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MWR Central: Trips, tickets, event information and Tax Relief Programs (VAT/UTAP)

VAT Overview

Germany has a "Sales Tax" of  19% called "Valued Added Tax." U.S. Forces personnel stationed in Europe qualify for relief from this tax. The Value Added Tax (VAT) program permits U.S. Forces members to make common purchases without paying the MwST or Value-Added Tax (VAT), including:

Goods and services with full 19% MwsT/ VAT

  • Groceries
  • Books and magazines
  • Lodging and hotel accommodations
  • Clothing
  • Furniture
  • Light fixtures
  • Electronics
  • Heating Oil (please be aware of the <2500€ limit on NF-1 purchases)
  • Vehicle purchases and repairs (on used vehicles there is no VAT charged on vehicles the dealership acquired as part of a trade in)
  • Bus and train tickets within Germany
  • Rental cars
  • Optics
  • Vet bills
  • Parts of medical and dental, cosmetic surgery
  • Please check with VAT on home repairs or upgrades

Updated information:

Visit this website for the most up-to-date information on VAT rules, Vendor Handout info, financing purchases, procedures for purchases over €2500 and much more!

VAT Pricing (Effective October 1, 2022)


NF-1 VAT Forms (for purchases up to 2,499.99 Euros)

$10 ea
 NF-2 VAT Forms (for purchases over 2,500 Euros)  $100 ea
 Utilities Tax Avoidance Program (UTAP) Registration  $99
VAT Policies and Procedures

VAT forms are a great way to save money but there are rules about using VAT forms you must know and follow. Here are five frequently encountered problems where you need to be cautious.

  • Know where your VAT forms are - VAT forms are controlled. You must account for every form issued to you. In the wrong hands, it provides tax benefits to unauthorized people. Using the VAT form drop box is convenient but does not guarantee forms clear the system. Keep a copy of each form used. If you can’t account for form(s), the VAT office requires you sign a statement acknowledging the loss. The repeated loss of forms can lead to the suspension of your VAT privileges.
  • Clear all VAT forms before you PCS - You must clear the VAT office before you leave. Turn in unused forms (sorry, no refunds) and ensure all used forms are cleared in the system. If you should return to Germany and want to get VAT forms, having unaccounted forms can prevent you from getting new forms. Make sure the VAT office is a late stop, as once you clear VAT forms, you can’t use them anymore. If you PCS within Germany, you can keep your forms, but the VAT office needs to update your file.
  • Do not split a purchase to stay under €2500 - Be safe, when a purchase(s) exceeds €2499.99, get an NF 2 VAT form. When clearing returned forms, the VAT office looks for multiple purchases at the same store on the same day. If purchases exceed €2500, they will contact you. Because splitting purchases violates SOFA agreements, you might lose your VAT privileges and/or be required to pay the VAT.
  • Purchasing heating oil - Filling a large oil tank can cost more than €2500. Unfortunately, you might not know that until after the oil is in your tank and it is too late for an NF 2 purchase. Please keep in mind when purchasing items under €2,499.99 you will need to use an NF1 VAT form.  If your purchase will exceed €2,499.99 you will need to obtain an NF 2 VAT form BEFORE your purchase.  It is recommended that you obtain a quote from a heating oil company prior to the delivery of the oil. The VAT office knows the oil companies that understand the VAT process.
  • A company does not accept a check - When purchases exceed €2500, the process requires payment by a counter signed bank check. There are no other ways. Almost all companies know this and gladly accept the check. However, some do not. Always have a copy of the VAT handouts with you to show a store if needed. When your purchase exceeds €2500, double-check the store will accept the check. The VAT office will help you but they are more effective when working in advance.
Important Information and Forms for Purchases

VAT Relief Program General Hand-Out:

VAT Relief Program Vendor Hand-Out (English):

VAT Relief Program Vendor Hand-Out (German):

VAT Relief 2500 Euro and Higher purchases (incl. Financing):

UTAP Overview

The finance ministries of the NATO Forces established the Utility Tax Avoidance Program (UTAP) to allow authorized customers tax-free utilities with participating utility companies.

The UTAP program is designed for service members assigned to Europe, or U.S. civilians working for the U.S. Forces and some contractors, provided they are under the Tessa Agreement.

DoD mandates the use of UTAP in an effort to secure effective tax relief from foreign taxes on residential consumption of electricity, gas and water in Germany. To be eligible for UTAP individuals must receive their utilities from a provider that has a contractual agreement with the Tax Relief Office (TRO).

Some utilities could fall under additional cost "Nebenkosten", paid directly to the landlord, these costs are not covered by UTAP. For people who own their residence, all utility costs are covered by UTAP.

Providing your banking information is a requirement to enter the UTAP program.

UTAP Savings

UTAP can save you hundreds of dollars annually off your utilities. With UTAP you will save 19% Value Added Tax on Electrical and Gas and 7% on water. Additionally, you can save up to 11% additional cost per kwh on energy tax. Providing your banking information is a requirement to enter the UTAP program.

Required Information/Process to Setup UTAP

Before coming to the UTAP office, please be sure to have all the required information completed and with you for your UTAP appointment.

  • Complete the walk through with housing.

  • Make sure you double check all meter numbers and meter readings.

  • Find out who your utility providers are.

  • Ask your landlord if he is going to register you with the utility provider. If he states this is your responsibility, UTAP can help you with this.

  • Complete the UTAP Application found in the forms section below. The form needs to be TYPED and then printed.

  • Complete “Start Form” for each utility company. The forms must be TYPED and then printed. Forms cannot be accepted if handwritten.

  • Copy of lease.

  • Banking information from local Credit Union, Community Bank or German bank

  • If you own your home, bring copies of the purchase contract cover page with notary stamp, page with home address, and page with signatures. 

  • UTAP Registration Fee of $99, payable in cash, check or credit card.  Reimbursable through the miscellaneous expense allowance.

  • Valid Active Duty or Civilian ID card (retired military ID cards are not accepted).

  • Copy of orders.


If you sign up for UTAP you are also required to close out with UTAP before moving to your new destination.

FAQs on NAF Sales

1. How often do you have NAF Warehouse Sales?

Whenever excess NAF property is available for offering to U.S. ID Cardholders. Announcements will be made whenever sales are scheduled.

2. Are there delivery options available for larger items purchased?

No, it is cash and carry at the time of purchase.

3. Can I reserve an item in advance?


4. What kind of items are sold/available?

It will depend on what is in excess at the time.

5. Can I purchase more than one item at a time?


6. Are there any rules or restrictions on reslae of the items purchased at a NAF sale?

It is strictly prohibited to resale purchased items.

7. What form of payment are taken at a NAF Sale?

U.S. dollars.

8. Is the Naf Sale facility stroller and wheelchair friendly?


9. So I have to show my authorized U.S. ID card to enter a NAF Sale and/or make a purchase?


10. Where the parking located for a NAF Sale?

The location of our sales change. Scheduled sales will be announced and advertised along with parking information.

11. How are your prices determined? Is it a percentage off original retail value?

The prices are determined by evaluating the condition of the item and basing it off a fair market value.

12. Do you offer food and beverages at a NAF Sale?

If food and beverages are scheduled to be present during a NAF Sale, it will be announced and advertised.

13. How early do the lines begin to form prior to the event opening?

This has varied in the past, on average between 30-60 minutes prior to the opening.

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