Utility Tax Avoidance (UTAP)
- UTAP Overview
The finance ministries of the NATO Forces established the Utility Tax Avoidance Program (UTAP) to allow authorized customers tax-free utilities with participating utility companies.
The UTAP program is designed for service members assigned to Europe, or U.S. civilians working for the U.S. Forces and some contractors, provided they are under the Tessa Agreement.
DoD mandates the use of UTAP in an effort to secure effective tax relief from foreign taxes on residential consumption of electricity, gas and water in Germany. To be eligible for UTAP individuals must receive their utilities from a provider that has a contractual agreement with the Tax Relief Office (TRO).
Some utilities could fall under additional cost "Nebenkosten", paid directly to the landlord, these costs are not covered by UTAP. For people who own their residence, all utility costs are covered by UTAP.
Providing your banking information is a requirement to enter the UTAP program.
- UTAP Savings
UTAP can save you hundreds of dollars annually off your utilities. With UTAP you will save 19% Value Added Tax on Electrical and Gas. Additionally, in some states select companies can save up to 11% additional cost per kwh on electricity tax and up to 7% on Gas (Eco Tax). Call your local UTAP office for more information about the companies that work with UTAP in your area and their tax exemptions. Providing your banking information is a requirement to enter the UTAP program.
Service Percentage Discounted (Taxes) Electricity 19% VAT & up to 11% electricity tax (select companies only) Gas 19% VAT & up to 7% eco tax (select companies only)
- Required Information/Process to Set up UTAP
Before coming to the UTAP office, please be sure to have all the required information completed and with you for your UTAP appointment.
Complete the walk through with housing.
Make sure you double check all meter numbers and meter readings.
Find out who your utility providers are.
Ask your landlord if he is going to register you with the utility provider. If he states this is your responsibility, UTAP can help you with this.
Complete the UTAP Application found in the forms section below. The form needs to be TYPED and then printed.
Complete “Start Form” for each utility company. The forms must be TYPED and then printed. Forms cannot be accepted if handwritten.
Copy of lease.
Banking information from local Credit Union, Community Bank or German bank
If you own your home, bring copies of the purchase contract cover page with notary stamp, page with home address, and page with signatures.
UTAP Registration Fee of $99, payable in cash, check or credit card. Reimbursable through the miscellaneous expense allowance.
Valid Active Duty or Civilian ID card (retired military ID cards are not accepted).
Copy of orders (mandatory for Active Duty personnel)
Read the SEPA handout (download)
If you sign up for UTAP you are also required to close out with UTAP before moving to your new destination.
- *Important Information about Meter Readings*
Providing Meter Readings:
- You will have to provide meter readings when asked to do so.
- German utility companies will NOT send monthly bills. They will look at the average past use of your dwelling and estimate the monthly usage. Based on that estimate they calculate an estimated monthly amount to be paid. This monthly amount is deducted automatically from your bank account every month. At the end of a billing year they will ask for the meter reading and calculate your "actual" usage.
- The utility company will calculate your actual usage and compare that against the monthly pro-rated payments you have made. If you paid more than you used you will receive a refund, if you used more than what your payments cover, you will have to pay the balance in full. Adjustments to the monthly pro-rated amounts will generally be made at that time. An average annual electricity bill (without electric heat, without a pool/sauna, no transformers) will range from 800 to 1600 Euros. This will vary of course depending on your personal needs and family size. Your housing office can provide additional information.
How can I provide meter readings?
- The actual reading(s) can be provided to your utility supplier via Internet (in some cases), telephone, returning the filled out meter reading post card, or by giving the meter reading to your UTAP office for forwarding. Each electricity meter has its own unique serial number. Make sure you are reading your meter(s) and not your neighbors'.
What do I need to watch out for?
- You need to understand that European utility companies work differently than US utility companies.
- Watch out for the annual meter reading request.
- If you fail to provide reading(s) they can use an "estimated" reading. That is something you absolutely do not want because if that estimate happens to be low and this happens 3 years in a row you will be hit with a rather large close-out bill because upon a move-out a true meter reading will be required.
- Required Forms for Utility Companies and UTAP Application
All documents must be TYPED (including meter readings) and then printed. These forms cannot be saved, so please have all your information handy before starting. If you sign up for UTAP, you are also required to close out with UTAP before moving to your new destination. Complete "END Form" to close out.
1. Fill out the UTAP application, which MUST be completed to sign up with UTAP. Download UTAP Application (.pdf).
2. Starting Service / Ending Service Documents. All fields must be typed - including meter readings.
Remember to submit UTAP application with any "Start" documents. Boeblingen Start (.pdf) End (.pdf) EnBW
Electric, Gas & Water
Start (.pdf) End (.pdf) Erdgas Gas Start (.pdf) End (.pdf) Esslingen Gas & Water Start (.doc) End (.doc) Herrenberg Water & Gas Start (.doc) End (.doc) Leonberg Water Start (.doc) End (.doc) Ludwigsburg Gas, Electricity & Water Start (.pdf) End (.pdf) Nurtingen Gas, Electricity & Water Start (.pdf) End (.pdf) Ostfildern Water Start (.doc) End (.doc) Pfullendorf Electricity & Water Start (.doc) End (.doc) Suewag* Gas *Start (.pdf) *End (.pdf) Suewag* Electricity *Start (.pdf) *End (.pdf) Sindelfingen Gas, Electricity & Water Start(.pdf) End (.pdf) Ueberlingen Gas, Electricity & Water Start (.doc) End (.doc) Zeag Gas, Electricity & Water Start (.doc) End (.doc)
*Suewag requires that customers fill out one form per each electrical meter.
IMPORTANT NOTE: If you have trouble downloading any file, save the file first to your hard drive and then open.
- Required Banking Information
German Routing Numbers
Community Bank Routing #: 50110900
Service Federal Credit Union Routing #: 54030011