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Old 07.01.2015, 12:30
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Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

Received a late holiday gift from my Mom this week and was charged CHF 42 in customs fees. My complaint is that the Post added the declared customs value ($95) with the USA-paid postage costs ($67) to come up with a $162 for taxation value.

According to the Post's own rules, they do NOT assess customs for gifts up to CHF 100 and in these cases do NOT include transport costs in the VAT amount.

Did the Post/customs agent make a mistake or am I missing something here? Does anyone have a suggestion for contesting this with them? (I already collected the package as the Post office staff had little specific information.
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Old 07.01.2015, 12:31
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

What did your mother put on the customs form?
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Old 07.01.2015, 12:39
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

Good job this topic has never been discussed on EF before
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Old 07.01.2015, 12:39
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The customs form appears correct. It itemized everything with values (totaled to $95) and was clearly marked as a gift.

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Good job this topic has never been discussed on EF before

I could not find an answer here. If you can point me to a previous post that answers my question, I would appreciate it.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 07.01.2015 at 18:23. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 07.01.2015, 12:52
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

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According to the Post's own rules, they do NOT assess customs for gifts up to CHF 100 and in these cases do NOT include transport costs in the VAT amount.
Show the post rules, because what you claim is not inside the rules I know.

PS: above 65CHF (including shipping cost) they charge vat and therefore import duties.
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Old 07.01.2015, 13:02
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

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PS: above 65CHF (including shipping cost) they charge vat and therefore import duties.
... and therefore a massive administration charge.
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Old 07.01.2015, 13:05
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

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Show the post rules, because what you claim is not inside the rules I know.
https://www.post.ch/en/post-versende...-zoll-mwst.htm

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Furthermore, gifts mailed from individuals living abroad to individuals in Switzerland are duty-exempt up to a value of CHF 100.

...

In the case of gifts sent by private individuals to other private individuals up to a value of CHF 100.00, the transport costs are not included in the VAT amount.
But $95 is awfully close to the 100 CHF limit and may well be over it, depending what exchange rate they use. If it's over the 100 CHF exemption then the total VAT will include that for postage.
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Old 07.01.2015, 13:12
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

What is the breakout of that 42chf - between fees, charges, duty and VAT?
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Old 07.01.2015, 13:26
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

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Received a late holiday gift from my Mom this week and was charged CHF 42 in customs fees. My complaint is that the Post added the declared customs value ($95) with the USA-paid postage costs ($67) to come up with a $162 for taxation value.

According to the Post's own rules, they do NOT assess customs for gifts up to CHF 100 and in these cases do NOT include transport costs in the VAT amount.

Did the Post/customs agent make a mistake or am I missing something here? Does anyone have a suggestion for contesting this with them? (I already collected the package as the Post office staff had little specific information.
You got an A4 receipt, on which you find their phone-number. And give them a phone-call. They scan everything and can check up. And so can tell why and what etc
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Old 07.01.2015, 13:59
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https://www.post.ch/en/post-versende...-zoll-mwst.htm



But $95 is awfully close to the 100 CHF limit and may well be over it, depending what exchange rate they use. If it's over the 100 CHF exemption then the total VAT will include that for postage.


Thanks for posting the rules. This is also what I was working from.


They list their conversion rate at 1.007410. Even with that, I'm still under $96 on the item value.

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What is the breakout of that 42chf - between fees, charges, duty and VAT?


The breakout is:


Warenwert gem. Rechnung / CN = 162.86
--------------------------------------------------------
Verzollung Zone 2: CHF 16.00 +3% = CHF20.90
Zollbgaben (gem. Veranlagungsverfuegung Zoll) = CHF 6.05


Einfuhrsteuer (gem. Veranlagungsverfuegung MWST): 8% von MWST + Zollabgaben (appears calculated on the total of value and fees above) = CHF 15.10

Last edited by 3Wishes; 07.01.2015 at 18:24. Reason: merging successive posts
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Old 07.01.2015, 14:32
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

The VAT Value (amount on which the 8% is being added) includes the 15Fr fee for the service, the shipping costs, and the net value of the actual items in the package (i.e. with any sales tax deducted depending on country of origin, shown on the receipt if it was paid by the customer).

