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Old 22.01.2019, 20:50
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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We import a lot of goods all the time, but privately, not as a firm or commercially.
Yes, I import things personally from time to time. But what has that got to do with the 2 questions on this thread from people who clearly do want to import and sell them on commercially?
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Old 23.01.2019, 07:28
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

Again, the second user hasn't specified quantities, so we do not know as yet whether it is commercial or just at a private/hobby level you mentioned.
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Old 23.01.2019, 10:56
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

I'm amazed at the range of random replies here. I really suggest you get some decent VAT advice from the outset. The risk of getting it wrong is 20% ish (the typical VAT rate in most countries) of your turnover, plus interest and penalties. Due to all the recent law changes and proliferation of online traders in recent years, this is a hot topic. Below is how I understand and hopefully gives you the search terms to research this further yourself. But I really suggest you get an adviser.

Switzerland is not part of the EU Single Market or Customs Area and so not within the EU VAT system, although it's a similar system.

To understand which country's VAT applies, you need to determine the "place of supply" of the goods. I'm guessing in your case this would be the place where the buyer is located. In general, VAT tries to apply the correct rate where the goods/services are consumed and not where they are made (it is a consumption tax afterall). See link:
https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_custom...c/where-tax_en

(I think these are the same rules Switzerland has introduced from 1 January 2019, https://pestalozzilaw.com/en/news/le...-january-2019/, but you are already in Switzerland)

Then to determine if you must register for VAT in that country (or can be exempt from charging that country's VAT), you need to check the registration thresholds. The normal VAT thresholds apply when selling within a country e.g. CHF 100k in Switzerland. Note that there are DIFFERENT RULES for distance selling to consumers (i.e. selling to non-VAT registered people in another country, so-called "B2C sales"), which might be the more relevant piece for you. These are relatively new rules.
https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_custom..._ec_annexi.pdf
Observe that some thresholds are extremely low (or nil!)

However, you should not need to register in every EU country, rather you should be able to register in one EU country and then handle VAT across the EU using the Mini One Stop Shop system. This is a system designed to simplify admin and ensure you can fill in forms in your home country language, and was introduced along with distance selling rule changes around 2015, if I recall correctly.
https://ec.europa.eu/taxation_custom...e-stop-shop_en

You can find easier to read articles by googling the terms above. Rules will be similar in all EU countries (even if registration thresholds, admin, deadlines, VAT rates, etc differ). Examples I found from a quick google:
https://www.revenue.ie/en/vat/goods-...les/index.aspx
https://taxbackinternational.com/distance-selling/

If you drive your goods to Germany, you will need to handle all the German VAT and (if applicable) customs duties on import (the term to search for is "import VAT"). Countries which have small de minimus exemptions (e.g. CHF 300 coming into Switzerland) may only apply when for goods for personal consumption, not to traders, so check this. You will still need to charge VAT of the country of your buyer (e.g. Belgium), under the distance selling rules (but you should be able to pay this over under the MOSS in Germany, I think, not do anything in Belgium). Most businesses would seek to reclaim the German VAT paid on import, but this is only possible if you are registered for VAT in Germany (whether voluntarily - which might be a good idea, or because you are above the German normal VAT threshold, or above the Belgium/other distance selling thresholds). There would be no further customs duties once the goods are flowing inside the EU Customs Area.

A side note: if you are considered to have a place of business in Germany (e.g. your friend's house where you store and pack goods before posting), you will also need to register as a business there, pay corporate/income tax, etc. So potentially you want to avoid this.

When people say it's the importer's duty to account for VAT, and this would be your customer, they are assuming 2 things:
1) that you hand over responsibility for the goods as soon as you put it in the post in Switzerland, so your customer is responsible for duties after that (probably true if you are chucking small things in the post, but bigger items with delivery companies / forwarders have varying terms and conditions), **AND**
2) that you have not exceeded any of the distance selling registration thresholds in the countries where the sellers are located

In recent times, tax authorities have been trawling sites like Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, etc to catch non-registered traders (especially sellers in China). There are also new laws being passed to push some responsibility to Ebay/Amazaon/etc themselves, and you may find that you cannot sell on these platforms unless you comply with their rules. For example:
https://tamebay.com/2018/03/amazon-u...march-5th.html

If you are hoping to post very small items, mark them as "gifts" and hope no-one notices, bear in mind that some countries have low (or nil) gift exemption limits, random inspections do happen...

You presumably will be paying Swiss VAT when you purchase your raw materials. Being voluntarily VAT registered in Switzerland would allow you to reclaim this (but would require you to also charge VAT to Swiss customers). It's no longer voluntary once over CHF 100k.

