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Old 18.06.2014, 17:21
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Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

My mother has decided to send me a gift (clothing) worth a total value of $250 (USD), she says she spent $40 in shipping through USPS, but promises she didn't send it expedited (many angry phone calls from when I was living in Brussels and she'd send me all kinds of weird crap I didn't even want 2nd day air , and then I'd get charged 50-70 to import $20 worth of junk ). She says she did a declaration form at the post office (maybe all that yelling at her finally got through? I can only hope ).

I've read through a few other posts on the topic, but all of the ones I found were 3+ years old, so rather than gravedig I thought I'd make a new topic. It seems like it's a little hit or miss whether I will be charged to receive the package. But if I do, how much should I expect to be charged?

I found this customs import prices http://www.post.ch/en/post-startseit...ernational.htm

This page says it's 16 CHF plus a 3% fee, and 8% VAT which I think is the correct value.

So if it goes through smoothly then I would owe 16 chf + 8% of the 260 CHF the package is worth ($290 = 260 CHF today) + 3% of 260 = 44.60 CHF

Or do I get the first 100 CHF untaxed, and pay tax on the value over that amount (since it's supposed to be declared as a gift)?

And then prices can skyrocket from there if they decide to get all weird about it?

Is that correct?

I'll see my mother in the US in a few weeks, so if I refuse the package will it be returned to her at no further cost, and I can just get the stuff in person while I'm in the US?
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Old 18.06.2014, 17:35
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

I believe you pay the charges calculated on value inclusive of postage (so $290 as you say), and that it is on full value, i.e. no "allowance". I'm waiting to test it out myself!

You can always refuse a parcel, and helpfully suggest that in future your mother come and visit you and give you your present in person!
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Old 01.02.2015, 16:39
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

guess i'll resurrect this thread as this issue really got on my nerves recently. My wife an I receive a gift from abroad for our wedding. Apparently the gift had a value of 700chf (i highly doubt that but anyhow) and a few weeks after signing for the receipt of the parcel we get a customs bill of 80+ Chf. I think the courier FedEx should have informed us...anyhow the receiver should be notified prior to receiving a bill to pay for smth he/she didn't agree on. What if you can't afford to pay for it, or if you would not want to accept the parcel knowing the tax involved? Find it unfair...
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Old 01.02.2015, 16:50
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

Yesterday we recieved a gift from my boyfriend's mother in Wales. It was a mechanical keyboard worth 130 GBP. The post office in the UK insisted that she produce an invoice for the gift, so she had to go back to her house and find it. Post office person found it unusual, but a message popped up on her screen saying all parcels to CH including gifts must have a value on them supported by an original invoice. When it arrived, we were charged 37.40 CHF to get the birthday present.

I think it is less than pleasant, and probably not what is intended, when people send us gifts that cost us money. Luckily he wanted the keyboard, had for some time, because nearly 40 francs for unwanted gifts is awful, but refusing them is also rude to the person sending you a gift. what gives?
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Old 01.02.2015, 17:16
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

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Yesterday we recieved a gift from my boyfriend's mother in Wales. It was a mechanical keyboard worth 130 GBP. The post office in the UK insisted that she produce an invoice for the gift, so she had to go back to her house and find it. Post office person found it unusual, but a message popped up on her screen saying all parcels to CH including gifts must have a value on them supported by an original invoice. When it arrived, we were charged 37.40 CHF to get the birthday present.

I think it is less than pleasant, and probably not what is intended, when people send us gifts that cost us money. Luckily he wanted the keyboard, had for some time, because nearly 40 francs for unwanted gifts is awful, but refusing them is also rude to the person sending you a gift. what gives?
The regulations about what amount is accepteable as a gift are clearly publicised.

GBP 130.-- is well over the limit !

Your mother should have said it's second hand, customs value GBP40.--
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Old 01.02.2015, 17:45
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

There's lots of useful official information here in English. Should demystify the process.

For example: for private goods sent by private individuals, the customs threshold is CHF100 (apart from booze 'n' fags).
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Old 01.02.2015, 18:14
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

I suppose if you refuse the parcel, it will be returned to the sender, and the sender will have to pay the transport fees again, but at least you would be excused tax, tariffs (and I am not sure, but maybe the customs handling fees?).

When I send a parcel abroad by post, there is usually a question on the customs form about what to do with the parcel when "not deliverable"
The sender has to choose, by ticking a box, between either return at cost to sender (by air or surface), or destroying the parcel.
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Old 02.02.2015, 21:55
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

Have had no problems as long as the sender puts the value as below 100 S. Fr.
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Old 02.02.2015, 22:06
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

And providing the customs don't check, which they do
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Old 03.02.2015, 09:42
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

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Have had no problems as long as the sender puts the value as below 100 S. Fr.
That would be 60 CHF including postage...

Expatinch... What gives? Import duties & admin fee. If you want to avoid this use forwarding agents or a post box. The search function on EF will help, but if you can't *cough* be bothered, then Google "Las burg Weil am Rhein". HTH
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Old 03.02.2015, 09:47
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

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That would be 60 CHF including postage...
No, for gifts it's CHF 100, NOT including postage.

Tom
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Old 03.02.2015, 12:36
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Re: Customs tax on gifts sent from abroad

While the 100 CHF is the stated exclusion amount for gifts excluding postage, we have sometimes been charged duties when the value of the items sent is under 100 CHF but the postage puts the total value over. We've also had times when the total value (items+postage) is under 100 CHF and they charge then as well -- perhaps the Customs office didn't believe the declared value, though they did not open the box, or felt we should have bought it in Switzerland.

It's just one of those mysteries whether or not you will get taxed, and in discussing with our Swiss neighbor she seconded this.
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