German American Chamber of Commerce

Subject: Re: Input VAT refund to foreign entrepreneurs, January 3 2014

Federal Central Tax Office
Department ST I 7
Passower Chaussee 3b
16303 Schwedt/Oder


Dear Sir or Madam,

In various ways the legal department of the New York based German American Chambers of Commerce supports enterprises in handling transactions between Germany and the US. For example, we support foreign entrepreneurs, who receive supplies or other services on behalf of their company in Germany, in terms of VAT refunds by way of the input VAT recovery process.

We represent the International VAT Association (URL: ), founded in 1993 and a globally leading lobby group of enterprises involved in international tax matters. The IVA provides enterprises and VAT agents with a forum for discussion on legislation and the practice of tax law. In so far, the IVA would like to approach your office with regards to the following fiscal concern:

As of 01.01.2010, input VAT recovery for foreign, non-EU entrepreneurs has been regulated by article 18 IX UStG in conjunction with article 61a IV UStDV, dated 19.12.2008. According to the indicated law, the foreign entrepreneurs are obliged to show the relevant German authority that they are tax registered entrepreneurs (tax number) by way of an official certificate issued by their state of residence. This means for US enterprises that, apart from the US TAX Form 6166 issued by the International Revenue Service (IRS), they are required to also submit proof of address.

As a result, the IVA maintains, US enterprises often do not retrieve VAT refunds they are entitled to, dreading the additional administrative effort required, or at least they suffer considerable delays.

According to the IVA’s opinion, the German authority’s practice is unreasonable, especially in view of the remaining EU states considering the US TAX From 6166 sufficient for the VAT recovery process.

Furthermore, the IVA maintains, the BZSt is obliged to accept official certification issued by the US finance authorities (IRS) on grounds of the mutual tax agreement.

The IVA asks you to comment on this matter. Please feel free to address your statement to us.


Best regards from New York


Susanne Gellert, LL.M.
Attorney at Law
Head of Legal Department

German American Chamber of Commerce, Inc.
75 Board Street, Floor 21
New York, NY10004
Tel.: + 1 212  974 8830 / Fax: +1 212 974 8867 /


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