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There are a lot of uncorrect rumours and misunderstandings concerning the refund process of german value added tax (VAT) for travelers. So we want to answer the most asked questions:

Its an individual agreement between seller and client!

The VAT-refund is an individual agreement between seller/shop and the client! The seller is not obliged to refund the VAT! The german customs authorities are just CONFIRMING the export of the bought goods at the export-forms of the seller/shop, but are not further involved in the VAT-refund-procedure!!

The seller however needs this evidence for being able to approve to the german tax-authorities that the goods were exported into non-EU-states physically by the client!

May only the german customs approve the export of my goods?

No. If, for example, an Ukrainian is driving by car to his residence in Ukraine – the export will be approved by Slovakian/Hungarian/polish-customs at the land border of EU!

Who may apply for refund of the VAT?

Only 2 kinds of persons!

A.germans with a residence OUTSIDE EU WITHOUT remaining residence in Germany!

B.foreigners with residence OUTSIDE EU WITHOUT PERMISSION TO STAY MORE THAN 3 MONTHS per year in Germany!! So, for example, an Ukrainian with one-year-study –visa is NOT ALLOWED TO GET VAT-REFUND!

May the VAT-refunds only be done by service-providers like f.e. “GlobalRefund”?

No. You may also agree with the seller/shop to get the refund directly there by sending the stamped export-confirmation by post or your representative!

Is it possible to refund VAT for all kinds of goods?

No! Just for goods, which you are exporting personally in your luggage! So, its not possible for goods, which you will send by post, logistic companies etc.! And – you have to export the goods till the END OF THE 3rd MONTH,WHICH FOLLOWS ON THE SALES DAY!

Also all spare parts or equipments of transport vehicles (car,motorcycle,boat,plane) ARE NOT  VAT-REFUNDABLE!

At least – IMPORTANT!

In principle you are obliged to import and to register the goods for VAT-taxing in your country of residence due to the local legislation!