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Old 29.06.2015, 01:19
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Tax from online shopping

Hi there,

I recently got a bill for a watch I ordered online about a month ago.

It came via DHL.

The watch value was listed at 80 USD, they've converted that to 75.43. DHL is claiming I need to pay a tax of 6.10 - as a 17 year old Australian who doesn't work/reside in Switzerland, do I need to pay tax on a Chinese watch sent from the US to Switzerland?

I don't have much of a problem with paying 6.10 anyway, the problem I have is:

DHL is claiming a charge of CHF19 for the "Kontoabwicklungsgebühr" aka Account Management Fee, plus CHF3 for the "Vorlageprivision" aka disbursement fee.

I am not letting DHL charge me CHF19 to receive a damn tax bill!

What can I do? Can they even do this?

Thanks in advance!
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  #2  
Old 29.06.2015, 05:21
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Re: Tax from online shopping

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Hi there,

I recently got a bill for a watch I ordered online about a month ago.

It came via DHL.

The watch value was listed at 80 USD, they've converted that to 75.43. DHL is claiming I need to pay a tax of 6.10 - as a 17 year old Australian who doesn't work/reside in Switzerland, do I need to pay tax on a Chinese watch sent from the US to Switzerland?

I don't have much of a problem with paying 6.10 anyway, the problem I have is:

DHL is claiming a charge of CHF19 for the "Kontoabwicklungsgebühr" aka Account Management Fee, plus CHF3 for the "Vorlageprivision" aka disbursement fee.

I am not letting DHL charge me CHF19 to receive a damn tax bill!

What can I do? Can they even do this?

Thanks in advance!
It's totally normal & as you accepted the goods you need to pay.
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Old 29.06.2015, 08:33
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Re: Tax from online shopping

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What can I do? Can they even do this?
You are obliged to pay.

You imported goods into Switzerland - i.e. you caused them to cross the customs border - you pay. Where these goods came from, which country of origin, your nationality - totally irrelevant.

As to the transaction fees: You / the sender chose (explicitly or implicitly) a logistics handler. In this case, it ended up with DHL. DHL has a fee structure (as have Swiss Post, UPS, FedEx, DPD, and many others). You seem to have been charged following this fee structure. So, yes, they can do this. DHL is a commercial enterprise, so why shouldn't they?

Your take-away from this should be that customs and customs borders are a pain and require extra careful planning as to how you deal with them.

Last edited by daffy99; 29.06.2015 at 08:34. Reason: Spelling
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Old 29.06.2015, 10:01
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Re: Tax from online shopping

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Hi there,

I recently got a bill for a watch I ordered online about a month ago.

It came via DHL.

The watch value was listed at 80 USD, they've converted that to 75.43. DHL is claiming I need to pay a tax of 6.10 - as a 17 year old Australian who doesn't work/reside in Switzerland, do I need to pay tax on a Chinese watch sent from the US to Switzerland?

I don't have much of a problem with paying 6.10 anyway, the problem I have is:

DHL is claiming a charge of CHF19 for the "Kontoabwicklungsgebühr" aka Account Management Fee, plus CHF3 for the "Vorlageprivision" aka disbursement fee.

I am not letting DHL charge me CHF19 to receive a damn tax bill!

What can I do? Can they even do this?

Thanks in advance!
Yes they can, and speaking from experience you have no choice but to pay if you have accepted the goods. Fighting will just cost you precious time and energy, and may result in additional charges... so just pay up and put it down to experience.
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Old 29.06.2015, 21:15
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Re: Tax from online shopping

If it makes you feel any better, you're not the first to run into the charges.

DHL and import duty

Am i being frauded by DHL? Customs help needed

Import tax bill from DHL
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Old 30.06.2015, 10:52
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Re: Tax from online shopping

Thanks everyone!

Is this a Swiss thing or does it happen elsewhere?

