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Old 29.10.2007, 13:50
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Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

My mother has sent me a used (she bought it for herself and couldn't work it) camera for Christmas. I knew nothing about this until I got a Abholungseinladung in the post today asking me to pay 200CHF. I went to the post office but refused to pay because I didn't even know who had sent me package and what was in it. I then called the number on the Abholungseinladung who diverted me to SOL tax or something who told me that it was a camera and he even read me the message on the card that my mother had sent with it!!! -which also stated that she had tried to use the camera herself but couldn't work it. (technologically advanced mother!)
I spoke to the guy who said that any gift over 100CHF I must pay tax on, even if it is used (less than 6 months old). He said I could write a letter to the SOL inspekterate? but it would be a waste of time.
I just want to make sure he was correct before I pay it.
Thanks!
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Old 29.10.2007, 14:52
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

I can't answer your question, but I just wanted to make sure I read this correctly:

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he even read me the message on the card that my mother had sent with it!!! -which also stated that she had tried to use the camera herself but couldn't work it. (technologically advanced mother!)
They opened your package to read your mail?! Is this a standard procedure in Switzerland?

I will be following this thread closely because we'll be moving to Zurich shortly after the holidays and I'm hoping no one will notice all the newly received gifts amongst our belongings. There's no stopping grandma from sending the kid presents before and after we've moved.

Good luck finding out your answer.
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Old 29.10.2007, 15:10
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

It is not unusual to have packages opened where it is unclear what the contents are. They arrive resealed with customs sticky tape.

In this case the sender should have used a green adhesive customs form on the package to indicate the contents and value. ie. used camera no value of £25 etc...
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Old 29.10.2007, 16:08
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

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They opened your package to read your mail?! Is this a standard procedure in Switzerland?
It is standard procedure in almost any country and where goods arrive at customs without a customs declaration sticker.

It is also standard for the receiver to get charged for the privilege - handling and storage costs can be higher than the duty .

Last edited by swissbob; 29.10.2007 at 16:09. Reason: added the charges bit...
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Old 29.10.2007, 16:12
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

You can also get caught out by putting a false declaration on the box.

If there is no green label they generally open it and then declare it to a particular value. They also open at least 50% of my parcels that have green labels, even with Gift.........they are not that stupid. If there is no invoice in there then it will get sent on, but I seem to have heard that somewhere before that if something is less than 6 months old, you are still liable. Not sure though.
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Old 29.10.2007, 16:19
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

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It is not unusual to have packages opened where it is unclear what the contents are. They arrive resealed with customs sticky tape....
Eeeeek! I just thought about the 'Scandinavian movies' I just ordered ...
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Old 29.10.2007, 16:27
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

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I spoke to the guy who said that any gift over 100CHF I must pay tax on, even if it is used (less than 6 months old).
I thought the threshhold was CHF300, not CHF100...
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Old 29.10.2007, 17:00
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

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I thought the threshhold was CHF300, not CHF100...
I'm pretty sure it's 100 sfr for mail. It's 300 sfr when you bring it in person.
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Old 29.10.2007, 17:02
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

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My mother has sent me a used (she bought it for herself and couldn't work it) camera for Christmas. I knew nothing about this until I got a Abholungseinladung in the post today asking me to pay 200CHF. I went to the post office but refused to pay because I didn't even know who had sent me package and what was in it. I then called the number on the Abholungseinladung who diverted me to SOL tax or something who told me that it was a camera and he even read me the message on the card that my mother had sent with it!!! -which also stated that she had tried to use the camera herself but couldn't work it. (technologically advanced mother!)
I spoke to the guy who said that any gift over 100CHF I must pay tax on, even if it is used (less than 6 months old). He said I could write a letter to the SOL inspekterate? but it would be a waste of time.
I just want to make sure he was correct before I pay it.
Thanks!
If your mother paid any sort of VAT in the originating country, you might want to get a copy of the receipt if it shows that. It _could_ help out.

I'm not a tax accountant, btw.
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Old 29.10.2007, 17:09
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

Yes that is correct and they also made a copy of it. The guy I spoke to was in Zurich, my package is currently at the Winterthur post office. I can't believe it myself. He actually read me the xmas card my mother wrote that was with the camera.


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I can't answer your question, but I just wanted to make sure I read this correctly:



They opened your package to read your mail?! Is this a standard procedure in Switzerland?

I will be following this thread closely because we'll be moving to Zurich shortly after the holidays and I'm hoping no one will notice all the newly received gifts amongst our belongings. There's no stopping grandma from sending the kid presents before and after we've moved.

