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Old 02.11.2020, 18:36
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Care package from family

Hey!

My mom want to send us a "care package" with some things for our son and also we are thinking to ask for some food goodies (meat) form my region in Spain that are difficult and/or expensive.

Does anyone have experience with that kind of parcels? I don't want to avoid pay customs, but I don't know if there is a possibility to pay less customs since the parcel is send as a present from a close relative to a whole family to 3 people. When talking about the people I'm thinking specifically on the meat, since if you cross the border with some products customs take into account how many people is crossing with you.

Besides that, we don't know if we can categorize the shipping as importing "household items" since we just moved here. We already did an import of our stuff that was in Finland and I know you can continue importing stuff for two years since you enter the country, but I don't if all should be from the same origin.

Please, I want to stress that we don't want to avoid to pay customs, just know if there is any option for families, since all the information is related to shopping and so…
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Old 02.11.2020, 19:39
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Re: Care package from family

Hello

Receiving package via post is different than crossing the border and taking the products with you. First, there's no difference between buying from an online shop or getting a package from the family. If the whole package + shipping if more than 65 CHF you pay 7.7% VAT https://www.ch.ch/en/ordering-goods-abroad/

There are things with fixed costs like how much Swiss Post wants for dealing with customs (~18 CHF), if customs need to open the box because the description is not good (13 CHF) and VAT 7.7%.

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...ods-value.html

Did not find a reference but any electronic material (ie baby monitor) will pay a tax for the disposal of electronic waste.

I have the awful experience of sending chocolates to the family. The whole import process to home country was so complicate that it was simpler to tell DHL to cancel. We got the package back a month later and end of story. Now we just send postcards and photos In general the import/export of clothing has no problems, electronics is just money and food stuff is hell.
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Old 02.11.2020, 20:21
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Re: Care package from family

No customs / VAT if it is a gift and is less than 100 CHF value.

Last edited by Nocando; 02.11.2020 at 20:22. Reason: Typo
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Old 02.11.2020, 20:23
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Re: Care package from family

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No customs / VAT if it is a gift and is less than 100 CHF value.
65 CHF including shipping is tax free, meat has a huge surcharge possibly 19 chf a KG.
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Old 02.11.2020, 21:35
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Re: Care package from family

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65 CHF including shipping is tax free, meat has a huge surcharge possibly 19 chf a KG.
For gifts it is 100 CHF - from the Post website:

"Gifts sent from private individuals living abroad to private individuals in Switzerland are duty-free up to a goods value of CHF 100.00."
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Old 02.11.2020, 22:47
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Re: Care package from family

What I can get form the post website is that if it's a present from a private individual (my mom) and the value of the present is up to 100 CHF I don't have to pay import duties. I think that the cost of the shipping doesn't have to be included on the value of the present.

What I can find if any information about what I can import. I mean… if I want to import meat (dry) like in this case. Am I going to face any trouble?
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Old 02.11.2020, 22:52
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Re: Care package from family

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What I can get form the post website is that if it's a present from a private individual (my mom) and the value of the present is up to 100 CHF I don't have to pay import duties. I think that the cost of the shipping doesn't have to be included on the value of the present.

What I can find if any information about what I can import. I mean… if I want to import meat (dry) like in this case. Am I going to face any trouble?
I have no idea about the meat part, but the value of the goods always includes the postage cost.
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Old 03.11.2020, 08:52
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Re: Care package from family

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What I can get form the post website is that if it's a present from a private individual (my mom) and the value of the present is up to 100 CHF I don't have to pay import duties. I think that the cost of the shipping doesn't have to be included on the value of the present.

What I can find if any information about what I can import. I mean… if I want to import meat (dry) like in this case. Am I going to face any trouble?
I believe the shipping needs to be included as it is for other packs - just be on the safe side if you don't find the answer.
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Old 03.11.2020, 09:28
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Re: Care package from family

I know of an expat who gets sent presents from family abroard. The family systematically always under declares the value of the parcels in order to avoid the import taxes. They often write 'used clothes', 'used toys' or 'used books' and put the value down as 5 or 10 ChF. Obviously I don't endorse this method. I am not a lawyer, but it feels like fraud to me. Still, this person has never had to pay import taxes and has never had any problems.

I would NOT endorse you doing something like this.

You could get in trouble for some kind of fraud, if the package goes damaged or missing, your insurance coverage might only be for the declared amount and probably there are other consequences. I don't know what'll happen if customs opens the package on either end. Or maybe you'll just end of like my friend, who gets lots of packages and never pays customs?
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Old 03.11.2020, 10:15
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Re: Care package from family

Be careful of meat. My family sent me a parcel that had 150g of vacuum packed dried meat included and Swiss customs destroyed the entire parcel. Im assuming its because the meat was from South Africa, but just check before asking your family to send you meat products.

And yes, they didn't just destroy the meat, they destroyed the whole package, which included some hand knitted items :-(
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Old 03.11.2020, 10:35
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Re: Care package from family

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I know of an expat who gets sent presents from family abroard. The family systematically always under declares the value of the parcels in order to avoid the import taxes. They often write 'used clothes', 'used toys' or 'used books' and put the value down as 5 or 10 ChF. Obviously I don't endorse this method. I am not a lawyer, but it feels like fraud to me. Still, this person has never had to pay import taxes and has never had any problems.

I would NOT endorse you doing something like this.

You could get in trouble for some kind of fraud, if the package goes damaged or missing, your insurance coverage might only be for the declared amount and probably there are other consequences. I don't know what'll happen if customs opens the package on either end. Or maybe you'll just end of like my friend, who gets lots of packages and never pays customs?
I don't think also that it's right. However, CHF 100 is a little bit low for today presents sometimes and It's not the same that you are gifted something from a friend than from your family. In this case my mom want to gift something to his grandson who hasn't seen in months due to the pandemic…

Situation right now it's quite complicated.

