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Old 12.01.2016, 15:51
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Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

I move to Basel from Germany and want to know how to claim on household items that we have bought. I also want to know that when we continue to buy groceries in Germany how do we claim for these every time we go shopping?
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Old 12.01.2016, 15:58
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

This is an excellent topic for a thread and I'm certain no one has covered this topic. At all. Ever.

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Old 12.01.2016, 15:59
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

Do you meant household items you have bought NEW in Germany just for the move- or that you have owned personally for some time (and bringing over as part of your move)?
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Old 12.01.2016, 16:03
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

Get rebate form from German shop. Fill it in. Get it stamped by the German officials at the border. Import goods. Go back to German shop. Get money back or a reduction off your next bill.
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Old 13.01.2016, 17:29
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

It is my understanding that there is a limit on how 'old' the items can be for VAT to be refunded. If they are new, it shouldn't be a problem provided that the retailer is on board.

Depending on the shop, they may do it through an agency, say Global Blue or Premier Tax Free. You'd need any EU customs stamp indicating that it's being exported from the EU region, in your case probably Germany or maybe the French customs as Basel train station. Alternatively, you'd need a Swiss customs import stamp (and presumably also pay Swiss VAT), and forward to the German retailer / tax refund agency for further processing.
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Old 13.01.2016, 17:39
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

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Get rebate form from German shop. Fill it in. Get it stamped by the German officials at the border. Import goods. Go back to German shop. Get money back or a reduction off your next bill.
It must be stamped the same day you bought it, so be sure to check the opening times of the customs office. Also for groceries (and maybe all purchases), we were told that it has to total to 75 euros or more.
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Old 13.01.2016, 17:47
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

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It must be stamped the same day you bought it, so be sure to check the opening times of the customs office. Also for groceries (and maybe all purchases), we were told that it has to total to 75 euros or more.
€ 75 applies from Austria, not Germany


Same day isn't true. But you must have the goods with you or be lucky that the customs person is in a good mood.
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Old 13.01.2016, 17:49
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

My experience is that there is a grace period for getting it stamped, though that might not apply to groceries. That definitely is the case with other purchases I've made in the EU.

Recently refunded VAT on purchases I made in France and Austria in Germany when I ended my Christmas holidays. The export/refund forms were only stamped approx. two weeks after I bought the items, when I was exiting the EU region. No problems encountered and Global Blue paid cash on the spot, albeit at a hefty discount to the actual VAT amount that should have been refunded.
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Old 13.01.2016, 17:54
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

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Same day isn't true. But you must have the goods with you or be lucky that the customs person is in a good mood.
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My experience is that there is a grace period for getting it stamped, though that might not apply to groceries. That definitely is the case with other purchases I've made in the EU.

Recently refunded VAT on purchases I made in France and Austria in Germany when I ended my Christmas holidays. The export/refund forms were only stamped approx. two weeks after I bought the items, when I was exiting the EU region. No problems encountered and Global Blue paid cash on the spot, albeit at a hefty discount to the actual VAT amount that should have been refunded.

I was told by the stores in Konstanz that it has to be stamped the same day, or the store won't accept it back. Maybe it depends on the store, or location? Would be wise to double check this at whichever store you are purchasing from.
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Old 13.01.2016, 17:58
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

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It must be stamped the same day you bought it, so be sure to check the opening times of the customs office.
No it doesn't. You need to have the goods with you when you get it stamped (or in the car), e.g. if on holidays, you can purchase non perishable goods and if you have them on crossing get it stamped.

Similarly, you can get the form replaced (if as happened to me) an overzealous guard rejects the claim. I simply went back to the shop, a week later, got another tax form and claimed the tax back. (Germany, near Basel)

Or if you don't have the chance to do it on one day (for whatever reason) go back with goods and get it done again (I've done this with both French and Swiss border folk).

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Also for groceries (and maybe all purchases), we were told that it has to total to 75 euros or more.
Is this new? Heiber will give you a receipt for 1 Euro of goods if you ask... (I think I once did it on 10 Euro )
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Old 13.01.2016, 18:02
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

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Is this new? Heiber will give you a receipt for 1 Euro of goods if you ask... (I think I once did it on 10 Euro )
I guess I got this part confused with Austria
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Old 28.06.2016, 12:25
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

A dumb question, after the paper was stamped by the german border post people how long can I procrastinate going back to the shop for the refund?
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Old 28.06.2016, 13:04
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

Normally 6 months
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Old 28.06.2016, 13:19
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

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Normally 6 months
Right, normally six months. Some shops allow longer (12 months) or shorter (as little as three months). Check your form, it should be written there.
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Old 20.10.2016, 16:27
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

on the other side of the border, when you declare your goods importing an item in switzerland, I understand that there's an exemption by person.
Is the exemption 200€?
If there are 4 people in the car, can the exemption apply on one item worth 4x200€ = 800?
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Old 20.10.2016, 16:29
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

No, they must be separate items. 2 single mattresses at 300CHF each are ok if there are 2 of you- but you can't buy one double mattress at 600CHF (unless you take a chain saw with you).

Last edited by Odile; 20.10.2016 at 17:03.
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Old 20.10.2016, 16:45
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Re: Claiming VAT in Switzerland for items purchased in Germany

Well I sent the original of the customs stamped document and the receipt by post back to the store-with my bank details so they could pay it back to me.
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A dumb question, after the paper was stamped by the german border post people how long can I procrastinate going back to the shop for the refund?
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