Bundeszentralamt für Steuern

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International Organisations and Intergovernmental Bodies

International Organisations and Intergovernmental Bodies

Under certain conditions, international organisations and intergovernmental institutions are relieved of indirect taxes in Germany and can be exempted from foreign value added tax.

General Information

In multilateral treaties, the Federal Republic of Germany has undertaken to relieve international organisations and intergovernmental institutions of indirect taxes on major taxable services rendered in Germany as far as possible.

According to the same principles, the Federal Central Tax Office (BZSt) may exempt from foreign value-added tax services provided in other EU countries to international organisations or intergovernmental institutions domiciled in Germany.

The procedure is based on the privilege protocols, headquarters agreements, individual agreements and Article 151 of Directive 2006/112/EC (VAT Directive). 

Entitled Persons

The group of beneficiaries includes international organisations and intergovernmental institutions.

International organisations are established by the States participating in them. Common tasks are e.g.

  • Research (e.g. space exploration, starry sky exploration, molecular biology research and others),
  • Joint management of administrative tasks (e.g. patent applications, monetary and air navigation tasks).

Intergovernmental institutions include political purpose institutions such as the European Union, the United Nations (with all its branches and sub branches), the OSCE, NATO as an institution and others.

Remuneration Procedure

The prerequisite for the remuneration is that

  • the services for the fulfilment of the tasks provided for in the respective statutes (official activity) have been rendered and
  • the individual invoice shows in principle more than the equivalent of 25 euros in tax.

There is no general time limit within which remuneration must be requested. The deadlines result from the respective legal bases.

The remuneration applications are not formally bound. They only need to contain the following information:

  • the reference to the relevant legal basis,
  • a list of the bills,
  • the total costs and VAT amounts included in the invoices, and
  • the total amount requested.

The original invoices within the meaning of § 14 (1) of the Turnover Tax Act (UStG) must be attached to the applications for reimbursement of turnover tax.

The applicant must prove that the respective invoice has been paid including the VAT (e.g. account statement).

In the case of other refundable types of tax, such as insurance, energy, electricity and spirits tax, proof can also be provided in other forms.

The BZSt reimburses the indirect taxes by bank transfer and informs the applicant of the decision in writing.

Exemption procedure pursuant to Article 151 of Directive 2006/112/EC

International organisations and intergovernmental institutions domiciled in Germany which enjoy sales tax privileges may apply for exemption from foreign sales tax. The scope of the exemption depends on the scope of the domestic privileges.

Applications for exemption from foreign value added tax are formally bound. The European Union has issued a uniform form in the main languages of the Union. This form can be requested from the BZSt. Please use the contact form.

The application form must be completed. Documents concerning the intended use of the service (cost estimate, offers or similar) or, if the service has already been provided, invoices must be submitted. They must indicate the nature of the service, the price and the amount of tax.

The BZSt decides on the scope of the exemption from foreign tax and informs the applicant of the decision on the application form.

The applicant shall forward this certificate to the foreign trader. The foreign entrepreneur is thus entitled to leave the turnover tax-free or to pay tax already paid to the applicant. The entrepreneur keeps the certificate as evidence for his tax authority.



Bundeszentralamt für Steuern

Dienstsitz Schwedt/Oder
Passower Chaussee 3b
16303 Schwedt/Oder

Phone: +49 228 406-0
Fax: +49 228 406-4722


Value Added Tax