The above may not be exactly correct and I really suggest you do your own further research and/or get an advisor involved at the beginning. Once your advisor has shown you how to to the registrations and do your first VAT/MOSS filings, you could then get on with things yourself.
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Old 23.01.2019, 11:03
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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Again, the second user hasn't specified quantities, so we do not know as yet whether it is commercial or just at a private/hobby level you mentioned.
The threshold for commercial (Gewerblich) in Germany is pretty low:
In general it is any independent, enduring activity with the aim to make profit.

The Swiss Customs specifies that any import with the intend to sale/resale is a commercial one https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/de/home...anmeldung.html

Also German Customs specifies when a import is considered as private/non-commercial:
https://www.zoll.de/DE/Privatpersone...ngen_node.html
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Die Waren sind für den persönlichen Ge- oder Verbrauch bestimmt.
Die Reisemitbringsel dürfen ausschließlich zum persönlichen Gebrauch oder Verbrauch des Reisenden, für Angehörige seines Haushalts oder als Geschenk bestimmt sein. Ein entgeltliches Mitbringen für andere ist somit nicht möglich. Die Waren dürfen keinesfalls zu gewerblichen Zwecken bestimmt sein.
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Old 23.01.2019, 11:13
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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2) that you have not exceeded any of the distance selling registration thresholds in the countries where the sellers are located

In recent times, tax authorities have been trawling sites like Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, etc to catch non-registered traders (especially sellers in China). There are also new laws being passed to push some responsibility to Ebay/Amazaon/etc themselves, and you may find that you cannot sell on these platforms unless you comply with their rules. For example:
https://tamebay.com/2018/03/amazon-u...march-5th.html
Has the EU VAT regulations for such sales from outside the customs region (like Switzerland has no)? AFAIK this provisions only apply for intra-EU trade and items which are already in warehouses inside the EU but not for actual shipments from outside the EU.

Most private sales across borders are the equivalent of Incoterm CPT or CIP.
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Old 24.01.2019, 15:26
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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Has the EU VAT regulations for such sales from outside the customs region (like Switzerland has no)? AFAIK this provisions only apply for intra-EU trade and items which are already in warehouses inside the EU but not for actual shipments from outside the EU.

Most private sales across borders are the equivalent of Incoterm CPT or CIP.
Ah I think you're right, it's catching non-EU traders who hold their stock in the EU (e.g. in an Amazon Warehouse), which would not apply to the OP. My mistake.
https://www2.deloitte.com/ie/en/page...in-the-eu.html
https://tamebay.com/2014/11/daily-mi...n-ebay-uk.html

So then it's not so different to B2B then, the importer liable for the import VAT and customs, and as you say this would be the person who bought online.
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Old 24.01.2019, 15:33
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

If anyone needs a tax expert specialized on indirect tax (i.e. VAT and customs duties) just send me a PM.
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Old 01.02.2019, 15:18
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

i have a swiss company and i want to import some electronic goods from EU.


a) can the supplier sell me the items without charging me VAT?
b) do i have to file any documents during importation?
c) do i have to pay VAT during importation?
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Old 01.02.2019, 15:21
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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a) can the supplier sell me the items without charging me VAT?
Yes. You can ask the seller to remove the EU (respective country)'s VAT as they are sending the goods to Switzerland.
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Old 01.02.2019, 15:24
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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Yes. You can ask the seller to remove the EU (respective country)'s VAT as they are sending the goods to Switzerland.

But their is no obligation for them to do so if they don't want too !
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Old 01.02.2019, 15:25
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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But their is no obligation for them to do so if they don't want too !
This is true, unfortunately.

I was going to order something from the UK and asked the seller if they removed the UK VAT as they were shipping to Switzerland. Initially they said no, but that I could claim it back. I queried this as I was perplexed by the response. I asked how I could I claim it back.
After they escalated it, they corrected their initial reply and said that even UK customers were not paying VAT on their orders as the orders were shipped from Guernsey! So there was no UK VAT to remove.
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Old 01.02.2019, 17:13
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

does anyone have experience from claiming back VAT?
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  #53  
Old 01.02.2019, 17:24
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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does anyone have experience from claiming back VAT?
If it is sent to your Swiss address, than the seller has the option do not charge VAT at all, so nothing to claim back.

If it sent to Packetstation, than you must get the appropriate export stamp at the EU border post. And then sent the stamped papers back to the seller. Not all goods are eligible for a VAT refund using this route.

For example with Amazon.de this is an easy and established process https://www.amazon.de/gp/help/custom...deId=201999220

As mentioned above waiving/reimbursing VAT on export is purely optional and not all seller will do it. Check with your seller before you order. If you ship it to a Paketstation also check if the particular goods are eligible for VAT refund.

