- 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.
Status of Forces Agreement, Army in Europe Regulation 215-6. 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). If utility cost are listed as additional cost "Nebenkosten" and paid directly to the landlord, they are not covered by this program. All utility costs are covered for home owners. German banking account information is required for enrollment.
- 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.
The UTAP Program is processed through the Grafenwoehr VAT Office. The Grafenwoehr VAT Office can be reached at DSN 526-9075, CIV 09641-70-526-9075. Registration packets can be picked up at the local housing office.
- Meter Readings
If you are living in economy housing you will have to provide electricity meter readings to your electricity supplier whenever they ask for it. Generally that happens once a year. These readings should be done regardless of whether or not you are a UTAP customer (tax-free) or a regular direct customer (taxed) with the electricity company. It works similarly with gas and water meters. Check with your housing office to see what is included in the rent and what isn’t. Water for example may be a landlord responsibility that is billed to you via an add-on to the rent (Nebenkosten). The actual reading can be provided to your electricity 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 and not your neighbors’, in case you live in a multi-family home. Electricity meters are generally located in the basement or hallways, sometimes inside of grey metal cabinets.
Some meters only have one row of numbers to be read (single meter), other meters have two rows of numbers to be read (dual meter). The difference is that the single meter simply reads the power you consume. The dual meter reads the power consumed during the day (HT) on one line and the power consumed during the night (NT) on the second line. Power at night time is generally cheaper. For a single meter you provide only one read number to the supplier, for a dual meter you provide both readings to the supplier.
- UTAP Assistance
Where can the UTAP office support you?
We stand ready to answer utility related questions and to explain utility bills or letters sent by utility companies. We also talk with the utility company for/with you in case of questions or problems.
What does the UTAP office not do?
We are not there to pay your bills for you and we also do not provide assistance for LQA reconciliations. If you fail to pay your utility bills or you are late, the VAT office will be required to pay the bill. In such a case, the VAT office will notify your commander, suspend VAT privileges, start collection proceedings and garnish your pay. In addition we will notify the respective LQA cell. Keep in mind that LQA generally includes a certain portion of money earmarked for utilities. Not using this money for paying your utilities may be considered misappropriation. We also do not get involved in landlord/tenant disputes.
Save money on your utilities by signing up for the Utility Tax Avoidance Program (UTAP). Reduce your wait-time and schedule an appointment by emailing the UTAP Office. Access program forms below: