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Old 08.11.2015, 17:49
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Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

A friend drove a van from France to Switzerland for me and stopped to declare 2 items that where new. Ok happy to pay tax on them (reclaiming french VAT) but what I don't get is he was charged for the used goods. He had the lease but not the attestation they said was needed. Now I haven't registered yet as I was only entering Friday as a resident and I need a new lease from my landlord (he wrote the wrong address). He was told that HE has to get a permit to get a refund, but why? Is it that uncommon for someone else to drive over someone's goods for them? Any idea which office to try? They said he had to return with a permit to their office there at the border.

They declared the value at 20k so the tax was a good amount (again where do they get this from, there wasn't 20k worth of items!)

I have had several people ask why he didn't go to an unmanned entry or just not declare.

Any advice?
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Old 08.11.2015, 18:00
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

To bring stuff in as part of your move, you have to have all the relevant import documentation filled in properly and voluntarily declare the goods. Our removal people had to arrive at the border crossing during opening hours week-day too. Had your friend gone through an 'unmanned' crossing and got caught, it was have been a lot worse. BTW cusoms officers around that area have daily patrols and checks on all the roads with 'unmanned' border crossings, often quite a long way from the border.

Which crossing was that? Vallorbe?

How long have you lived in Switzerland though? Importing personal goods as part of a move is only for when you first arrive in the country.
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Old 08.11.2015, 18:06
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

It was the crossing at Geneva. I ddon't know the name. I had filled out papers and the lease and permit application where with it.
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Old 08.11.2015, 19:10
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

you could have informed yourself before hand, there are threads on this here on EF i believe
http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

Persons who are not present at the time of the customs clearance should hand the form „Declaration/Application for clearance of household effects“ and the documents mentioned in paragraph 2 to their representative for submission to the Customs Office.
So he could not fill the form 18.44 for you at the customs office (you could have if you were there).

In the FAQ it also says:
At the time of importation, I will not yet have all the papers required. Can I still import my household effects?



In a case such as this, the customs office will proceed with provisional clearance of the consignment and a guarantee will be required. After the required documents have been submitted within a deadline of six (6) months, the guarantee will be refunded after a handling fee has been deducted.

So get all the papers in order and try to get a refund, maybe he has to be present because it's him who imported the goods.

People saying he should have not declared... with a van i would not risk it.
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Old 08.11.2015, 19:32
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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you could have informed yourself before hand, there are threads on this here on EF i believe
http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

Persons who are not present at the time of the customs clearance should hand the form „Declaration/Application for clearance of household effects“ and the documents mentioned in paragraph 2 to their representative for submission to the Customs Office.
So he could not fill the form 18.44 for you at the customs office (you could have if you were there).

In the FAQ it also says:
At the time of importation, I will not yet have all the papers required. Can I still import my household effects?



In a case such as this, the customs office will proceed with provisional clearance of the consignment and a guarantee will be required. After the required documents have been submitted within a deadline of six (6) months, the guarantee will be refunded after a handling fee has been deducted.

So get all the papers in order and try to get a refund, maybe he has to be present because it's him who imported the goods.

People saying he should have not declared... with a van i would not risk it.
Well it's great to assume that I didn't research or have the right form.

That is exactly the form I used. So why was it not accepted? I don't see on any of the websites that I needed the attestation first.
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Old 08.11.2015, 20:50
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

I'm trying to remember our whole story, but our stuff came in via Germany and the guy in the moving truck didn't complete the form correctly or give them the right form. About 6 months later, we got a bill for several thousand francs. It was wrong and after a week calling back and forth, talking to the movers and chasing people down, the Swiss authority agreed that we didn't have to pay.

So while this isn't the same story, and I don't know what happened in your case, mistakes are made and your best bet is to call them, explain and resend all the paperwork. We didn't have to be present, we did it all by phone, email and fax.

Good luck! It's a pain in the ass, but i hope you can work it out.
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Old 12.11.2015, 12:29
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

There has been a long email exchange and now they are saying to fill in the form in again, then wait until the permit B is approved, then I need to go back to the office at the border. It's odd their email is a hotmail email

So what they have said, everyone else waits for their permit B to arrive BEFORE they import any household goods.

Is this correct? I can't imagine people working/living here without any of their belongings until after the permit is processed and delivered
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Old 12.11.2015, 12:40
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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Is this correct? I can't imagine people working/living here without any of their belongings until after the permit is processed and delivered
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Well it's great to assume that I didn't research or have the right form.
I thought you did your research

The answer was already linked above , see FAQ item 7, 8, and 9 :
http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

Q7: Why is the request for a residence permit being made? EU citizens do not need to provide a residence permit to settle in Switzerland.
A7: It is a matter of providing proof of the transfer of domicile with the appropriate documents; see also question 9.

Q8: At the time of importation, I will not yet have all the papers required. Can I still import my household effects?
A8: In a case such as this, the customs office will proceed with provisional clearance of the consignment and a guarantee will be required. After the required documents have been submitted within a deadline of six (6) months, the guarantee will be refunded after a handling fee has been deducted.

Q9: At the time of importation, I will not yet have my residence permit. How do I proceed?
A9: Submitting the residence permit is not an absolute requirement. Proof that the transfer of domicile has taken place must be provided. The declaration of departure from the foreign country in connection with the contract of employment and the tenancy agreement may also act as proof. It is the customs office which is ultimately responsible for assessing whether or not the documents submitted are sufficient for the conditions for tax exemption to be met. In the case of insufficient documentation, please refer to question 8.
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Old 12.11.2015, 12:46
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

But I had all the other proof with the form. My lease, my swisscom papers, proof I closed everything in France. So the issue is the lacking B permit to them, so that is not what the website says.

Or maybe I'm blind, who knows. I also know that the items brought over where not worth 20k, just didn't need the extra hassle
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Old 12.11.2015, 12:49
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

Please read Answer 9 again, specially this part: "It is the customs office which is ultimately responsible for assessing whether or not the documents submitted are sufficient for the conditions for tax exemption to be met"

Computer Customs office said No.
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Old 12.11.2015, 12:52
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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Or maybe I'm blind, who knows. I also know that the items brought over where not worth 20k, just didn't need the extra hassle
What was listed as estimated value on Form 18.44?
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Old 12.11.2015, 12:56
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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Please read Answer 9 again, specially this part: "It is the customs office which is ultimately responsible for assessing whether or not the documents submitted are sufficient for the conditions for tax exemption to be met"

Computer Customs office said No.
I don't know why though They say everyone else only moves over goods when they have their permit B in hand

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What was listed as estimated value on Form 18.44?
They filled the value in on the form, my friend said "I don't know how to value stuff like toys and used goods that you can't sell really like a bed, sofa"
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Old 12.11.2015, 13:07
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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They filled the value in on the form, my friend said "I don't know how to value stuff like toys and used goods that you can't sell really like a bed, sofa"
Four options, 1) the value you paid to buy it 2) insurance value, 3) tutti.ch, 4) something between. If you leave it blank, do not wonder they pull a number from the air. 20k does not seam to be inappropriate for a whole household.
TV: 1k, Computer 1.5k, Bed 2.5k, Sofa 1.5k, Books 2.5k, CD/DVD/Computer Games 3k, Cloths 4k, Wardrobe 2k, Toys 1.5k, Table and Chairs 1k etc.

Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 12.11.2015 at 17:11. Reason: Numbering
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Old 12.11.2015, 13:10
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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For options, 1) the value you paid to buy it 2) insurance value, 2) tutti.ch, 3) something between. If you leave it blank, do not wonder they pull a number from the air. 20k does not seam to be inappropriate for a whole household.
TV: 1k, Computer 1.5k, Bed 2.5k, Sofa 1.5k, Books 2.5k, CD/DVD/Computer Games 3k, Cloths 4k, Wardrobe 2k, Toys 1.5k, Table and Chairs 1k etc.

