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Old 22.10.2013, 21:26
BaselPT BaselPT is offline
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Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

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I think youīre mixing up the free allowances:

When travelling, i.e. personally crossing the border, the free allowance is CHF 300 net-value of the goods (without foreign VAT) per day.

For deliveries (i.e. someone else professionally transporting the goods for you) the free allowance is CHF 5 in applicable VAT per delivery. In this case you have to differentiate between 8% "normal" Swiss VAT and 2.6% (I think) "reduced" Swiss VAT for books and other specified items.

Donīt know why itīs like that, donīt kill the messenger.

The importer is responsible for paying applicable VAT on the Swiss side. The post usually handles this for you (adding their modest CHF 45 handling fee).
I did mean Swiss VAT above.

What was confusing for me was that I imagined Amazon added the VAT according to the Swiss rate. Apparently not.

So the bottom line is, when you order stuff from Amazon, if it is books under 192 CHF you are VAT free (wow), but generally only if under 62.5 CHF (which would correspond to 5 CHF at 8%) for other items, otherwise you get stung an extra 45 by the post office for the "favour" on top of the swiss VAT. That handling fee is very steep percentage-wise unless you are ordering something really expensive. And I imagine that if you do pay the French/German VAT ordering something from a vendor that doesn't deduct, the Post might think you didn't pay any VAT and still charge the handling fee + swiss VAT, no?
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