So the overall charge seems about right. It's all automated, so they would either get everything wrong (unlikely not to have been noticed so far), or they get everything right.


The main thing you could contest is the interpretation of the 100CHF limit for gifts. Since they consider the value of the package to include the shipping costs everywhere, I guess they apply that this rule as well. So since the total value is well over 100CHF it gets taxed.

This also applies to the 65CHF/200CHF limit for purchased goods (i.e. non-gifts) of 8%/2.5% tax respectively. The value that counts is always the TOTAL one.

I'm afraid you don't have much to argue against
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Old 07.01.2015, 15:07
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

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https://www.post.ch/en/post-versende...-zoll-mwst.htm



But $95 is awfully close to the 100 CHF limit and may well be over it, depending what exchange rate they use. If it's over the 100 CHF exemption then the total VAT will include that for postage.
Thanks, well here you are, the rules!
So indeed, I was talking about "purchase abroad" which is different than "gifts".

Seems, as per the "rules":

How does the customs clearing agent know the shipping costs which are part of the VAT value?

The customs clearing agent has two means of determining the shipping costs:

If the shipping costs are indicated on the shipping documents, they are included in the calculation of the value of the goods.
If the shipping costs are not indicated on the shipping documents, they are determined using the stamp value.
In the case of gifts sent by private individuals to other private individuals up to a value of CHF 100.00, the transport costs are not included in the VAT amount.


Looks like that they added the transport costs (like someone suggested earlier).
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Old 07.01.2015, 16:05
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

Thanks for everyone who posted here to help me understand this.

I took Wollishofener's advice and called the information number on the form and was transferred to an English-speaking agent. Upon looking up my article number, he immediately said I was charged incorrectly and told me to email Post with my bank account number to obtain a refund.

Mistakes happen. I give Post kudos for admitting this and making it right.
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Old 07.01.2015, 16:53
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

They charged you the following:

plain item (gift) value: $95
postage costs: $67

invoice value (value of the goods) = plain item value + postage costs = CHF 162.86 (if your original values are correct and precise the exchange rate applied was: USD->CHF 0.99471939!! ... how lucky is that!!!)

customs duty = CHF (6.05) (this is duty-exempt, if the gift (item) value is less than CHF 100 ... which was currently the case for the $95!)

customs clearance = basic fee + 3% of value of the goods = CHF 16 (USA) + CHF 4.8858 = 20.8858 -> CHF 20.90

VAT value = invoice value + duty + customs clearance = 162.86 + 6.05 + 20.8858 = CHF 189.7958 -> w/o duty: CHF 183.7458

VAT = 8% of VAT value = 15.1832 -> w/o duty: CHF 14.70

Total = duty + customs clearance + VAT = CHF 42.10 or 42.20 (don't know where they round)


I suppose you will get back: CHF 6.05 + CHF .50 ~= CHF 6.55 (or perhaps even CHF 30.15, but I don't think so)
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Last edited by Sublime; 07.01.2015 at 17:29.
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Old 08.01.2015, 07:58
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

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Mistakes happen. I give Post kudos for admitting this and making it right.
Indeed. I got sent an invoice for VAT/Customs that amounted to more than the article I had purchased! I phoned to query and they told me to send the invoice back with an explanation letter. Not heard anything since.
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Old 08.01.2015, 11:03
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

For future reference and better understanding you might want to look at the Swiss Customs website:

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

They also give an example here:

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en
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Old 14.02.2015, 10:15
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Re: Understanding / Contesting Post Customs/VAT Charge

Just to close this thread out, Post finally did deposit the entire customs charge directly into my bank account. It took them about a month and I had to make one follow-up call (they said they never received the email with my bank account info).


They say you can't fight city hall. But this seems close as far as moral victories. Again, thanks for everyone's insights.
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