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Old 06.12.2010, 14:15
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Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

I thought I read about this somewhere at some point in time, but I can't remember. I recently had to have my car fixed while I was in Austria, and it got expensive in a hurry.

When I enter Switzerland, can I "import" the repair (parts and labor) and claim back Austrian VAT while paying Swiss VAT? Is it worth it?

What about winter tires (tyres) ... same question.

TIA.
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:18
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

You must declare on import to CH. Optional is reclaiming on export from EU.
I've read stories in the TCS newsletter where someone while having a minor accident in France had emergency Police mandated repairs done, didn't declare them as such, and got fined.

The fine was halved on appeal as the driver was required to have the repairs done by French police, but the requirement remains for all purchases over 100CHF for a day trip and 300CHF for longer to be declared. Doesn't matter if it's an oil change, battery, or tyres. There's a good trade on the German border with the Swiss dutifully reclaiming the German tax before paying the Swiss MwSt. Of course all the retailers are set up with the necessary forms.

Getting a form for the Austrian authorities on "export", ask your garage.

Last edited by magyir; 06.12.2010 at 14:22. Reason: added clarity
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:21
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

Let's just assume for the sake of this question that I haven't declared those repairs. Is it (financially) worth doing it?
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:23
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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You must do so. I've read stories in the TCS newsletter where someone had emergency repairs done, didn't declare them as such, and got fined.

The fine was halved on appeal as the driver was required to have the repairs done by French police, but the requirement remains for all purchases over 100CHF for a day trip and 300CHF for longer to be declared.

Getting a form for the Austrian authorities on "export", ask your garage.
Fixed that for you. You do, however, need to go back to the garage to get the tax back, as you still have to pay it first. You can get the money back within 3 months (from memory).

More info on this thread.
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:27
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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Let's just assume for the sake of this question that I haven't declared those repairs. Is it (financially) worth doing it?
Most likely - VAT rate in CH is 8% (from next year) and 20% in Austria.

I don't know how much you get back, but you get all your tax back in Germany, so that equates to a ~20% saving on your purchase if under 300 CHF and ~12% if over.

If it costs you more in fuel to go there and back, then no, but otherwise yes, especially if you've had to pay the Swiss VAT, as this would increase your purchase price by ~8%.

That said, I am not sure if you get VAT back on labour. I think you only get the refund on parts.
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:31
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

Ok, so I enter Switzerland, declare the repair (with "I am so sorry" look), pay VAT and duty on the entire bill (no CHF 300 allowance because it's over CHF 300, and then claim Austrian VAT back? This might not be worth it at all ...

But it might be a good idea for the winter tires (under CHF 300).
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:39
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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Most likely - VAT rate in CH is 8% (from next year) and 20% in Austria.

I don't know how much you get back, but you get all your tax back in Germany, so that equates to a ~20% saving on your purchase if under 300 CHF and ~12% if over.

If it costs you more in fuel to go there and back, then no, but otherwise yes, especially if you've had to pay the Swiss VAT, as this would increase your purchase price by ~8%.

That said, I am not sure if you get VAT back on labour. I think you only get the refund on parts.
Just to slightly correct you, you do not get the VAT on the Gross Price but rather on the Net price. So if your purchase was 300 francs, you get the 19% tax refund for 243 francs or 46.17 and not 57 francs from 300.

In other words you dont get the full VAT back
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:49
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

I am quite certain that you cannot claim VAT back on spare parts for cars.....!

Unfortunately I cannot remeber where I read it and I cannot find it again.
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:55
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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Just to slightly correct you, you do not get the VAT on the Gross Price but rather on the Net price. So if your purchase was 300 francs, you get the 19% tax refund for 243 francs or 46.17 and not 57 francs from 300.

In other words you dont get the full VAT back
Not sure I get you, but it would be clear to me that you wouldn't get VAT back on the total purchase costs (gross), only on the pre-VAT (net) price. Or did I misunderstand you?

What I was referring to, is the use of third party agents to get tax back - e.g. in the UK or France where it is also 20%, but you only get 10-12% back using their VAT refund system due to "admin" charges.

In D you get it all back AFAIK - I'll have to look at my receipts from the weekend!