Good luck finding out your answer.
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Old 29.10.2007, 17:15
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

It had a green declaration sticker stating that it was camera and a gift with the actual value of the camera. Mum had to put that in case it went missing in the post so she had insurance. The question is: do I have to pay tax on an item sent to me a gift. I didn't order it, pay for it or even ask mum for it.

The guy I spoke to at the SOL place said she would just have to claim back the tax in Australia, which she can't do (I don't think). And she brought it in June and had been using it (or at least trying to use it) since then.
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Old 29.10.2007, 22:10
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

After thinking on it for a wee bit I have another question: I'm going on holiday outside Europe next week. Any chance I can claim the tax back?

I talked to mum tonight and she says that she filled in the green declaration sticker correctly with the help o the lady at the post office.

It's not so much the bill itself that is pissing me off, it's more the fact that they opened my xmas pressie (xmas wrapping and all), read my card and are now wanting to charge me for it. Mum was pretty excited about it and it's been well and truly spoiled now.



WorryWart, I'll let you know how I get on but as far as I can see I'd be telling grandma to stick to sending knitting unless you want to have it unwrapped by customs and then have to pay for it.
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Old 30.10.2007, 14:29
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

I had the same thing happen to me today. My mother-in-law send a gift for my son's birthday. The package doesn't appear to be opened but it has a Customs Declaration on it claiming a gift worth $100. When I went to pick up the package I had to pay $20! 1/4 of the value. I also received another package today for his birthday from a friend. It cam via UPS no declaration sticker and I didn't have to pay anything for it. I am so confused.... Do they only bill you for declared items? Will I get a bill in the mail later for the UPS gift?
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Old 30.10.2007, 14:48
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

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I had the same thing happen to me today. My mother-in-law send a gift for my son's birthday. The package doesn't appear to be opened but it has a Customs Declaration on it claiming a gift worth $100. When I went to pick up the package I had to pay $20! 1/4 of the value. I also received another package today for his birthday from a friend. It cam via UPS no declaration sticker and I didn't have to pay anything for it. I am so confused.... Do they only bill you for declared items? Will I get a bill in the mail later for the UPS gift?
100 USD = 116 CHF therefore duty payable.

With courier firms like UPS you will receive a bill from them rather than Customs if duty is due - they pay the duty, you pay them.
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Old 30.10.2007, 14:57
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

Thanks for the clarification. I guess I will tell everyone back home if they send anything to send only small things.
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Old 30.10.2007, 14:59
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

You've also got to watch out when you order books from e.g. Amazon. I've got piles of Tax-invoices for the 7.6% VAT plus (usually) Fr. 10.00 extra for postal taxes for the effort spent in collecting the above VAT....
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Old 30.10.2007, 15:04
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

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You've also got to watch out when you order books from e.g. Amazon. I've got piles of Tax-invoices for the 7.6% VAT plus (usually) Fr. 10.00 extra for postal taxes for the effort spent in collecting the above VAT....
Just a note,

Use Amazon.de not .co.uk

The prices are similar sometimes a little higher but you get free post to Switzerland and there is a higher threshold value on the VAT. There was an article about this the other week in a mag. (I cant find it at the mo.) but I tried it and it worked. Did not have to pay any post or duty on collection from the Post office. (there is an upper limit I think)
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Old 30.10.2007, 15:35
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

Just on principle I'd refuse to pay such an exorbitant amount, what brand camera is this, a Hasselblad ?! I wonder what happens if you refuse to pick up the item, return to sender? or something else?
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Old 30.10.2007, 16:34
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

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Just on principle I'd refuse to pay such an exorbitant amount, what brand camera is this, a Hasselblad ?! I wonder what happens if you refuse to pick up the item, return to sender? or something else?
The package is usually returned to the sender when a clear address is available. If the sender is not identifiable the item is stored and then once per quarter they are auctioned off opened of course

If you are worrying about the price of books and paying for them I would suggest you try www.english-book-service.de and don't forget to get the 10% discount for forum members...
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Old 30.10.2007, 17:22
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Re: Paying tax on a gift sent to me??

I have no idea what the brand is. I do remember mum talking about buying a fancy new digital camera in June so it must be that. The tax they are asking for is 9-10% of what they say it is worth. Will it help if I can get an value of what it would be worth now. Mum just put the price she paid for it but the value of a 4mth old, 2nd hand camera will be a bit less I think.

If I refuse they will return to sender.

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Just on principle I'd refuse to pay such an exorbitant amount, what brand camera is this, a Hasselblad ?! I wonder what happens if you refuse to pick up the item, return to sender? or something else?
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