By Robert Szostek
Customs Public Affairs Officer
U.S. personnel must get a customs “Permit to Transfer” when transferring a U.S. Army Europe-plated vehicle to a non-ID cardholder in Germany. Failure to get the permit could mean a hefty tax demand from German Customs.
“It is essential to get a permit to transfer before you sell, donate or transfer a car to a German car dealer, junkyard or person who is not an ID cardholder,” explained Fred Evans, chief of services at the USAREUR Customs Executive Agency in Heidelberg. This applies even if the vehicle was wrecked in an accident and you did not receive any money for it, he added.
If you do not obtain this permit, you will eventually fail to clear vehicle registration when it is time to PCS. Customs authorities also may require you to prove what happened to the vehicle.
“This is obviously very difficult if the car was crushed long ago, you are in the middle of clearing out of Europe and you have no record of where the car went,” Evans continued.
If you cannot show what happened to the vehicle, you may be identified in a Military Police report and subject to disciplinary action. You may also have to pay a hefty tax demand based upon the value of the vehicle in addition to possible fines and penalties from German customs authorities.
The “Permit to Transfer” (AE Form 550-175B) is available at the U.S. Forces Customs Office serving your garrison.
More information on selling personal property in Germany the right way is available online at www.hqusareur.army.mil/opm/Infosheet2-AEF550-175B.pdf, in Army in Europe Regulation 550-175, U.S. Forces Customs Controls In Germany or by contacting your local U.S. Forces Customs Office.