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Old 31.01.2015, 19:57
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Clarity in ordering from online shops

Good evening,

I know there are many threads about ordering from Amazon and all the extra charges, but I would like to have some clarity.

If ordered from Germany, why I am being charged both German VAT and Swiss VAT.

When ordering, from Amazon, is there an option to order tax free?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 31.01.2015, 20:08
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

There is no clarity - other than hit or miss.

Technically goods with value of CHF 56 (I think/awaiting correction) including delivery charges, should NOT be subject to Swiss tax and Post or customs charges ...... but it can happen.

Goods over this value will have Swiss tax and charges added ...... but some slip through, as not every package can be checked.

German taxes can be claimed back ...... no idea how, as I've never bothered.
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Old 31.01.2015, 20:18
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

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Good evening,

I know there are many threads about ordering from Amazon and all the extra charges, but I would like to have some clarity.

If ordered from Germany, why I am being charged both German VAT and Swiss VAT.

When ordering, from Amazon, is there an option to order tax free?

Thanks in advance!
Depends on the seller. Here's some info on the Swiss rules.
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Old 31.01.2015, 20:27
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

Whenever I order from Amazon uk with a Swiss delivery address they take the VAT off
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Old 31.01.2015, 21:37
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

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If ordered from Germany, why I am being charged both German VAT and Swiss VAT.
It is important to follow the rules:

All imports into Switzerland are subject to customs tariffs and VAT. Under certain circumstances you will not be *charged*.

In order to avoid paying German VAT you either need to make sure that you are not billed the German VAT, or that you will be able to claim paid VAT from the seller due to the goods having been exported.

As there are numerous ways for importing, and similarly numerous ways for exporting from Germany (or any other EU country, for what it is worth), and given that some sellers are more supportive (or even able!) than others, this is where the generalities end.

I can provide one example where you will be unable to avoid paying Swiss VAT and German VAT: You purchase goods worth > 300 CHF from a tiny German seller, with very limited turnover, who has opted out of the German VAT system (yes, that is possible).
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Old 31.01.2015, 23:08
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

Since moving to Switzerland I have found Amazon UK to be much better than Amazon De. Delivery costs are lower and this is important when factoring in the fact that the total import limit (including delivery) is about CHF62.
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Old 31.01.2015, 23:24
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

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Since moving to Switzerland I have found Amazon UK to be much better than Amazon De. Delivery costs are lower and this is important when factoring in the fact that the total import limit (including delivery) is about CHF62.
I would be very interested in an example, as my reading of the Amazon web sites would claim the contrary:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/cust...5732D7AE7A0963

http://www.amazon.de/gp/help/custome...4AB085AE5EA9B9

(The exception being priority express)
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Old 31.01.2015, 23:30
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

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Since moving to Switzerland I have found Amazon UK to be much better than Amazon De. Delivery costs are lower and this is important when factoring in the fact that the total import limit (including delivery) is about CHF62.
Amazon.de on books charge NO delivery charge to Switzerland how can that be higher then the charges you incur from amazon.uk. Often too the same books are lower priced due to being priced in euros vs GBP. Yes amazon.uk tend to have a larger selection but its worth comparing as I have often found that there can be quite an advantage on amazpn.de for books
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Old 31.01.2015, 23:52
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

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It is important to follow the rules:

All imports into Switzerland are subject to customs tariffs and VAT. Under certain circumstances you will not be *charged*.

In order to avoid paying German VAT you either need to make sure that you are not billed the German VAT, or that you will be able to claim paid VAT from the seller due to the goods having been exported.

As there are numerous ways for importing, and similarly numerous ways for exporting from Germany (or any other EU country, for what it is worth), and given that some sellers are more supportive (or even able!) than others, this is where the generalities end.

I can provide one example where you will be unable to avoid paying Swiss VAT and German VAT: You purchase goods worth > 300 CHF from a tiny German seller, with very limited turnover, who has opted out of the German VAT system (yes, that is possible).
If the seller has opted out of the German VAT system why is he charging VAT
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Old 01.02.2015, 00:24
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

Example of my recent purchase on Amazon UK:

Item Subtotal: £44.45
Postage & Packing: £8.99
Promotion Applied: -£1.75
Order Total: £51.69

I compared the same items on Amazon DE - the horror - shipping was almost equal to purchase price!!!!
The total weight of my package was 5kg so I expected to pay a lot; but was pleasantly surprised by Amazon UK's cheap shipping.
And thankfully with the changes in exchange rates this January, this is one purchase I'm happy about!!


...but maybe it depends on the items purchased. But the total weight is 5kg which is a lot.
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Old 01.02.2015, 02:14
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

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If the seller has opted out of the German VAT system why is he charging VAT
The seller will quote a price - and VAT is simply not part of this quote.

The intent is to reduce the VAT administration overhead where turnover is low. In theory, the seller could offer the product at a reduced price (as VAT simply is not to be paid by him), but part of the deal is also that this seller has opted out of the VAT crediting part, so pays for all goods including VAT himself.

This is no problem at all if the purchasing consumer (as opposed to company) is located inside Germany and no exporting takes place.
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Old 01.02.2015, 08:13
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

I'm pretty sure Amazon changed their internal systems regarding Switzerland sometime around Christmas because you used to be able to get different shipping prices and options on different countries (amazon.IT was particularly good) but now you get the same treatment everywhere.

(books on amazon.DE might be the exception)
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Old 01.02.2015, 08:46
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

Aren't books in UK, VAT free, anyway?
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Old 01.02.2015, 09:52
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

I buy books and dvds from Amazon.fr several times per year, and have never been charged swiss tax (no deduction of French tax either, if that exists), and shipping is free.

But I believe books and dvds have special rules for import tax in switzerland, and I usually avoid big order (if an order > 100 chf I usually split it)

Also, very often the delivery is sent from amazon.de, although I order on Amazon.fr
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Old 01.02.2015, 13:34
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Re: Clarity in ordering from online shops

Having lived in several European countries, I think Amazon FR is the best for books.
Other articles were best from Amazon DE, cheaper, greater variety than Amazon ES, FR or IT. Then I moved to Switzerland and Amazon UK has emerged the best in terms of delivery and they have a much wider selection.
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