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My experience with the VAT Form in Germany

The Value Added Tax (Vat) in Germany is 19% and included in the marked prices of all merchandise or on the menu items in a restaurant. So you can deduct almost 20% when using a VAT form. Since the VAT form cost a fee, I always figured it was most useful to use on anything costing more than 100 Euro - to me that made the fee and trip to the VAT Office worthwhile. We always kept a VAT form stored in the glove department of our car, so we could have one available when we needed it. It´s important to note that there is a different form needed for items over 2,500 Euro.

A lot of stores let you collect the receipts and do a VAT Form run every three months, Lidl, the grocery store is a good example. Just be careful to designate a VAT Form for each of these stores, because the issue date of the VAT form has to be before the date of the first receipt from that store. I always used a page protector to help me keep each VAT form and the collection of receipts for each store and put a note on my calendar when to turn it in - time flies away!

You can also only have a certain amount of outstanding VAT Forms - the VAT Office is very strict, but also very helpful. So make sure you keep track of all used VAT forms and turn them in on time. If you lose a VAT form, let the VAT office know right away so they can help you get it sorted. But with very little effort real money can be saved especially if you are thinking about purchasing larger items such as cars, furniture, electronics, etc.

As not all German employees know how to use the VAT form it helps if you learn how to fill it out, be sure to pay attention to which copy you keep, which copy the store keeps and which copy you are meant to turn in to the VAT office. Store owners are more likely to accept the form if you know how it works.

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The Stuttgart Fernsehturm (TV Tower)

The Stuttgart Fernsehturm (TV Tower)The Stuttgart TV Tower started its service in 1956, it was the first of its kind and it has since been an example for other towers which were built worldwide. During its construction period, the project Stuttgart TV Tower was controversial
amongst the citizens of Stuttgart. Meanwhile, the 217 meter (711 ft.) high tower, which is considered as an architectural masterpiece, is the landmark of Stuttgart.

Downtown Stuttgart from the TV tower

In March 2013, the tower was closed to the public due to a review of fire safety regulations. Almost three years later, on 30th January 2016, the tower was reopened with a refurbished entrance, shop area and new, optimized fire safety
precautions. After being "dark" for all these years, you can now see the illuminated tower in the evenings again. After getting your tickets in the refurbished entrance area (7 EUR for adults, free for children up to 5 years, 4 EURfor children from 6 to 15 years), the lift takes you to the first viewing platform on 150 meters (492 ft.) within 30 seconds.

The Stuttgart stadium Mercedes Benz Arena The tower basket consists of four floors. The lowest floor is on 138 meters. Until 1974, the transmitter for Stuttgart TV was built in there. Nowadays, it is used for the tower´s building services, several installations for mobile phones and transmitters for the police. The upper floors are used for events and there is a café in one of them, too. On top of the café, there are two viewing platforms, the first one is on 150 meters,
the second one is three meters higher and was built especially for children because the railing of the first one is too high. From the café and the viewing platforms, you have an exceptionally spectacular view over Stuttgart and its surrounding areas. If the weather is good, you have a view of about 120 kilometers (75 miles). Come visit the Stuttgart TV Tower to enjoy this amazing view during the day, as well as at nights.

Stuttgart downtown with the Stiftskirche, old castle and the town hall

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Visit the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Stuttgart

Mercedes Benz 540 K

If you are looking for a great place to spend one of Germany`s many rainy days or are bored at home on a Sunday, why not check out the Mercedes Benz Museum in Stuttgart.

One of the things Germany is famous for is its automobile ingenuityR12;in fact vehicles are Germany`s number one export and if the history of the automobile is of interest to you then you`ll want to take some time to visit this museum.

Aside from the wonderful collection of automobiles available you can learn about the entire 130 year history of the brand and it`s associates. Documented on nine floors, creating 16,500 square meters of automobile excellency. Currently the museum presents 160 vehicles and over 1,500 exhibits.

The very architecture of the building will draw you in, the idea for the building came from "the double helix structure of the DNA spiral that carries the human genome." It is meant to showcase the Mercedes-Benz brand and its purpose, which is to "reinvent itself" time and time again. At the museum you can experience a unique journey through time and automotive history, going all the way back to the birth of the automobile itself in the year 1886. You can learn about the industrial era, automobiles and WWII, the first race cars, the evolution of vehicle safety, and more. As well as get a glimpse into what the future of the industry may look like.

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6 Things You Need to Know Before Eating Out In Germany

6 Things You Need to Know Before Eating Out In GermanyGermany has a great food culture, I mean German food is amazing, so you don't want to miss out and while the concept for most restaurants is basically the same (sit down and have a meal) there are a few cultural differences to keep in mind when eating at a German restaurant, or even a Chinese or Italian  restaurant here in Germany. So next time you feel like going out, keep these 6 important tips in mind.

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