Importantly, when looking at your 300 CHF allowance, you need to specifically look at the net amount to work out how much you have spent, as this is the basis of your allowance.
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Old 06.12.2010, 14:56
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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I am quite certain that you cannot claim VAT back on spare parts for cars.....!

Unfortunately I cannot remeber where I read it and I cannot find it again.
Yes you can and if caught you will be charged for it. Again, the parts, not the labour.
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Old 06.12.2010, 15:11
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

I had thought the goods needed to be exported from the EU unusued - would have thought having them already attached to your car and being used would disqualify. I've also seen stuff stating (ambigiously) that car repairs are specifically excluded.....

You would also have to find a garage that operates the VAT export scheme on spare parts.....
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Old 06.12.2010, 15:19
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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I had thought the goods needed to be exported from the EU unusued - would have thought having them already attached to your car and being used would disqualify. I've also seen stuff stating (ambigiously) that car repairs are specifically excluded.....

You would also have to find a garage that operates the VAT export scheme on spare parts.....
So if you buy a drill and drill a hole into a random bit of wood it is used and therefore no longer valid? I've bought items (e.g. clothing) that I've used on my travels and then claimed the tax on returning to CH, so that doesn't apply.

The point of the exercise is to cash in on the lower taxes in CH. You can't claim taxes back without paying some (on goods >300 CHF in value), whether used or not.

If that isn't your objective, then sure it doesn't apply.

But to the average customs chap, what's to say that you aren't running a shady business of importing goods on demand by fitting them to your car and then trading them back once over the border?

While I agree that it is harder to spot such importing activity, if caught you will be asked to provide proof that the shiny new bit of metal on your car was there on your way out of CH.

It has happened to me coming in to Zurich airport, when the customs guy decided that I must have bought a piece of kit outside of CH and should be charged for it... Had a big argument, in which he was basically saying "you should have taken proof of purchase before leaving the country"...

My reply was "WTF?! Get real." He saw sense in the end, but not everyone will always get away with it.
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Old 06.12.2010, 15:27
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

VAT can only be refunded when the goods are taken out of the country charging VAT and into a non EU country. VAT is a consumption tax which means that this refund mechanism applies since the goods are going to consumed elswhere. Therefore I would not think VAT on services can be refunded becase you are acutally consuming the mechanic's services in his country.
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Old 06.12.2010, 15:30
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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It has happened to me coming in to Zurich airport, when the customs guy decided that I must have bought a piece of kit outside of CH and should be charged for it... Had a big argument, in which he was basically saying "you should have taken proof of purchase before leaving the country"...

My reply was "WTF?! Get real." He saw sense in the end, but not everyone will always get away with it.
Have seen something similar while on a day trip to Austria/Slovakia from Zurich. German colleague buys a Navyboot bag in Duty free and get's hauled over by the Austrian customs. She has to prove she lives in CH, and is returning the same day (with the item) to avoid AT Tax on the spot plus an undeclared goods fine.
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Old 06.12.2010, 15:39
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

According to this - relatively old article - you can only claim the Austrian VAT back on the material, not the work. That's why Germany is the better choice:
http://www.ktipp.ch/themen/beitrag/1...er_Reparaturen
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Old 06.12.2010, 15:46
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

Official link on customs limits: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en
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Old 06.12.2010, 15:48
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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That's the link I was looking for and couldn't find...

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If the total value of the goodscarried along or the repair and maintenance work carried out abroad (e.g. on a motor vehicle) exceeds CHF 300.-, you must pay duty and tax on the full value, not just the value above the allowance. You cannot group individual allowances together.
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Old 06.12.2010, 16:10
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

Thanks a lot. Note to self ... forget car repair ... claim winter pneus.
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Old 06.12.2010, 16:22
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

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Thanks a lot. Note to self ... forget car repair ... claim winter pneus.
Note also (from the page cited above):

Diverse goods which constitute one unit (sets e.g. as in model railway kits, 4 summer tyres, a dismantled bed or cutlery sets, parquet or tiles) may not be shared out between several people. Sets of this nature are, if they exceed the CHF 300 ceiling value, liable to tax as a unit.
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Old 06.12.2010, 17:20
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Re: Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH?

Snow pneus < EUR 200 (only bought 2) so < CHF 300 so no import tax / duty. Nice.
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