country.
Who Can Shop Tax Free in Germany
Tax-free shopping in Germany is available to non-EU residents. This initiative is aimed at encouraging shopping by international visitors, making it more attractive for tourists to buy goods.
Minimum Amount Per Receipt
To be eligible for a VAT refund in Germany, your purchases need to total at least €50 in a single transaction. This threshold is set to ensure that the tax-free process is utilized for significant purchases.
How Long Until Refund Expiry
Purchased goods must be exported out of the EU within three months of purchase. This period allows tourists enough time to complete their shopping and the subsequent refund process.
How to shop tax free in Germany: A step by step guide for tourists
At the Store :
Request tax-free shopping when making a purchase. Show your passport or inform the retailer of your non-EU residency.
Look for stores displaying a tax-free shopping sign or confirm with the store before making your purchase.
Before Departure :
Complete any necessary refund forms or steps before your departure day.Keep your receipts and pack your purchased goods in an easily accessible place for customs inspection.
With Pie VAT: you will use our app instead of manually filling out numerous forms!
When you depart Germany
Departing Germany Before departing the European Union from Germany, make sure to complete all necessary tax-free forms.When you're at your point of departure, such as an airport or border crossing, find the Customs office to get your tax-free purchases validated.
Receiving Your Refund Once approved by Customs, visit the tax-free operator's office with your stamped forms.Refunds are typically returned to a credit card, bank account, or e-wallet within a few weeks.
With Pie VAT: after you obtain the stamp, just upload a photo of it to the app - simple!
Germany Tax Free Tips
Look for Tax Free Shopping Signage in Germany:
In Germany, stores that offer tax-free shopping typically indicate their participation by displaying "Tax Free Shopping" signs. These signs might appear as stickers on the store's windows or doors. Additionally, you may find small tax-free indicators or displays on the counters within the store, helping shoppers easily identify the tax-free shopping option.
Keep your receipts:
In Germany, it is crucial to retain all your receipts from tax-free purchases. These receipts are essential when seeking a Customs stamp for tax refund verification. Without them, there's a high likelihood that your request for a stamp, and consequently the tax refund, could be denied.
For example, if you purchase a traditional Bavarian cuckoo clock in Munich or a high-quality camera in Berlin, make sure to keep the respective receipts safe. These receipts should clearly detail your purchase and the VAT paid. When you approach the Customs office, typically located at airports or border crossings, present these receipts along with the purchased items. The officials will use the receipts to verify the purchase and eligibility for a VAT refund.
Remember, the receipts are your proof of purchase and are indispensable for the tax refund process in Germany. It's a good practice to keep them organized and readily accessible, especially as you prepare for your departure from the EU.
Time it right:
Sometimes it may take a bit of time at the airport to find the Customs and obtain the required Customs stamp. There may be lines as well, so please plan ahead.
In Germany, when seeking the Customs stamp for export verification, you might need to present the items you've bought. It's important to visit the Customs before checking in your luggage, ensuring that your purchased goods are packed where they can be easily accessed. After obtaining the stamp, you'll have the chance to rearrange or repack your items as needed.
Don't be shy to ask for help.
Our in-app customer support team is available 24/7 to help answer any questions about your claim, required documents, eligible purchases, or anything else!