You would like to visit Germany and purchase souvenirs? Under certain circumstances the value-added tax you paid can be refunded to you.
All goods purchased in Germany are subject to a value-added tax (VAT) of 19%. The VAT can be refunded if the merchandise is purchased and exported by a customer whose residence is outside the European Union. Please note that in order to qualify for tax-refund the merchandise has to be exported within three months of purchase.
What do I have to do in order to be eligible for VAT refund?
1. Before you purchase any goods in Germany you should inform the retailer that you wish to export the goods to Canada. Ask whether the company is willing to offer VAT refund. With your receipt you will receive a so-called “Ausfuhrbescheinigung” (export papers) or an application form, if a private service provider is handling the VAT refund for the retailer.
2. When leaving Germany the purchased goods have to be presented together with the export papers and your passport showing residence outside the EU to the customs service at the airport. The export papers will be stamped after the goods have been examined. As you have to present the goods please make sure that you complete the customs formalities before check-in.
3. After having returned to Canada the stamped export paper should be sent back to the store in Germany where the merchandise was purchased. In the case of some private VAT refund providers you may be able to obtain a cash refund if they have an office at the airport. If you used an application form by a private VAT refund provider please submit it to the address mentioned on the form.
Certification by the German Foreign Missions in exceptional cases only
You visited Germany and purchased souvenirs but did not obtain an export certification at the customs office? Only in exceptional cases a certification by the competent German Foreign Mission is possible. A plausible explanation has to be given why it was not possible to receive the export stamp at the port of departure from Germany.
The German Foreign Mission can only certify the export of goods if the following conditions apply:
• The goods were purchased in Germany and no other EU member state
• you reside in Canada and you are not a permanent resident of Germany
• the goods have been exported in the personal luggage of the buyer
• you left Germany less than 3 months after purchasing the relevant goods
• you were unable to obtain an export certification at the port of departure for reasons that are not your fault
• the goods are intended for private, non-commercial use
In addition, you must present the following:
• the exported goods in their original packaging (unused/unworn and with price tags)
• filled out and signed application form (please see download link below)
• original receipt and export papers issued to you by the vendor
• flight ticket in your name which serves as proof for the time of export
• passport together with proof of your permanent residency in Canada (i.e. Canadian drivers licence)
There is a fee of approx. C$ 37,- (equivalent of 25,- €) for each individual export paper. Please note that the fee is not refundable to you by German tax authorities.
Please note that the certification can only be issued for goods purchased in Germany (for goods purchased in other EU member states please consult the respective consulate).