I have a non-EU nationality and have a limited (non-permanent) German residence permit (Aufenthaltstitel) that is valid until the end of February 2020. However, I will de-register myself from Germany (Abmeldung) in one week and go to my home country as my study here has been finished. So, I will only stay here for about 1 week. Three days ago, I bought something quite expensive and got a form of tax-free from Global Blue (GB) that has NOT been stamped by the custom (Zoll) yet. At the beginning, as I came to one of the GB office here, the officer said that she can help me reimburse the tax-free amount, even without the custom's stamp, but I must later report this to the custom at the airport once I fly back to my home country. However, as she saw the residence permit on my passport, she became unsure whether this works. Therefore, she recommend me to ask first the custom at the airport tomorrow (explain my situation), and once I got the stamp, I can even go back to her and get the money back. As the airport is quite far from the the place I am staying, I would like to ask your experience, whether it is possible to get the tax-free refund? Thanks.
Residents of the European Union are not eligible for VAT tax refunds when taking goods outside the European Union.
Since you are not a visitor (i.e. no entry stamp based on the 90/180 days rule), but a resident (you have a residence permit), customs will see that you are not eligible after a quick look at your passport.
You should, however, look into the conditions of your home country and see under what conditions goods brought back after a foreign residence can be imported without further taxation.
VAT refund (German Foreign Office) states thus clearly:
- Upon departure from the Federal Republic of Germany, these forms must be presented to the German customs authorities together with your passport (as evidence of your non-European residence) and the purchased goods in their original condition so that the export can be confirmed. Please note that the goods must be shipped abroad before the end of the third calendar month following the acquisition.
Who is a ‘visitor’?
A ‘visitor’ is any person who permanently or habitually lives in a country outside the EU. Your address as shown in your passport or other identity document will be taken as the place where you permanently or habitually live.
many more samples are given
May I ask you, whether you already had (seen) any similar case? I would like to know a certain answer so that I may not need to negotiate/debate with the custom officer :)
Yes, this is actually common knowledge since many stores have signs offering this service (since the 1970's) stating explicitly only for visitors.
It is also a part of Police and Customs training (I am a former Police Reserve Officer) how to determine if a Foreigner is a resident or a visitor. It is done through the entries in the Passport as confirmed above by the German Foreign Office statement.
So claims such as:
You are not necessarily a resident of the EU even if you have a residence permit from a EU country. The permit gives you the right to take up residency, it does not mean that you actually have done it.
without any source given to prove in any way, shape or form, would be accepted by a custom officer (whose main task is to collect/retain money for the government in question) should be
- taken with a ton of salt
My advice would therefore be: don't waste your time going to the airport in this matter, but consentrate more on avoiding paying import tax in your home country.