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Old 08.01.2014, 04:16
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Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

Hello everyone,

I have a business runnning in the UK and I would like to ship some of the items to Geneva. Now I know for sure these goods cannot be sold in Switzerland for law issues, but Swiss citizens can buy them from the EU.

I have a friend of mine running with a warehouse in Annemasse that can store my items and whom I'd pay for both housing and shipping to Geneva, as it's obviously cheaper than shipping items individually would cost. So I would buy the items in China/UK/US with my UK business and have them shipped directly to the warehouse.

Now my question is:
Who do I charge the VAT, as I am the only seller?
Do I charge it to the swiss customer and then refund to the Swiss Confederation? Is it the customer that is supposed to declare the goods?

Sorry if my question is silly. Can anyone help?
Thanks in advance.
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Old 08.01.2014, 09:26
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

If you know for sure that they cannot be sold in Switzerland (some sort of medicine or fake luxury goods?) then your customers could get into trouble importing them themselves by post or personal travel.

But if that doesn't bother you, then you don't charge VAT at all as you are exporting from the EU into CH. Whether that might get you into trouble as the exporter of banned goods is another question and one that I can't answer.

Last edited by grumpygrapefruit; 08.01.2014 at 13:21. Reason: clarity
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Old 08.01.2014, 13:14
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Hello everyone,

I have a business runnning in the UK and I would like to ship some of the items to Geneva. Now I know for sure these goods cannot be sold in Switzerland for law issues, but Swiss citizens can buy them from the EU.

I have a friend of mine running with a warehouse in Annemasse that can store my items and whom I'd pay for both housing and shipping to Geneva, as it's obviously cheaper than shipping items individually would cost. So I would buy the items in China/UK/US with my UK business and have them shipped directly to the warehouse.

Now my question is:
Who do I charge the VAT, as I am the only seller?
Do I charge it to the swiss customer and then refund to the Swiss Confederation? Is it the customer that is supposed to declare the goods?

Sorry if my question is silly. Can anyone help?
Thanks in advance.
So basically you want the buyer to take on the risk of the import, instead of you?
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Old 08.01.2014, 15:10
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

Hello there, and thanks for your early replies.
Well actually the items cannot be sold over Swiss ground but the law allows swiss citizens to buy it in the EU or any other country. At the moment, french ressellers are attracting more and more swiss customers (essentially from Geneva) so as long as the sale is not operated in Switzerland, it is totally legal.

Of course the last thing I want is my customers or myself getting into trouble or taking any risks. Now, do I need to charge a 20% UK VAT (as the sale is done by my British company) or do I need to charge the customers with a Swiss VAT? Which is quite a non-sense to me, despite I could acquire a Swiss TVA number.

So my point is making the customer satisfied and both of us out of trouble. The thing is actually these good never get to land on British ground. Shall I then bill at french TVA rate, or should I have my French patrner operate the sale? Which would then be a much less interesting profit...
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Old 08.01.2014, 15:16
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

I so want to know what I can't buy here but can buy in the EU and then personally import to Switzerland.
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Old 08.01.2014, 15:45
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Hello there, and thanks for your early replies.
Well actually the items cannot be sold over Swiss ground but the law allows swiss citizens to buy it in the EU or any other country. At the moment, french ressellers are attracting more and more swiss customers (essentially from Geneva) so as long as the sale is not operated in Switzerland, it is totally legal.

Of course the last thing I want is my customers or myself getting into trouble or taking any risks. Now, do I need to charge a 20% UK VAT (as the sale is done by my British company) or do I need to charge the customers with a Swiss VAT? Which is quite a non-sense to me, despite I could acquire a Swiss TVA number.

So my point is making the customer satisfied and both of us out of trouble. The thing is actually these good never get to land on British ground. Shall I then bill at french TVA rate, or should I have my French patrner operate the sale? Which would then be a much less interesting profit...
If you are sending the items to an address in CH then you are exporting from the EU so you don't need to charge EU VAT and you certainly don't need to (can't) charge Swiss VAT.
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Old 08.01.2014, 15:51
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

Actually: e-Liquid for electronic cigarettes. Selling them here would require my company to request goverment allowance that they will never provide me with, but customs allow individuals to buy up to 150ml of e-Liquid containing nicotine.
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Old 08.01.2014, 15:55
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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If you are sending the items to an address in CH then you are exporting from the EU so you don't need to charge EU VAT and you certainly don't need to (can't) charge Swiss VAT.
Great, but that means the customer is then resposible for declaring the goods upon receipt, right?
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:01
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Great, but that means the customer is then resposible for declaring the goods upon receipt, right?
Almost certainly an online forum is the best bet to ask this questions as opposed to the Swiss tax authorities.
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:01
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Great, but that means the customer is then resposible for declaring the goods upon receipt, right?
They would be responsible if you charge VAT (wrongly) or not anyway. If the value of the parcel including post cost is over 60.00 something CHF they will be inspected by Swiss customs (or the Post or DHL acting as agents) and your customer will be charged VAT, import duty (if applicable) and a handling charge, but none of that has anything to do with you.
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:29
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Almost certainly an online forum is the best bet to ask this questions as opposed to the Swiss tax authorities.
Sorry if that disturbs you, mate. I thought maybe someone could provide me with a much efficient answer than yours. And GrumpyGrapefruit did that just nice. I will do all necessary research prior to setting up the EU2CH business but I thought I could benefit from someone else's advice and experience before diving in the admin.ch website.

