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Kurfürstendamm: Shopping in Berlin
Shopping at Kurfürstendamm © visitBerlin, Foto: Dagmar Schwelle

VAT / TAX-free Shopping

If you are visiting Berlin on holiday from a country outside the European Union, you are entitled to a refund of the VAT paid on purchases made in Germany during your stay here. This regulation applies to everything that you buy here for your private use. One exception is parts for your car or other means of transport. In Germany, the standard VAT rate is 19% of the net price. It is normally included in the price shown on the shelf/price tag, but will usually be listed separately on your receipt. All beverages, except milk and bottled water, are also taxed at the standard VAT rate. Products used on a daily basis such as books, newspapers, and food as well as art are taxed at the reduced rate of 7%.

How Tax Free Shopping works

When buying something that you plan to export, ask for the tax free form from the service provider cooperating with the merchant. Keep this and the original receipt. When it’s time to leave, present the completed tax-free forms and your receipts to customs at the airport so that they can confirm that you are exporting the goods. The purchased goods must be taken out of the EU within three months of purchase to be eligible for a VAT refund. There are several ways to get your refund. You could have it disbursed in cash at the counters run by the tax free service provider or one of its partners. Or you could have it credited back to your credit card. For both options, you should be aware that the tax free service will deduct a service fee and also perhaps a fee for cash disbursement. For more information about tax free shopping and an overview of where to obtain your refunds in Germany, go to the website of Premier Tax Free. Or contact us at