Reclaim your German VAT by 30 September 2012

If you went to Germany on a business trip or exhibited at a German trade fair in 2011, you can potentially save approximately 16 percent of your business expenses by claiming back the German VAT you incurred during the trip.

Since 2010, British businesses can submit their claims via an online system with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).  Applications can be filed directly via standardised forms and, in most cases, original invoices will not have to be provided.  Claims for 2011 have to be submitted to HMRC by 30 September 2012.

VAT may be claimed back on many products and services, such as hotel accommodation, training courses, expenses for conferences and exhibitions, meals and beverages, car rental and car fuel, parking, public transport and taxi fares. 

In order to qualify for the refund procedure, you must not be resident in Germany, or have a place of business or domicile in Germany, nor own property or maintain a branch in Germany.

Angelika Baumgarte, Deputy Director General of the German-British Chamber, explains: ‘The online procedure makes it easier for British companies to file their claims for refund of German VAT.  However, the claims will still be dealt with by the German tax authorities.  Therefore, any requests regarding further information and all correspondence will be in German.’

More information on reclaiming your German VAT can be obtained from the Tax Services Department of the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce.  The staff can also carry out the whole application process on behalf of your company: from preparing your application, to filing it online and responding to enquiries of the German tax authorities in German.

Contact them on 020 7976 4160 or email


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