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Mehrwertsteuer, usually abbreviated to MwSt, is the German for "VAT" (as known in the UK) or "sales tax" (as known in the USA).

The typical tax rate is 19%. This is halved to 8% for "essential" goods such as groceries, newspapers, books, etc.

It is an indirect tax which you pay upon purchase in any consumer store. Prices in these stores and online stores are usually given including the tax.

Mehrwertsteuer and Umsatzsteuer (also known as USt or "turnover tax") are, for all intents and purposes, the same thing. The word Umsatzsteuer tends to be used in association with business to business transactions whereas Mehrwertsteuer is used more for business to consumer.

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