To answer b) No, not if all export papers are in order. You may have to provide additional information if any paper relevant for the import process is missing.

c) Yes. And handling fee to the shipping provider (Post/DHL/FedEx etc.) If papers are missing the handling fee might increase. If you are a regular costumer the fee might be considerably lower.
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Old 11.02.2019, 20:57
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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But their is no obligation for them to do so if they don't want too !

yes, indeed this is the case from my experience. however, I do not understand why. What does it cost them to sell without VAT or fill the form for the tax refund? is there is something I am missing?
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Old 11.02.2019, 21:12
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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yes, indeed this is the case from my experience. however, I do not understand why. What does it cost them to sell without VAT or fill the form for the tax refund? is there is something I am missing?

You can't just "sell without VAT" you need to create the full paper trails to show the goods have been exported outside of the EU


Some retailers just cannot be arsed with the extra paperwork and so refuse to refund VAT.


Some take a large percentage to "cover costs"


Some use Global Blue who screw you totally in "admin costs" I believe, but i am not 100% sure, the shareholders of Global Blue are actually the retailers themselves........cosy or what


Triples all around please
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Old 11.02.2019, 21:37
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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yes, indeed this is the case from my experience. however, I do not understand why. What does it cost them to sell without VAT or fill the form for the tax refund? is there is something I am missing?
For border stores it is daily business, now imagine a small store in a small place 750km from the EU border, should law really force them to sort out all these rules of which they have no clue to refund somebody a few bucks?

Besides that why should the put in laws that benefits nobody in their country but only would cost them money?
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Old 12.02.2019, 08:01
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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For border stores it is daily business, now imagine a small store in a small place 750km from the EU border, should law really force them to sort out all these rules of which they have no clue to refund somebody a few bucks Besides that why should the put in laws that benefits nobody in their country but only would cost them money?
The more attractive the offers, including hassle-free VAT refunds, the more likely people will shop there more and more, generating turnover for that country's businesses/economy.
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Old 12.02.2019, 09:31
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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You can't just "sell without VAT" you need to create the full paper trails to show the goods have been exported outside of the EU


Some retailers just cannot be arsed with the extra paperwork and so refuse to refund VAT.


Some take a large percentage to "cover costs"


Some use Global Blue who screw you totally in "admin costs" I believe, but i am not 100% sure, the shareholders of Global Blue are actually the retailers themselves........cosy or what


Triples all around please
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For border stores it is daily business, now imagine a small store in a small place 750km from the EU border, should law really force them to sort out all these rules of which they have no clue to refund somebody a few bucks?

Besides that why should the put in laws that benefits nobody in their country but only would cost them money?
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The more attractive the offers, including hassle-free VAT refunds, the more likely people will shop there more and more, generating turnover for that country's businesses/economy.
But you're all talking about retail sales, the thread is about commercial B2B sales across borders. There's no real paperwork to do to invoice a company abroad without VAT except ensure the goods are actually being delivered there and that you fill out a customs form at the Post office or with DHL or whoever (which you'd have to do even if you decided to charge them VAT).

I've bought loads of goods commercially over the years, and even when a small company in the middle of nowhere in the UK didn't know they should remove the UK VAT from my invoice to sell to me ie outside the EU I just tell them to call their accountant to get confirmation. I usually get an email back in 10 mins with an invoice with no VAT and a thanks for telling them something they didn't know.
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Old 12.02.2019, 13:17
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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But you're all talking about retail sales, the thread is about commercial B2B sales across borders. There's no real paperwork to do to invoice a company abroad without VAT except ensure the goods are actually being delivered there and that you fill out a customs form at the Post office or with DHL or whoever (which you'd have to do even if you decided to charge them VAT).

I've bought loads of goods commercially over the years, and even when a small company in the middle of nowhere in the UK didn't know they should remove the UK VAT from my invoice to sell to me ie outside the EU I just tell them to call their accountant to get confirmation. I usually get an email back in 10 mins with an invoice with no VAT and a thanks for telling them something they didn't know.

Yes, but there still needs to be a proof that the goods have been exported outside the EU whether it is private or business
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Old 12.02.2019, 13:31
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Re: Selling good to the EU - Charge VAT?

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But you're all talking about retail sales, the thread is about commercial B2B sales across borders. There's no real paperwork to do to invoice a company abroad without VAT except ensure the goods are actually being delivered there and that you fill out a customs form at the Post office or with DHL or whoever (which you'd have to do even if you decided to charge them VAT).
Some are afraid that they do it wrong, the documentation not accepted, and still are liable for VAT 9 years after sending the goods abroad.

In theory it is simple and explained on the websites of every German IHK
https://www.darmstadt.ihk.de/produkt...0#titleInText1
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