VAT rates in Germany

Quick overview

Standard Rate Reduced Rate
19% 7%

The local name for VAT in Germany is ”Umsatzsteuer/Mehrwertsteuer” (USt/MwSt)

There are basically 2 VAT rates in Germany:

  • Standard VAT rate is 19%
  • Reduced VAT rate is 7%

Recent developments

COVID19 measure: VAT on meals in restaurants and bars will remain at the reduced rate of 7% until the end of 2022.

(Please note that the standard VAT rate was temporarily reduced from 19% to 16%, and the reduced VAT rate from 7% to 5%, for the period 1 July 2020 to 31 December 2020.)

For more information about (recent) rate change developments in Germany, please click here.

Standard rate: 19%

This rate applies for all transactions that take place in Germany, unless an exception applies (such as a reduced rate, the zero rate or an exemption, or a reason to treat the transaction as outside scope of VAT).

Zero rate (0%)

No goods and services are subject to specific 0% VAT rate besides the typical ”Exemptions”.

Reduced rate: 7%

  • Books and newspapers in paper and electronic format
  • Cultural services
  • Food & related raw materials
  • Passenger transport (under certain conditions)
  • Agricultural products
  • The assignment, the transfer and the performance of rights arising from the Copyright Act
  • Hotel stays (excl. additional services as e.g. breakfast)

For a description of how the VAT rates are structured in the European Union, please see here.  The European Commission has also made an EU VAT rate database available where you can find the applicable VAT rate by entering the CN/CPA code of the goods respectively services (you can find more information here).

A global VAT/GST rate overview can be found here (note this is a work in progress).

This post was last updated on 8 April 2021.



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