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  #21  
Old 26.10.2011, 01:04
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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Almost right
No, completely right. EU residents cannot get VAT back in the EU. That's why you need to prove your residence. Not sure why you are arguing that with me???
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  #22  
Old 26.10.2011, 10:59
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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I should have left Germany with the next train, he said.
and that I shouldn't head back directly from the customs office to the shops. Actually I was told that the shops are not allowed to pay the VAT back on the purchasing day.

(
WOW! I didn't know there's such a rule. Do let us know what happens, if the German court really does serve you a fine and/or a record.
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  #23  
Old 26.10.2011, 11:12
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

I haven't heard about that rule either. Can someone find the proof for it? Like what the actual law says?
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  #24  
Old 26.10.2011, 11:26
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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I haven't heard about that rule either. Can someone find the proof for it? Like what the actual law says?
Basically what they did was export something and claim back the VAT and then re-import it, without paying the VAT.

Do you really need to look at a law for this? Doesn't common sense and logic tell you that it's not allowed?

If this was legal then don't you think people would be doing this full time - and selling the goods back to German people?
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Old 26.10.2011, 11:34
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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I haven't heard about that rule either. Can someone find the proof for it? Like what the actual law says?
Beg pardon? You get the VAT back because you export goods from the EU. The key part of green paper thingy ("Ausfuhrschein im Reiseverkehr" = "tourist export certificate") that you have stamped by the EU (in this case: German) customs post is a statutory declaration that you are exporting the goods described on the document, and that you have them with you. If you don't export them (i.e. take them back into Germany), or if you don't have them with you, well, you've just made a false stat dec to a federal official and have obtained a tax advantage by doing so = tax evasion. Luckily, there is a big difference in German law between perjury in court (mimimum one year jail term) and a "false written certification" (Falschbeurkundung), which is usually a fine, and tax evasion which is not in excess of EUR 50'000 usually doesn't carry a jail term either.

This Swiss chap got fined EUR 3'000, but appealed and had the fine reduced to EUR 1'000. He had shown three declarations to customs, but some of these were for goods he had exported earlier.
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  #26  
Old 26.10.2011, 12:25
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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We also learned that you have to get the customs stamps (German, then Swiss)
Wrong. You have six months to export the goods.
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  #27  
Old 26.10.2011, 12:48
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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Wrong. You have six months to export the goods.
Yes, but you have to have them with you when you declare them. So unless you store them in Germany (unused, of course), you better get the stamp the moment you actually export them.
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  #28  
Old 26.10.2011, 12:51
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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I haven't heard about that rule either. Can someone find the proof for it? Like what the actual law says?

I meant the rule that you couldn't do so on the same day.

I understand the rest of the VAT thing, just badly phrased my question.
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  #29  
Old 26.10.2011, 12:54
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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I meant the rule that you couldn't do so on the same day.

I understand the rest of the VAT thing, just badly phrased my question.
There is no specific rule that you can't take it back on the same day. The rule is that once you have had customs certify the export, you can't take it back at all, unless you declare the import and pay German VAT (again).
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  #30  
Old 26.10.2011, 13:07
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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There is no specific rule that you can't take it back on the same day. The rule is that once you have had customs certify the export, you can't take it back at all, unless you declare the import and pay German VAT (again).

Sorry if I'm slow this morning (tragically early meeting).

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I should have left Germany with the next train, he said.
and that I shouldn't head back directly from the customs office to the shops. Actually I was told that the shops are not allowed to pay the VAT back on the purchasing day.
What I'm trying to particularly understand is this. I haven't yet left the EU area yet, but I have had my form stamped. I would like my cash back that day, because I don't go up to Konstanz that often. What I've always done in the past is simply go back to the store that I bought my things at and gotten the cash immediately. It's the first time I've heard that you can't get the cash back the purchasing day, so I'm just confused. I'm not planning on reimporting anything, just carrying it around for the hour.
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  #31  
Old 26.10.2011, 13:09
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

Note 1: Coming in through Basel customs, we're often asked to produce the goods for inspection. It happens about 25% of the time, so I am not sure how often this happens where you are.

Note 2: Several times, my wife and I have driven to see her family near Dresden, but picked up items across the border on the way up. Now, when we purchase things on a different day than when we bring them back over the border into CH, we are almost always questioned.

Note 3: I believe this program is only administered in 2 Bundesländer - Baden Wurtenburg and Bayern. Does anyone have experience on how you get the VAT back somewhere else in Germany?
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  #32  
Old 26.10.2011, 13:21
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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What I'm trying to particularly understand is this. I haven't yet left the EU area yet, but I have had my form stamped. I would like my cash back that day, because I don't go up to Konstanz that often. What I've always done in the past is simply go back to the store that I bought my things at and gotten the cash immediately. It's the first time I've heard that you can't get the cash back the purchasing day, so I'm just confused. I'm not planning on reimporting anything, just carrying it around for the hour.
You know that - but the border customs don't. And why should they believe you?

