What is Value Added Tax (VAT)?
VAT is a "tax on the value added to a product at every stage of the manufacturing process, from raw materials to finished product. It is paid on every transaction, but eventually VAT is bearded by the final consumer and the role of businesses is to collect the VAT for the tax administration. The national tax systems of Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia allow for a refund of VAT to most non-resident business entities, worldwide. In some instances, registration for VAT is required by the local country law in order to get a refund. Registration must be done prior to the business event.
How does the VAT Refund work?
After registration, mail us your original paper invoices from Germany (copy or electronic invoice will not be accepted). We will prepare your application forms based on your invoices and e-mail them for your signature. Prepare the necessary documents (i) in accordance with the VAT refund law of the relevant country and (ii) in the primary language of such country if necessary and complete forms and send the application along with the Invoices to the relevant tax authorities.
Within six to nine months we will receive the refund from the concerned fiscal authorities. The refund, minus the applicable handling charge, will be paid to you.
Can a private person qualify for a VAT refund?
Non-EU resident tourists can, in most cases apply for a refund of the VAT paid on gifts and merchandise bought for export out of the country. The refund should be requested at the last port before departure from the EU. Tourists are not entitled to a refund of the VAT incurred on services, such as hotel and car rental. This refund opportunity is available to the company only.
What items are eligible for a VAT refund?
Typical Recoverable Expenses are:
Hotel and Transportation
Trade Shows and Conferences
Movie and TV Production
Inter-Company (travel, delegation, services and seminars)
Import VAT, Logistics, and Warranty Products
Drop-shipping, Installation and Maintenance Contracts
Telecom and Network Services
Professional Fees and Marketing
Research and Development
Is there a deadline for reclaiming VAT?
The refund process varies by country. Typically, for each country where VAT was charged and is refundable, businesses are entitled to file up to 4 VAT refund applications per year.
Can we use invoice copies?
No. Only original invoices are eligible for the VAT refund. Photocopies, faxed invoices or invoices which say "copy" on them cannot be refunded by the German tax authorities.
Can we use electronic invoices?
No. The German tax authorities require original paper invoices printed by the issuer to be eligible for the VAT refund.
How long does it take until we receive our VAT refund?
The German tax authorities usually take up to six to nine months to process an application after they receive it. Your refund will be paid out immediately after we receive it from Germany.