Complex procedural regulations, a large number of written tax statutes (Steuergesetze) and of course the German language are often seen as barriers by foreign businesses trading in Germany.
German tax rules differ substantially from tax rules in many other countries. However, the Tax Services Department of the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce assists businesses; to comply with their VAT obligations in Germany, to reclaim German VAT. We provide numerous leaflets on practical VAT topics and our bilingual members of staff are happy to respond to your questions.
German VAT returns
Mehrwertsteuer (VAT) is charged on most goods and services that businesses provide in Germany. It is essential that businesses comply with German VAT requirements which can be complex and often very different to the rules in other countries. Any mistake can lead to financial penalties and interest charges by the German tax office.
Examples of supplies carried out in Germany where German VAT may have to be charged by a business include:
- supplies carried out by international exhibition organisers in Germany
- supplies of goods to customers in Germany which have been purchased or stored in Germany before the supply
- distance sales from another country to customers in Germany
- coach transport in Germany
Our Tax Services Department can assist your business with the VAT registration process and the preparation of the German VAT returns. Our bilingual professionals ensure an efficient and timely service.
Reclaim of German VAT
A large number of businesses are not aware that they are entitled to reclaim VAT in other EU member states without being registered for VAT there.
If you are a business registered for VAT in the UK you can use the VAT refund scheme to reclaim VAT paid in Germany given you fulfil certain criteria.
VAT incurred on the following expenses can be reclaimed:
exhibition expenses and conference costs
hotel accommodation and subsistence
car rental, car fuel, parking, taxi fares and public transport
The VAT refund procedure is time-consuming, and language barriers as well as continually changing VAT legislation can make it difficult to obtain a refund. Our Tax Services Department can assist your business with the application for refund of German VAT.
Our bilingual staff members also correspond with the German tax office or with German suppliers to obtain a refund of VAT, saving your company time and money.
A list of our members in the tax field can be found here