I know in Australia that I've shopped plenty of times from other websites around the world and never had to pay a single cent in customs fees...strange.
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Old 30.06.2015, 12:28
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Re: Tax from online shopping

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Thanks everyone!

Is this a Swiss thing or does it happen elsewhere?

I know in Australia that I've shopped plenty of times from other websites around the world and never had to pay a single cent in customs fees...strange.

Happens everywhere, AU included, although AU happens to be lenient: there's a AUD 1000 limit before they start collecting. See here. The limit is a lot smaller in many countries, and in Switzerland, it gets particularly nasty in that a) there doesn't seem to be a tax free limit for online purchases and b) the logistics companies are eager to make a few dozen CHF on the side. Good business. My personal frustrating story: 10 EUR headphones off Amazon ended up costing 60 CHF with trivial VAT and exorbitant handling charges.

Lots of people end up using mailing addresses in EU countries to avoid that extra. If you bring material over the border in person, the tax free limit here is 300 CHF.

Last edited by atamar; 30.06.2015 at 12:29. Reason: Word.
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Old 30.06.2015, 14:10
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Re: Tax from online shopping

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Thanks everyone!

Is this a Swiss thing or does it happen elsewhere?

I know in Australia that I've shopped plenty of times from other websites around the world and never had to pay a single cent in customs fees...strange.
Import tax is ALWAYS payable after 58chf or thereabouts with general goods (fashion, electronics etc)... that is only fair. The difference and what is often unfair are the extra charges that unscrupolous couriers like DHL slap on top.
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Old 30.06.2015, 17:02
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Re: Tax from online shopping

This is also being discussed in the 'cheap stuff from China' thread (where, of course, there's hardly ever a problem with added tax and the packages slip through like strawberry milkshake).

You're liable for VAT if the total declared value of the package is more than CHF 62.50 (the point at which 8% VAT is CHF 5). At this point there may also be additional customs handling charges and courier companies will go on a financial frolic of their own as well. (Simpler just to use the normal post service - couriers are invariably a pain).

https://www.ch.ch/en/ordering-goods-abroad/
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Old 30.06.2015, 17:43
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Re: Tax from online shopping

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there doesn't seem to be a tax free limit for online purchases
There is, it is CHF 62.50 for 8% VAT stuff, and CHF 200 for 2.5% VAT stuff (including shipping charges). These amounts correspond to CHF 5.00 VAT.

Tom
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Old 30.06.2015, 19:11
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Re: Tax from online shopping

The unfortunate part is that even if somebody sends a parcel, the person receiving it would be liable for duties and fee...
is there a way out?
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Old 30.06.2015, 19:13
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Re: Tax from online shopping

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The unfortunate part is that even if somebody sends a parcel, the person receiving it would be liable for duties and fee...
is there a way out?

Not accepting the package.
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Old 30.06.2015, 19:15
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Re: Tax from online shopping

the bill comes much later...and there is no warning of the same while accepting the package!
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Old 03.07.2015, 17:26
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Re: Tax from online shopping

Well, just an update! I kindly (enough) wrote to DHL and explained the situation and they waived the DHL fees...saved me 23.-

Woohoo!
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Old 03.07.2015, 17:59
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Re: Tax from online shopping

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Well, just an update! I kindly (enough) wrote to DHL and explained the situation and they waived the DHL fees...saved me 23.-

Woohoo!
For future purchases of goods worth Fr. 60 or more from abroad, you can register with and have them sent to a packet shop or the German DHL just across the border in Germany. When the parcel arrives, you simply pop over the border into Germany (or Austria, wherever you are) to collect it, paying a small fee, then bring it back yourself (on foot, by train, automobile etc.). This way you don't have to pay Swiss customs anything to import it into Switzerland.

Because the limit on postal imports into Switzerland/Liechtenstein customs area is so low, there are these packet shops all along the Swiss border in Germany/Austria and they do a lot of trade.

You can save the money and the hassle of Swiss customs procedures and fees!
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