By the way, I'm sure you could help me on this: how do I thank Grumpy for prividing such an efficient and clear response? Do you know?
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:35
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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By the way, I'm sure you could help me on this: how do I thank Grumpy for prividing such an efficient and clear response? Do you know?
visit him and buy some cheese
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:35
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

The business will fail/succeed on whether the end user is doing something legal or not.

A CH citizen going to the EU purchasing a product and bringing it back as part of their allowance is completely different to someone purchasing a product online and paying any duty.

If the product is legal but purchasing it illegal - you may find that your products are being seized - the customers charged - and your company failing.

EDIT:
It would appear that other companies are doing exactly what you are talking about doing, as found using a simple GOOGLE search on the product:

http://www.liquid-station.ch/ - in particular http://www.liquid-station.ch/versandkosten
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:38
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Sorry if that disturbs you, mate. I thought maybe someone could provide me with a much efficient answer than yours. And GrumpyGrapefruit did that just nice. I will do all necessary research prior to setting up the EU2CH business but I thought I could benefit from someone else's advice and experience before diving in the admin.ch website.

By the way, I'm sure you could help me on this: how do I thank Grumpy for prividing such an efficient and clear response? Do you know?
As of 10 posts, you will find that there is a Thank You button that will appear in the bottom right of every post. You just click on it to say thank you to someone for their post.

In the meantime, you would just have to post a thank you.
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:45
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Actually: e-Liquid for electronic cigarettes. Selling them here would require my company to request goverment allowance that they will never provide me with, but customs allow individuals to buy up to 150ml of e-Liquid containing nicotine.
Could you post me some now? I bought some without nicotine while in the UK over xmas and I can't be bothered to go looking over the border!
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:46
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

The OP will need to check if the allowance of 150ml is for hand carry AND for shipments to CH. A quick call to CH Customs should get you the answer.

As mentioned, a shipment with a value of less than CHF 65 will not be charged VAT, duties and Customs paperwork handling (from the Post, DHL etc.). If your average sale is above this CHF amount (but below whatever legal limit per importation), you might be able to work out a deal with the Post or other to pre-pay the VAT and other costs. That way the CH customer pays an "all in" price and does not have to deal with the Customs part. I am not sure if this option is available or not. You would need to also ask Customs as well.
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:53
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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visit him and buy some cheese
If I get to visit Zurich one of these I'll definitely consider it.

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The business will fail/succeed on whether the end user is doing something legal or not.
That is why I explained above it is totally legal

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It would appear that other companies are doing exactly what you are talking about doing, as found using a simple GOOGLE search on the product:
Thanks for the links. Despite my awfull german skills, I managed to understand they'd take about 7-15 days to get you delivered by mail. That to me is a failure, not what I meant at all. And they do that over the Rösti Grabe, market I wouldn't target so far.
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Old 08.01.2014, 16:59
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Could you post me some now? I bought some without nicotine while in the UK over xmas and I can't be bothered to go looking over the border!
Not yet, but I'll add you in my contacts and send you the website link as soon as it's loaded.
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Old 08.01.2014, 17:02
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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As mentioned, a shipment with a value of less than CHF 65 will not be charged VAT, duties and Customs paperwork handling (from the Post, DHL etc.). If your average sale is above this CHF amount (but below whatever legal limit per importation), you might be able to work out a deal with the Post or other to pre-pay the VAT and other costs. That way the CH customer pays an "all in" price and does not have to deal with the Customs part. I am not sure if this option is available or not. You would need to also ask Customs as well.
I think average sale would be around 15-40 CHF. That is 2 to 5 bottles. So no VAT, but I'll get in touch with customs for what you suggest (all in price).
THANKS ALOT
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Old 08.01.2014, 22:23
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Re: Importing goods from China to Geneva, stored in France

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Hello everyone,

I have a business runnning in the UK and I would like to ship some of the items to Geneva. Now I know for sure these goods cannot be sold in Switzerland for law issues, but Swiss citizens can buy them from the EU.

I have a friend of mine running with a warehouse in Annemasse that can store my items and whom I'd pay for both housing and shipping to Geneva, as it's obviously cheaper than shipping items individually would cost. So I would buy the items in China/UK/US with my UK business and have them shipped directly to the warehouse.

Now my question is:
Who do I charge the VAT, as I am the only seller?
Do I charge it to the swiss customer and then refund to the Swiss Confederation? Is it the customer that is supposed to declare the goods?

Sorry if my question is silly. Can anyone help?
Thanks in advance.
Law issues ? WHAT law issues exactly ?

merchandise from China ? very soon the CH-China free trade agreement will come into effect. In case you have a French clientele, you might use the Bonded Warehouse of Geneva at the border to France.

Ports Francs et Entrepôts de Genève SA
Rte du Grand Lancy 6a - CP 1535 - 1211 Genève 26 - Suisse -
tél + 41 22 307 07 07 - info@gva-freeports.ch

It may not be free of charge, but in the end, it may be worth the expense. There you have French and Swiss trucking companies at your disposal as well as customs agents
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