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Tax exemption rules for students entering Germany from non-EC countries

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Entry into the country requires compliance with German import regulations. Items brought into Germany that are not intended for commerce, or valued at not more than EUR 1500.00, are mostly duty free.

Limitations on imported souvenirs and gifts are listed on the German customs website.

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An interesting example of a duty free item is that of a student’s notebook imported for educational purposes.
Items used by students for their education are tax-exempt (Artikel 25, 26 ZollbefreiungsVO).
According to this rule, the following items are tax free:
- all clothing and household linens (new or used)
- all objects and equipment (e.g. computers, printers, etc.) normally used for academic pursuits
- used furniture which is normally used to furnish a student‘s apartment

The premise for the tax-exemption is that:
- the items are meant for personal use only
- they have no commercial purpose
- the individual should be signed up as a full-time student at a German school or University
- the items belong to the student
- the items have been properly declared and released from customs

There are two ways to declare tax exempt items:
1. Goods should generally be declared in writing to German customs.
2. When items accompany a student in their personal luggage, a verbal declaration to the German custom agent is sufficient.

Students bringing taxable goods into the Federal Republic of Germany, are not allowed to use the green exit. They are required to seek out German Customs (red exit) and declare the goods.
For more information, visit the the German customs website.

If you wish personalised council on this or other legal issues, please don't hesitate to make an appointment with the law office of Rechtsanwalt Felsmann.

The information on this site has been carefully edited, however no responsibility is taken for its accuracy. This text  is not a replacement for attorney council.


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