Rather like: No, Officer, I haven't stolen this car, I'm just borrowing it for an hour or so.
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  #33  
Old 28.10.2011, 16:52
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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No, completely right. EU residents cannot get VAT back in the EU. That's why you need to prove your residence. Not sure why you are arguing that with me???
Sorry, just re-read your post, and you're right enough: it does make sense to say that an EU passport is not going to help prove that you are eligible to get a VAT refund. They do expect you to have it to prove your identity though.

Now I'm wondering how you would prove it if you live somewhere (outside the EU) that doesn't have identity cards. After all, crossing the EU-CH border doesn't mean that you live in Switzerland. What would a US resident need to show to prove they live outside the EU?
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  #34  
Old 28.10.2011, 17:51
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

I have an Indian (Non EU) passport and presently residing in Switzerland (Non EU) on L permit. Technically, if I produce both while leaving Germany border (entering CH) I should be entitled to get German VAT refund.

I have not lived in EU in the last 2 years. This can be proved by my passport immigration stamps. Is there still a possibility that I may be denied VAT refund?

Pankaj
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  #35  
Old 28.10.2011, 18:11
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

Yes, cos some places (maybe it's a rule for all places - dunno) don't accept an L permit for vat refund purposes.
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  #36  
Old 28.10.2011, 18:29
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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Beg pardon? You get the VAT back because you export goods from the EU. The key part of green paper thingy ("Ausfuhrschein im Reiseverkehr" = "tourist export certificate") that you have stamped by the EU (in this case: German) customs post is a statutory declaration that you are exporting the goods described on the document, and that you have them with you. If you don't export them (i.e. take them back into Germany), or if you don't have them with you, well, you've just made a false stat dec to a federal official and have obtained a tax advantage by doing so = tax evasion. Luckily, there is a big difference in German law between perjury in court (mimimum one year jail term) and a "false written certification" (Falschbeurkundung), which is usually a fine, and tax evasion which is not in excess of EUR 50'000 usually doesn't carry a jail term either.

This Swiss chap got fined EUR 3'000, but appealed and had the fine reduced to EUR 1'000. He had shown three declarations to customs, but some of these were for goods he had exported earlier.
OMG, that sounds really bad for my case. I'm still waiting for an answer from the German court (over 2 weeks)
It's true that it was quite shocking experience to go to the room behind the corner and being asked such questions, specially when I didn't understand what I did wrong at that time.

Ofcourse I was not going to import the goods back to Germany, but just carried it with me for a short stroll to the shop. I understand the german customs will look it at anyway as Straftat.
@sygirl101, we were doing the exact same "wrong" thing in the past and I get caught.
So please learn from my story and do not do the wrong thing again.
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  #37  
Old 28.10.2011, 19:00
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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OMG, that sounds really bad for my case. I'm still waiting for an answer from the German court (over 2 weeks). I understand the german customs will look it at anyway as Straftat.
@sygirl101, we were doing the exact same "wrong" thing in the past and I get caught.
Do you realise that this prosecution/conviction might stop you going to the USA in the future?
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  #38  
Old 22.12.2011, 10:01
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

Just an update on my case.
I've finally received a letter from Staatsanwaltschaft Konstanz.
They ordered me to pay 50 Euros as some kind of donation to the local charity institution. I was not previously convicted or "vorbestraft", so I'll not get any record for this case.
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  #39  
Old 22.12.2011, 10:29
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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On my last trip to Konstanz, I got "caught" by the customs guy. I just got the forms stamped and was going back to the shops with the forms in my one hand and big bags on my other hand.

I should have left Germany with the next train, he said.
and that I shouldn't head back directly from the customs office to the shops. Actually I was told that the shops are not allowed to pay the VAT back on the purchasing day.

Once you get the green forms stamped, keep them until you visit the shop next time. (don't exactly remember, if it's valid for 6 months or even longer)

I had to answer the questions like "how long I was doing this?" in the room behind the counter, in the customs office. The guy said that I've commited a criminal act "Straftat" and they'll send all the documents to Court.

Now I hope my punishment would be just a small amount of fine. Waiting for a post from german court. i guess I have a criminal record on my name now
The blue slips are valid for two years and that you can not cash in the MwSt. on the same day is bull. Done it, no problem, some shops, H&M Lörrach for instance don´t pay the MwSt. back themselves so you go with your stamped papers and ID to the Western Union counter (Basel Badischer Bahnhof) and you get your money back there.
After all it is your money not Germany´s
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  #40  
Old 22.12.2011, 10:29
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Re: Trip to Konstanz - getting the VAT back?

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Just an update on my case.
I've finally received a letter from Staatsanwaltschaft Konstanz.
They ordered me to pay 50 Euros as some kind of donation to the local charity institution. I was not previously convicted or "vorbestraft", so I'll not get any record for this case.
That's about the best possible outcome you could hope for
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