I own a trailer or a caravan, what must I do when removing it permanently from BFG?

Trailers and caravans are classed as goods even though they must be BFG registered. When you leave BFG permanently, you must obtain an export licence (BFG Form 38Ü), before de-registering your trailer. Your application will be processed by German customs and, if the trailer or caravan was purchased tax free, you may be required to retain possession of it at your new place of residence for a minimum of 12 months. You will also be required to declare it to local customs upon arrival. You should remember that it can take up to 4 weeks for German customs to process and authorise BFG Form 38Ü s and plan your departure accordingly.

If you are planning to sell your caravan or trailer to a non-entitled individual, whether in Germany, the UK, or somewhere else, you must apply to do so with a BFG Form 38. There may be a tax liability to German Customs if the caravan or trailer was purchased tax free.

I am returning to the UK: My tax free vehicle is less than a year old.

Follow the export and de-registration process. If you sell the vehicle before the 1st anniversary of its BFG registration you will be liable for German VAT. The tax demand will be served by your chain of command and interest accrues from the date of the demand. So you will end up paying the VAT plus interest.

I am returning to the UK: My tax free vehicle is over a year old.

Follow the export and de-registration process. There are no restrictions on selling the vehicle.

I am approaching TOUREX and have tax free goods, what should I consider?

One of the conditions for receiving tax free benefits in BFG is that goods purchased for private use must be in your possession for a minimum of 6 months before you leave Germany. If you purchase tax free goods with less than 6 months of your tour remaining, you will be liable for German turnover tax on the purchase price when you leave. If these goods were purchased outside the EU, you might also be liable for EU customs duty (10% as at 1 May 2017). You should consider these points before you commit to buying tax free goods towards the end of your tour.  

On assignment out of BFG, a BFG F38Ü is to be applied for in order to export all tax free goods valued over € 2,500 net (excluding tax) that were bought in Germany using a MwSt form and for tax free goods valued over € 1,000 net that were bought elsewhere using a EU Form 151. 

You must also make sure that all MwSt forms (both used and unused) are handed in to your MwSt Office prior to leaving Germany.

If you have any questions or require advice please contact a C&I officer.

What happens if I fail to follow the procedure?

You may be subject to a tax demand and/or a BFG sanction for contravening standing orders.

I am posted elsewhere overseas

This is known as a Transfer of Residence. Submit a BFG F 38 Ü to BFG C&I. This will be your export licence. Follow the de-registration process in SO BFG 3213. Always check with your receiving unit what your entitlements and tax free allowances will be; they may well be different from those in Germany, particularly those applying to spouses and dependants.

The German customs authorities will require you to provide them with evidence that vehicles which have been exported using a Form 38Ü have indeed been imported into your new country of residence. The evidence can be in the form of a scan, photocopy or fax of the vehicles registration document. You can forward the evidence to German customs via HQ C&I BFG, BFPO 39. Failure to do so within a year of your arrival in your new country of residence will result in German customs automatically raising a tax demand.

I am settling in Germany

This is known as a Transfer of Residence. Submit a BFG F 38Ü to BFG C&I and follow the instructions when received back. This will be your export licence. Follow the de-registration process in SO BFG 3213. It is important to remember that you will be liable to pay German VAT on any tax free goods that have not been in your possession for six months.

I am settling elsewhere (but not UK).

This is also known as a Transfer of Residence. Submit a BFG F 38 Ü to BFG C&I and follow the instructions from C&I. You will need this form to present to the customs authorities in your new country of residence. This will be your export licence. Follow the de-registration process in SO BFG 3213.

I am posted to Cyprus, what do I need to consider?

Posted to SBA

Dependants have no tax free entitlement in Cyprus – if a spouse or child has a tax free vehicle under 12 months old, they will be required to pay tax and duty (if non EEA origin) before removing it from Germany.

Heads of household may export one tax free NMT and motorcycle to Cyprus and they will have to retain them for the duration of the tour (unless they pay tax to ROC customs). There is no annual tax free turnover allowed in Cyprus.

The good news is that the EU 6 month rule for transfer of residence does not apply for those posted to Cyprus. The head of household, therefore, does not have to have had his or her NMT BFG registered for a minimum of 6 months before posting. Each person will have to apply for a 28 day extension of BFG registration to enable them to import and register their vehicle in BFC.

Individuals leaving BFG are not permitted to take a tax free vehicle under 1 year old and with less than 3728 miles to the UK if posted to Cyprus (or indeed anywhere else outside of the UK). You can either take the vehicle with you to your new location, pay the outstanding VAT, or sell it to another entitled BFG member, providing they have not used their tax free allowance for the year.

For further advice please contact your local BFG C&I officer.

UN Assignments:

No one, including soldiers has any tax free entitlement when relocating to a UN post. This means that standard transfer of residence rules apply and should a tax free vehicle be less than 6 months old, VAT will be due in Germany. Cypriot registration fees, road tax and ROC (Republic of Cyprus) import duty will also be due.

For further advice please contact your local BFG C&I officer.