On another note… regarding this topic of value I always have a question. The value is the buying value or the selling value as second hand? Or what?

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Be careful of meat. My family sent me a parcel that had 150g of vacuum packed dried meat included and Swiss customs destroyed the entire parcel. Im assuming its because the meat was from South Africa, but just check before asking your family to send you meat products.

And yes, they didn't just destroy the meat, they destroyed the whole package, which included some hand knitted items :-(
If the parcel is coming form the EU they should do anything like that.

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...s--cites-.html

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I believe the shipping needs to be included as it is for other packs - just be on the safe side if you don't find the answer.
Not ask mentioned in here: https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...and/gifts.html

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When calculating the value of a postal item, the transport costs (freight, insurance and postage costs, etc.) should not be included.
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Old 03.11.2020, 11:21
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Re: Care package from family

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Be careful of meat. My family sent me a parcel that had 150g of vacuum packed dried meat included and Swiss customs destroyed the entire parcel. Im assuming its because the meat was from South Africa, but just check before asking your family to send you meat products.

And yes, they didn't just destroy the meat, they destroyed the whole package, which included some hand knitted items :-(
It's almost certainly because it was from SA. Switzerland does not allow meat and dairy products from anywhere except the EU.
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Old 03.11.2020, 11:23
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Re: Care package from family

As I understand it, you can receive a gift parcel from abroad with no taxes due if the value is up to 100 CHF per person in your household, as long as ALL names are listed on the parcel AND on the importation documentation. My experience has been that the importation documentation doesn't always allow multiple names and SwissPost defaults to what is on this, no matter if you've listed multiple names on other labels.


We've also been told by our Swiss neighbor that the postage should not be included in the value calculation as it has nothing to do with the goods being received, just the cost of sending them. Perhaps a nuanced interpretation of the T&Cs which you'd have to go to Bern to fight.


Where it gets confusing is that we've had times when taxes were due for packages with a claimed value under the 100 CHF threshold and times when no taxes were due when over the threshold. It really depends on what they want to do that day, if they open it you pay anyway and we've just come to accept that we may need to pay when we get a package from abroad.
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Old 03.11.2020, 11:44
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Re: Care package from family

Concerning food products, it's a mess. Yes, no problem around sending meat products among EU/Schengen countries but protectionist policies for local agriculture ensure significant import tariffs. There are endless tables for the import tax of every food product.....and the sender is responsible of knowing Swiss regulations and document the package correctly. Otherwise, customs have to open (more charges) and decide which tariff apply.

To avoid frustration prepare for the worst: 30, 50 or 100CHF. If you end up paying less, celebrate accordingly


PS, I remember there's a guy around here that imports cheeses commercially, forgot his name/handle, anyone remembers?
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Old 03.11.2020, 12:08
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Re: Care package from family

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PS, I remember there's a guy around here that imports cheeses commercially, forgot his name/handle, anyone remembers?
Do you mean Grumpy Grapefruit?

Last edited by 3Wishes; 03.11.2020 at 16:01. Reason: fixed quote
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Old 03.11.2020, 13:00
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Re: Care package from family

I'm hypothesizing that with Corona and the upcoming Christmas-season, we might get that 100 CHF "gift" limit raised, maybe significantly.


Meat and dairy are still off the table of course.
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Old 03.11.2020, 15:09
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Re: Care package from family

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I'm hypothesizing that with Corona and the upcoming Christmas-season, we might get that 100 CHF "gift" limit raised, maybe significantly.


Meat and dairy are still off the table of course.
May I ask why you think that? I would think they'd keep it as-is to encourage more support of the Swiss businesses.
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Old 03.11.2020, 15:29
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Re: Care package from family

For food stuff, take into consideration time delays...and don't ship chocolate. A friend shipped me some very pretty (and tasty) chocolate, and arrived an unrecognizable, hot mess (well, it cooled down by the time it was delivered to me ).
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Old 04.11.2020, 11:49
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Re: Care package from family

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...and don't ship chocolate..... .
Completely agree on this one. During the Caramilk hype in Aus, my family shipped over a few blocks of chocolate and a couple of the Twirl caramilk. As much as I kept putting it in my mouth and hoping for the best (insert some form of innuendo) it was just ruined. I'm not sure how many times it melted and solidified again but it was just awful.
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Old 04.11.2020, 12:17
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Re: Care package from family

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Hello

Receiving package via post is different than crossing the border and taking the products with you. First, there's no difference between buying from an online shop or getting a package from the family. If the whole package + shipping if more than 65 CHF you pay 7.7% VAT https://www.ch.ch/en/ordering-goods-abroad/.
Actually, it's if the MwsT is less than 5.00 your package should get through without checking or costs. 65.00 is the total if the goods are rated at 7.7%. Food products are rated at 2.5% so the total parcel value including delivery can be up to 200.00 (but of course, only if everything is 2.5% rated)

The complication would be having some meat in there, and I don't really know enough about what the values can be.

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Concerning food products, it's a mess. Yes, no problem around sending meat products among EU/Schengen countries but protectionist policies for local agriculture ensure significant import tariffs. There are endless tables for the import tax of every food product.....and the sender is responsible of knowing Swiss regulations and document the package correctly. Otherwise, customs have to open (more charges) and decide which tariff apply.

To avoid frustration prepare for the worst: 30, 50 or 100CHF. If you end up paying less, celebrate accordingly


PS, I remember there's a guy around here that imports cheeses commercially, forgot his name/handle, anyone remembers?
Yes that's me, but importing commercially is very different, and mostly much easier, than importing personally by post.
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