Are you leaving Germany to move to your next duty station? Don’t forget to settle your business, especially when it comes to tax relief.
When U.S. Department of Defense members make a permanent change of station to Germany, they have the privilege of saving money on taxes by purchasing Value added tax forms and enrolling in the utility tax avoidance program.
UTAP enables service members and DOD civilians to receive tax-exemption on electric, gas, and water utility bills. VAT forms on the other hand offer tax relief for certain personal purchases.
Those who use these privileges must close their accounts in these programs before they PCS.
Ardrenne Hackett, 86th Force Support Squadron VAT office manager, explained how PCSing members can settle their UTAP and VAT accounts before they leave.
“To outprocess (from) the UTAP program, a member will need to bring in their orders, final bills, and a receipt of payment for the final bills,” she said. “Utility suppliers will need meter readings in order to generate a final bill. No online payments are accepted as proof of payment. Please pay the final bill at your financial institution or with the utility company directly.”
Hackett added that those who have unused VAT forms must return them prior to leaving Germany. Failure to do so will result in negative repercussions.
“If the form is not returned, it will remain on the account indefinitely,” said Hackett. “If a member returns to Germany for another tour, that VAT form will still show as issued out and will limit the amount of forms you are able to purchase at a given time. The host nation requires full accountability of VAT forms. Failure to return VAT forms violates the regulation and host nation requirements. In addition, the VAT office will be required to record a violation on the customer’s account.”
Other consequences for not closing accounts in VAT and UTAP properly include the risk of acquiring government debt and disqualification from re-enrollment in both programs.
Hackett affirmed the advantages UTAP and VAT offer, saying the programs greatly benefit members stationed in the Kaiserslautern Military Community. She added that it is important for customers to consult the proper authorities concerning any questions they might have.
“The UTAP and VAT program are wonderful ways for members to save a considerable amount of money,” she said. “However, with great reward comes great responsibility. Follow the rules; when uncertain ask the VAT/UTAP office prior to executing a transaction.”