How much is VAT in Germany?
The standard VAT rate in Germany is 19% and applies to most goods and services. The reduced rate is 7% and applies to some foodstuffs; books, cultural services, hotel accommodation, medical and dental care.
German zero-rated goods and services include intra-community and international transport. The sale of items in this category must still be reported on your VAT return, even though no VAT is charged.
What is a VAT rate?
VAT (value added tax) is a type of consumption tax. The German government applies it on the sale of goods and services.
VAT isn’t paid by businesses — instead, it’s charged to consumers in the price of goods, and collected by businesses, making it an indirect tax. Businesses are then responsible for reporting it to the government.
How to work out VAT in Germany.
Total price including VAT
To work out the total price at the standard rate of VAT (19%), multiply the original price by 1.19. For the reduced VAT rate (7%), multiply the original price by 1.07.
Total price excluding VAT
You can calculate the total price excluding the standard VAT rate (19%) by dividing the original price by 1.19. For the reduced VAT rate (7%), divide the original price by 1.07.
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How does VAT work?
VAT is collected at each point in the production of goods — every time value is added and a sale is made. This is what gives VAT its name — value-added tax. It’s designed to be paid by the consumer at the end. Here’s an example:
- A supplier sells a badminton racket to a shop for €120. They owe €20 VAT to the government.
- The shop pays €120 but can claim the €20 back from the government, so the shop doesn’t pay the VAT.
- The shop sells the racket to the customer for €220. The VAT is €44 which the customer, as the end-user, pays in full to the shop.
- Together with the reclaimable €20 VAT, the shop will end up paying €24 to the government.
Tax-free shopping - VAT for travellers.
So, you’ve done some shopping abroad, and paid a healthy amount of money for VAT. The good thing is you can often get the amount refunded once you’ve returned home.
For example, European Union residents can get a VAT refund on goods bought in Singapore from a retailer that offers tax-free shopping.
The conditions for a VAT refund are different in every country and should be checked according to your destination — there’s usually a minimum purchase amount, and some exceptions to be considered.
If you’re planning on visiting any of these countries, have a look at their rules for tax-free shopping. And if you’d like to save even more money, don’t miss out on the Wise travel money card, and spend in shops or online at the real exchange rate.
When you’ve visited Germany, you’ll be able to get a VAT refund on items bought if:
- You live outside the EU and are going back home.
- You’re an EU resident and are leaving the EU for 12 months or more.
- You’ve spent a minimum of 25€ (30€ for books) in any tax-free store the same day.
There are multiple ways of receiving the refund — either get paid immediately at a refund booth at the airport or send the approved form to a refund company.
How to get a VAT refund in 3 simple steps?
Get a Tax Refund Application Form from the retailer. You might also be asked to show your passport to check that you’re eligible.
At customs, present your passport, VAT form(s), VAT invoice(s) and the tax-free goods.
If all the criteria is met, customs will approve your form. You’ll get a signed form that allows you to receive the refund.