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Old 09.10.2011, 22:52
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Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

Hi,

I understand that the tax free shopping limit (e.g. when bringing goods from Germany to Switzerland) is CHF 300 per person.

If we are a family of 5, with 4 children, is our total limit CHF 1500 per trip, assuming no single purchase is over CHF 300?

Thanks!
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Old 09.10.2011, 22:56
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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Hi,

I understand that the tax free shopping limit (e.g. when bringing goods from Germany to Switzerland) is CHF 300 per person.

If we are a family of 5, with 4 children, is our total limit CHF 1500 per trip, assuming no single purchase is over CHF 300?

Thanks!
Yes, unless it's food. Then the limit is CHF 300 per vehicle, period (though you are allowed 5x500g meat, etc.).

Tom
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Old 09.10.2011, 23:19
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

That's good news, but just to be really clear, does that mean our family of 5 bring in up to CHF 300 in food, plus up to CHF 1200 in clothes, shoes, toys etc? (recognizing the limits on quantities of meat, alcohol, cigarettes etc)
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Old 09.10.2011, 23:20
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

and just noticed my OP typo, we are 2 adults and 3 children (not 4)
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Old 09.10.2011, 23:22
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

I got stopped at custom's 2 days ago- with a rib of beef weighing 950gr. I said I'd forgotten about the limit, blabla - and offered to pay duty, but he let me off. I asked him if the 300CHF limit is per car or per person, and he defo replied it is per person.

And yet, from the official website: (quote):

1. Fundamentals

Within the scope of the tax and duty free limit of CHF 300, foodstuffs (excluding alcoholic beverages), for private consumption in one’s own household are basically duty free to the extent that they are imported personally while travelling.

With regard to sensitive agricultural products in accordance with section 2, there are, however, the limits mentioned below on quantities, all quantities exceeding these limits, regardless of their value, are always liable to taxation.

Furthermore, should the total value of the goods imported exceed CHF 300, then all the goods will be liable to taxation. Adding together (accumulation) of the tax-free limit for several persons is forbidden.

The maximum amounts and limits are permissible per person and on a daily basis.
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Old 09.10.2011, 23:25
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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That's good news, but just to be really clear, does that mean our family of 5 bring in up to CHF 300 in food, plus up to CHF 1200 in clothes, shoes, toys etc? (recognizing the limits on quantities of meat, alcohol, cigarettes etc)
Yes.

Food is not additive (in value, but yes in quantities), but wine, alcohol, cigarettes are (both in value and quantity), as are other things.

BUT, no single item can be valued more than CHF 300.

Also, if you claim back the foreign VAT, you MUST declare to the Swiss! (which makes sense, far better not to pay 20% foreign VAT and pay 8% Swiss VAT, really a no-brainer)

Tom
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Old 09.10.2011, 23:33
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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That's good news, but just to be really clear, does that mean our family of 5 bring in up to CHF 300 in food, plus up to CHF 1200 in clothes, shoes, toys etc? (recognizing the limits on quantities of meat, alcohol, cigarettes etc)
Yes, as long as the items in each 300CHF tranche are considered different.

Using the example given in the official text, you couldn't all bring in 300CHF of floor tiles each making CHF1200 in total or if you were all into model railways, you couldn't bring in more than CHF300 in model railway bits.
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Old 09.10.2011, 23:41
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

You do NOT need to declare anything to the Swiss authorities just for claiming the German MWST back; only if it's over 300 CHF.

Maybe that's what you meant, but it seemed like a blanket statement.
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Old 10.10.2011, 00:25
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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Also, if you claim back the foreign VAT, you MUST declare to the Swiss! (which makes sense, far better not to pay 20% foreign VAT and pay 8% Swiss VAT, really a no-brainer)
No you don't.

Levying VAT is a matter for the country of sale, and levying import duty is a matter for the country of destination.

Or in plain English: The Germans are not the least bit bothered where you take the stuff you bought in Germany after you take it out of th country, or whether or not you declare it to the authorities of the country you import it into. All they care about is whether or not you export it into a non-EU country, without having used it in an EU country first.

The Swiss for their part don't care whether or not you paid VAT (and to whom), or whether you are going to claim it back, or whether you forgot to get the stamp at German customs, or whether you don't have a receipt at all because you bought your (say) fillet of beef in a cash-in-hand transaction in a back alley in the darkest part of Konstanz. All they care about is whether the value of the stuff you import exceeds CHF 300,- per person (non cumulative) and/or more specific limits, should those exist.
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Old 10.10.2011, 00:31
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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Yes, as long as the items in each 300CHF tranche are considered different.

Using the example given in the official text, you couldn't all bring in 300CHF of floor tiles each making CHF1200 in total or if you were all into model railways, you couldn't bring in more than CHF300 in model railway bits.
Really interesting thread. Thank you to all those discussing this so eloquently.

A question .. what about clothes? Last week we were in Austria and I stocked up on the kids clothes and shoes for winter. We were within our 1200 Chf limit and no one item was more than 300 Chf. Presumeably clothes are not lumped together treated as tiles are in the above example? Or are they?
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Old 10.10.2011, 00:32
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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The Germans are not the least bit bothered where you take the stuff you bought in Germany after you take it out of th country, or whether or not you declare it to the authorities of the country you import it into
That sounds accurate, but it isn't. Maybe they all get kick-backs, or they're best mates down the pub, but the German customs people in Basel are totally happy to grass you up to the Swiss side. They have a hot line to call.