He asked them what to put as we where both confused

My sofa is old from ikea (I need a new one) and no TV/computer games, no wardrobe, you have a sofa worth 1,500?!?!? LOL When he protested to the amount they said oh well.

But still not sure why they say you must have the permit B in hand and that everyone else does
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Old 12.11.2015, 13:54
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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But I had all the other proof with the form. My lease, my swisscom papers, proof I closed everything in France. So the issue is the lacking B permit to them, so that is not what the website says.

Or maybe I'm blind, who knows. I also know that the items brought over where not worth 20k, just didn't need the extra hassle
The problem is you didn't take crossing out of the EU into a separate country seriously. You ask is it uncommon for other people to transport other people's belongings? Of course it isn't.

Did you write a proxy letter giving authority to your friend to transport your items in his name? Did you make a detailed inventory list with estimated values?

From this point providing a lease and a list of quitance for another person that has not given a letter of proxy sounds like potential smuggling. Because this is what smugglers of all sorts of things do all the time. They provide dodgy origin inform and weak evidence of where or why they are going into the country.

It's standard for the country to want to cover their ass with something you will take seriously.

For example, I helped someone move to Norway a couple years back from Switzerland . The person I had been moving hadn't provided sufficient data that was requested for exportation. Even though I requested it. At the border we did all the necessary declarations , weighing, and such. Problem was I had made the mistake of misunderstanding that the fact that Norway accepted Euros I took to mean they were part of the EU and they are not.

So crossing the border they made basically a random guess to the value because we had weak documentation and made us pay the estimated tax on that at the border. And it was refunded to us when we exited the EU.

I should have been more diligent with checking that he gave us the right papers and that was my fault. He ended up having to pay extra admin fees for the delay.

While you are going to live here with a permit that doesn't allow you to act as if you have a permit already in lieu of that.

Have a nice day.
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Old 12.11.2015, 17:06
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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you have a sofa worth 1,500?!?!? LOL
That in fact is a very cheap sofa.Just take a look at what a half-way decent leather sofa costs here
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Old 12.11.2015, 18:06
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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That in fact is a very cheap sofa.Just take a look at what a half-way decent leather sofa costs here

Haven't ventured into those with 2 kids. Well mine is an old one until I get a new one

I guess I just have to hope I can reclaim the money.

The smuggling thing was funny though, esp as they didn't even look IN the van and when we drove the van back out (empty) no one even asked a thing.
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Old 13.11.2015, 01:30
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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Haven't ventured into those with 2 kids. Well mine is an old one until I get a new one

I guess I just have to hope I can reclaim the money.

The smuggling thing was funny though, esp as they didn't even look IN the van and when we drove the van back out (empty) no one even asked a thing.
Just because they dont check one time isn't the general rule for everything. Plus, as mentioned somewhere before, customs doesn't only make stops at the border, they rely on you to self declare. If you have nothing to declare, and you continue on and are stopped within the country all is well.

When not...oh crap.
They are also watching for your tire pressure. If it looks like your truck is riding low, then you are full. If normal, then it's probably empty. At most check points they have un seen cameras checking the level of the tyres to the position of the body of the vehicle from inside the office. \Yes, Ha ha...smuggling.
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Old 13.11.2015, 01:36
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

well I thought I had the right papers filled out, tried to ring to ask questions and didn't get more info by phone. In the end it was a lot of money given the items so I just have to hope I can get it back somehow.
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Old 13.11.2015, 01:51
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Re: Customs charge imported used goods as new resident?

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well I thought I had the right papers filled out, tried to ring to ask questions and didn't get more info by phone. In the end it was a lot of money given the items so I just have to hope I can get it back somehow.
You will probably manage if you try hard enough and blame it on naivety. Sorry if I came off as hard. But people should pay attention to this situation.
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