Skip to content

You are here:

Refunds of German VAT for 2019 – Pay attention to deadlines

Businesses based in a foreign country and that themselves do not owe any VAT here in Germany can have the VAT that they have paid in Germany reimbursed via the so-called input tax refund procedure at the Federal Central Tax Office [Bundeszentralamt für Steuern, BZSt].

The BZSt has pointed out that businesses based in a third territory would normally have had to apply for the refund for the 2019 calendar year by 30.6.2020. During that period (normally) the electronic application for an input tax refund and the original invoices as well as import documents would have had to have been provided. In a press release from 14.5.2020, in view of the coronavirus pandemic the BZSt published rules in relation to a loosened deadline. Under these rules the following applies.

  • If the normal deadline has lapsed then businesses should nevertheless submit their application documents as soon as possible to the BZSt.
  • In applications that arrive between 1.7.2020 and 30.9.2020, businesses should give reasons as to why the application deadline could not be complied with. It can be assumed that justifications that are specifically linked to the coronavirus crisis will be accepted by the BZSt.
  • If the application still has not been submitted by 30.9.2020 then the business should submit the application documents within at least one month following the elimination of the obstacle to the filing of the application. Moreover, the business should provide significant reasons as to why the application deadline could not be complied with.

Please note: Applications for input tax refunds have to be filed electronically via the BZSt online portal. Before the portal can be used the business has to register as a user with the BZSt and then it will be able to access the portal using the login data that it receives. Due to longer postal delivery times when the login data are sent abroad, in particular, it could be a number of weeks or even months before the registration process is completed. Businesses should thus register on the portal in good time.

Back to top of page