When I brought my bike over the border and the German chap stamped my form,as I was wheeling it to the (empty) Swiss customs office, he called the Swiss guy standing by the cars who came running over to me.

There was another thread where the German people took a photocopy of the invoice they stamped, passed it to the Swiss who then fined the person for not declaring it (the Swiss office was closed at the time - one is meant to put the declaration in the post box and wait for the payment slip to arrive).

I was very surprised too by this behaviour.
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Old 10.10.2011, 00:42
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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That sounds accurate, but it isn't. Maybe they all get kick-backs, or they're best mates down the pub, but the German customs people in Basel are totally happy to grass you up to the Swiss side. They have a hot line to call.

When I brought my bike over the border and the German chap stamped my form,as I was wheeling it to the (empty) Swiss customs office, he called the Swiss guy standing by the cars who came running over to me.

There was another thread where the German people took a photocopy of the invoice they stamped, passed it to the Swiss who then fined the person for not declaring it (the Swiss office was closed at the time - one is meant to put the declaration in the post box and wait for the payment slip to arrive).

I was very surprised too by this behaviour.
Thanks for that
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Old 10.10.2011, 00:43
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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Really interesting thread. Thank you to all those discussing this so eloquently.

A question .. what about clothes? Last week we were in Austria and I stocked up on the kids clothes and shoes for winter. We were within our 1200 Chf limit and no one item was more than 300 Chf. Presumeably clothes are not lumped together treated as tiles are in the above example? Or are they?
I get separate receipts in cases like these (no single transaction over CHF 300). Same for meat - if it's more than 500g, I play it safe and have it wrapped separately and paid for on separate receipts with different cards (or in cash).
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Old 10.10.2011, 01:32
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

Hi

http://www.hallo-schweiz.ch/CH_19_kaufen.htm

It is a infosite for the customs EU to Swiss I hope you understan German...

good luck...
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Old 10.10.2011, 01:35
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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That's good news, but just to be really clear, does that mean our family of 5 bring in up to CHF 300 in food, plus up to CHF 1200 in clothes, shoes, toys etc? (recognizing the limits on quantities of meat, alcohol, cigarettes etc)
Only persons 17 or older get duty free on alcohol and tobacco products.

source: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en
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Old 10.10.2011, 01:43
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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That sounds accurate, but it isn't. Maybe they all get kick-backs, or they're best mates down the pub, but the German customs people in Basel are totally happy to grass you up to the Swiss side. They have a hot line to call.

When I brought my bike over the border and the German chap stamped my form,as I was wheeling it to the (empty) Swiss customs office, he called the Swiss guy standing by the cars who came running over to me.

There was another thread where the German people took a photocopy of the invoice they stamped, passed it to the Swiss who then fined the person for not declaring it (the Swiss office was closed at the time - one is meant to put the declaration in the post box and wait for the payment slip to arrive).

I was very surprised too by this behaviour.

This was at the weil borders wasnt it....?
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Old 10.10.2011, 08:49
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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This was at the weil borders wasnt it....?
I think that happened to the guy in the queue infront of us at the St Margrethan border (Austria) on Thursday .. he got his form stamped, left, but before customs man would stamp ours he picked up a phone and was reading out the number plate of the guy in front into it. Husband and I assumed he was ringing the Swiss side because as we passed through, we saw he had been stopped.
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Old 10.10.2011, 09:46
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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A question .. what about clothes? Last week we were in Austria and I stocked up on the kids clothes and shoes for winter. We were within our 1200 Chf limit and no one item was more than 300 Chf. Presumeably clothes are not lumped together treated as tiles are in the above example? Or are they?
Good question - I've no idea. Perhaps someone else has personal experience of this?
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Old 10.10.2011, 10:00
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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A question .. what about clothes? Last week we were in Austria and I stocked up on the kids clothes and shoes for winter. We were within our 1200 Chf limit and no one item was more than 300 Chf. Presumeably clothes are not lumped together treated as tiles are in the above example? Or are they?
As I understand it, single items of clothing (jumpers, jeans, etc.) are not lumped together but a dinner suit or similar would be.


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All they care about is whether or not you export it into a non-EU country, without having used it in an EU country first.
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When I brought my bike over the border and the German chap stamped my form
Does this mean that if you happened to ride your shiny new bike to the border, then they could refuse to stamp your form if they were feeling that way out?
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Old 10.10.2011, 10:29
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Re: Tax free shopping limit when 5 in car

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As I understand it, single items of clothing (jumpers, jeans, etc.) are not lumped together but a dinner suit or similar would be.
Here is the official guidance from the Swiss customs website:
Other goods

For other goods in tourstic traffic there is a total value limit of CHF 300 per person.

This limit does not apply to alcohol, tobaccos and sensitive agricultural products such as meat and meat products, milk and milk products (not including cheese and curds), oils and fats exceeding a certain maximum amount.

If the total value of the goods carried 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.

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.

In short, if you have one of something and it costs over CHF300-, you owe tax. If you have a 'set' of something, and together that set costs over CHF300-, you owe tax.

I'm sure there's a grey area about what constitutes a 'set' of something. In the examples above, I can understand tyres, the bed, the cutlery and the parquet/tiles, but I have a harder time understanding the model railway kit.

If they're talking about a kit that comes in one big box, I understand. But if they're talking about lots of diverse bits and pieces, purchased separately, I'm less clear. If it were me, I'd chance it and argue the toss if Customs called me on it.
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