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Old 05.10.2007, 11:55
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Tax refund: EU online-shopping

Hello,

I am thinking about making a purchase from an online snowboard shop located in Austria.

I have asked the merchant about tax-free shopping for Swiss(non-EU) residents, and they do not offer this service (e.g. like with Amazon.co.uk or Amazon.de). Therefore, I will have to go and pay the Austrian VAT / Mehrwertsteuer. The value of the purchase incl. VAT is €345.

My concern though, is on the package’s arrival in Switzerland, I will get a nice letter from the friendly neighbourhood Swiss Customs which will advise me to pay the Swiss duty + VAT.

I don’t have a problem with paying the Swiss, as its less than what the Austrians want anyway. But is there a way to get a refund on the VAT that I pay to the Austrians, so that I don’t end up paying VAT twice?

Does anyone have any experience / advice?

Cheers
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Old 05.10.2007, 12:06
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

Normally an Austrian company should NOT charge you VAT when they ship into CH.

I used to own a company in Germany that shipped products all over Europe, and I never charged VAT into CH, only into EU countries.

Weird. Does the shipper know what he is doing??
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Old 05.10.2007, 13:12
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

I called them up last week, and they said that they do not deduct VAT for CH anymore, as this complicated their bookkeeping process. Ha!
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Old 05.10.2007, 13:16
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

Well, in my case it was German law that kept me from adding VAT to shipments outside the EU, I don't think it was an option for me.
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Old 05.10.2007, 13:18
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

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I called them up last week, and they said that they do not deduct VAT for CH anymore, as this complicated their bookkeeping process. Ha!
Obviously they're too lazy to care about their customers. I suggest you shop somewhere else.
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Old 05.10.2007, 13:21
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

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I called them up last week, and they said that they do not deduct VAT for CH anymore, as this complicated their bookkeeping process. Ha!
Surely they mean "We charge you for it, and then we reverse the transaction and pocket the VAT. Ha!"
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Old 05.10.2007, 13:29
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

A friend of mine uses www.vatfree.nl to buy items from any (that includes internetshops) shop within the Netherlands without VAT. It works well - however they charge a fee, but its lower than the usual rip-off fee's the other tax-free companies charge. Its great for shopping at stores that dont want the hassle or just dont understand the request and therefore refuse to sell to you.

Check it out here: www.vatfree.nl

How does it work?
What is VAT?
VAT is the international term for ‘Value added Tax’. In the Netherlands it is called BTW. A general, broadly based consumption tax charged on all sold goods. The percentages of VAT differ from country to country. In the Netherlands the rate for most articles is 19%. Each traveller who lives outside the European Union and purchases goods in the EU for personal use, is eligible to shop tax-free.

What is VATfree NL?
VATfree NL is a new web-based service that makes it easy for visitors from outside the EU to shop tax-free at all shops in the Netherlands.

How does it work?
VATfree NL authorizes you, after becoming a free member, to purchase goods in the Netherlands in VATfree NL’s name. After you purchase the desired items, you can register all purchases on www.vatfree.nl. The website then generates an invoice that effectively ‘sells’ these items back to you implementing a 0% VAT rate. The VATfree invoice will show the amount you paid for the goods in the shop and the total amount of the items purchased from VATfree NL. The difference between these amounts will be refunded to the customer .

How much does it cost?
VATfree NL works on a no cure, no pay basis. VATfree NL deducts a percentage of the refund to cover administrative costs. This handling fee is an average of 4% of the total purchased amount (the handling fee is 5% when the total purchase amount is below € 1000 and only 3% when it is above € 3000). Calculate your exact refund with the refund calculator on the home-page.

Your benefits:
Shop tax-free in all shops in the Netherlands
Maximum refund due to low VATfree handling fee
Choose your own time to register purchases online (save time at the shops)
Quick handling by International Customs (only one invoice needs a stamp)
Effective and quick processing
An average of 15% refund guaranteed
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Old 05.10.2007, 20:03
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

I have ordered quite a lot of stuff from online shops in Germany and the UK. They always take the VAT off as soon as you put in the delivery address in Switzerland. If a company doesn't do it I simply don't shop with them.

Incidently there are 2 ways of getting caught for the tax. One is that your postman simply demands it off you before giving you your parcel. The second is that an "einzahlungschein" arrives in the post a week or so after delivery. You pay the swiss VAT 7.6% plus customs fee 33CHF plus Administration fee 10CHF, so the more value you import the better value it becomes!!!

Is it by any chance Blue Tomato that you are buy the stuff off?... I imagined they would take the tax off.

Last edited by Eire; 05.10.2007 at 20:07. Reason: extra info
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Old 06.10.2007, 12:30
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

No its not Blue Tomato, but I had a look and there were some cool stuff. Thanks for the tip.

Any more recommendations for online snowboard shops (in Germany or the Netherlands)? I find that in general there are better deals on equipment than on the Swiss websites.
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Old 06.10.2007, 22:01
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Re: Tax refund: EU online-shopping

Check out www.chainreactioncycles.com they are a Northern Irish based online bike shop. They also do snowboard stuff. I have bought a lot of bike stuff off them and if you order on monday you will have it before the weekend. They have free shipping on items over £100 in value, they offer CHF prices on their website, and they deduct the VAT automatically when you put your address in as Switzerland. I have had good experiences with them on the biking front, I can't see any reason why they would be different for snowboarding gear.

Also another tip for snowboarding gear if you are around Zurich at the moment. There is a shop in Wallisellen that gives a 20% discount on all this years (2008) snow sports stock for the first 2 weeks in October. Could be worth getting down there this week! The shops name is Sport Plausch Wider. If you google them you will find their website.

Hope we get lots of white fluffy stuff to go play in this winter.
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