MwSt is the abbreviation for Mehrwertsteuer, which is also known as Umsatzsteuer (USt).  This is the equivalent to VAT in the UK.

At present, MwSt is 19% for most items in Germany, with some items such as basic foodstuffs and books being only 7%.  For some goods and services (eg. stamps) there is currently no MwSt.

The term “Mehrwertsteuer” was introduced in 1968, but the principles were first introduced as a form of stamp duty in 1916.

To hear a simple explanation and a short discussion in German, listen to the podcast:

(Press the “play” button to listen to the podcast)

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About Graham

Graham Tappenden is a British ex-pat who first came to Germany as a placement student in 1993, returning in 1995 to live there permanently. He has been writing for since 2006. When not writing blog posts or freelancing for the Oberurseler Woche and other publications he works as a self-employed IT consultant solving computer problems and designing websites. In 2016 he gained German citizenship.


  1. […] VAT rates look to stay the same, but there will be some changes are to what qualifies for the reduced 7% rate. […]

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