Sales tax cut: Apple refunds for subscriptions are starting

Two months after lowering the sales tax in Germany, Apple is now starting to refund subscriptions. The step is on a voluntary basis, as the group explained in a letter to customers on Wednesday. Apple has not lowered the prices for in-house subscription services such as Apple Music or subscriptions to third-party services that are billed via Apple’s in-app payment interface. In the case of hardware, the manufacturer is already passing the temporary VAT reduction on to customers, where prices have been corrected downwards.

Refunds will only be made for “qualified subscriptions” that were purchased in Germany and billed since July 1, 2020, emphasizes Apple. That seems to include all auto-renewing subscriptions. The refund should be made monthly and continue for the entire period of the VAT reduction – it should end on December 31, 2020.

Apple now wants to instruct refunds for the month of July, they should be credited to the payment method stored for App Store purchases. However, it could take up to 30 days for the credit to appear, according to Apple. In most cases, the amounts involved are very small.

Apple’s e-mail does not receive a link, the refund is automatic. In the next few weeks, users should be particularly careful when receiving refund letters supposedly from Apple: Fraudsters like to use exact copies of the original Apple letters to lure users to manipulated websites and get them to enter their Apple ID data.

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Compared to app providers, Apple emphasized in advance that the refunds will not reduce the payouts for developers. For individual app and in-app purchases – for which there was also no price adjustment – Apple passes the VAT reduction in Germany through to developers: From the selected price level, Apple temporarily deducts only 16 percent instead of 19 percent for VAT. The group then takes 30 percent of the remaining net price as commission, 70 percent is paid out to developers.


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