Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Finance/banking/taxation  
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 22.10.2013, 16:38
Island Monkey's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Wallis
Posts: 3,605
Groaned at 61 Times in 31 Posts
Thanked 3,220 Times in 1,585 Posts
Island Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond repute
How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Is there a way to claim back VAT, if you buy something online from an EU country? I've just bought something from France, and regularly buy from UK and DE. Quite often, even though they are shipping to CH, you still get charged the VAT.

Thanks
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 22.10.2013, 17:00
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Basel
Posts: 604
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 366 Times in 221 Posts
BaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeable
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

You get charged the swiss VAT though, right?
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 22.10.2013, 17:00
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Zürich
Posts: 914
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 520 Times in 315 Posts
ChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
Is there a way to claim back VAT, if you buy something online from an EU country? I've just bought something from France, and regularly buy from UK and DE. Quite often, even though they are shipping to CH, you still get charged the VAT.

Thanks
If the delivery address is outside the EU, EU-merchants are not supposed to charge their respective local VAT.

I ordered on amazon.de many times, and VAT is routinely not charged.

However, as per your experience, not all merchants know this and follow the rules properly.

Strategy B would be to have your package sent to a place near the border but still in the EU, go there and collect it in person, and finish the tax-formalities yourself. If the stamped bill is returned to the merchant he can (but does not have to!) refund the VAT to you.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 22.10.2013, 17:03
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Zürich
Posts: 914
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 520 Times in 315 Posts
ChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
You get charged the swiss VAT though, right?
In the delivery-business, Swiss VAT will be charged if the collectible VAT exceeds CHF 5.00.

If you´re below CHF 5.00 applicable Swiss VAT it´s free, otherwise you´ll have to pay a handling fee of ~CHF45.00 to have the pleasure to be allowed to pay the applicable VAT.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 22.10.2013, 17:37
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Basel
Posts: 604
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 366 Times in 221 Posts
BaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeable
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Now you made me confused, Chris

I thought amazon.fr and .de would ship to Switzerland, not charge the French / German VAT, but charge the German one. Is it then the case they don't charge any VAT, even if the item(s) go over the personal daily allowance of 300 CHF for importing stuff into Switzerland for personal use?
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 22.10.2013, 17:47
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Zürich
Posts: 914
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 520 Times in 315 Posts
ChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
Now you made me confused, Chris

I thought amazon.fr and .de would ship to Switzerland, not charge the French / German VAT, but charge the German (question/edit: you mean Swiss?) one. Is it then the case they don't charge any VAT, even if the item(s) go over the personal daily allowance of 300 CHF for importing stuff into Switzerland for personal use?
I think you´re mixing up the free allowances:

When travelling, i.e. personally crossing the border, the free allowance is CHF 300 net-value of the goods (without foreign VAT) per day.

For deliveries (i.e. someone else professionally transporting the goods for you) the free allowance is CHF 5 in applicable VAT per delivery. In this case you have to differentiate between 8% "normal" Swiss VAT and 2.6% (I think) "reduced" Swiss VAT for books and other specified items.

Don´t know why it´s like that, don´t kill the messenger.

The importer is responsible for paying applicable VAT on the Swiss side. The post usually handles this for you (adding their modest CHF 45 handling fee).
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank ChrisNeedsToKnow for this useful post:
  #7  
Old 22.10.2013, 18:14
Island Monkey's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Wallis
Posts: 3,605
Groaned at 61 Times in 31 Posts
Thanked 3,220 Times in 1,585 Posts
Island Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond reputeIsland Monkey has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Yes, I had to pay the Swiss import tax. Many online sites though do not have the option of not paying the local VAT even though the item is being shipped to Switzerland!
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 22.10.2013, 18:17
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Zürich
Posts: 914
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 520 Times in 315 Posts
ChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
Yes, I had to pay the Swiss import tax. Many online sites though do not have the option of not paying the local VAT even though the item is being shipped to Switzerland!
It´s always worth contacting vendors beforehand. Sometimes they just don´t know about this, but on request fix it for you.

Depending on the value I wouldn´t buy from someone charging EU-VAT. That´s customer-care, and with a difference of 19% a more "expensive" vendor could become (loads) cheaper.

Simple email usually does the trick.

Rgds, Christian
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank ChrisNeedsToKnow for this useful post:
  #9  
Old 22.10.2013, 20:26
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Basel
Posts: 604
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 366 Times in 221 Posts
BaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeable
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
I think you´re mixing up the free allowances:

When travelling, i.e. personally crossing the border, the free allowance is CHF 300 net-value of the goods (without foreign VAT) per day.

For deliveries (i.e. someone else professionally transporting the goods for you) the free allowance is CHF 5 in applicable VAT per delivery. In this case you have to differentiate between 8% "normal" Swiss VAT and 2.6% (I think) "reduced" Swiss VAT for books and other specified items.

Don´t know why it´s like that, don´t kill the messenger.

The importer is responsible for paying applicable VAT on the Swiss side. The post usually handles this for you (adding their modest CHF 45 handling fee).
I did mean Swiss VAT above.

What was confusing for me was that I imagined Amazon added the VAT according to the Swiss rate. Apparently not.

So the bottom line is, when you order stuff from Amazon, if it is books under 192 CHF you are VAT free (wow), but generally only if under 62.5 CHF (which would correspond to 5 CHF at 8%) for other items, otherwise you get stung an extra 45 by the post office for the "favour" on top of the swiss VAT. That handling fee is very steep percentage-wise unless you are ordering something really expensive. And I imagine that if you do pay the French/German VAT ordering something from a vendor that doesn't deduct, the Post might think you didn't pay any VAT and still charge the handling fee + swiss VAT, no?
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 22.10.2013, 20:42
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Zürich
Posts: 914
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 520 Times in 315 Posts
ChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
So the bottom line is, when you order stuff from Amazon, if it is books under 192 CHF you are VAT free (wow),
As the free allowance is per package, not per day, it´s practically unlimited for books, unless you find a single book which is above the allowance. In all other cases, just split your order into as many packages as needed.

Quote:
View Post
but generally only if under 62.5 CHF (which would correspond to 5 CHF at 8%) for other items, otherwise you get stung an extra 45 by the post office for the "favour" on top of the swiss VAT. That handling fee is very steep percentage-wise unless you are ordering something really expensive.
yes - and they´re dead serious about this. I once had to pay 6.xx CHF, and 45 for the pleasure to be allowed to do so

Quote:
View Post
And I imagine that if you do pay the French/German VAT ordering something from a vendor that doesn't deduct, the Post might think you didn't pay any VAT and still charge the handling fee + swiss VAT, no?
Swiss VAT is calculated on

((netvalue + postage) * >>official fx-rate of yesterday<<) * applicable Swiss VAT rate = amount due

Swiss VAT is never added on top of the foreign VAT, no matter if the sender (incorrectly) charged it or (correctly) omitted it.

Last but not least, there might be a seperate customs duty. That depends on where the goods originate from, and some other details. I´m currently trying to get the hang of these details for professional reasons, but didn´t quite catch 100% of that yet... It doesn´t apply if the goods are from the EU, so in most cases there should be nothing to worry about.

Last edited by ChrisNeedsToKnow; 22.10.2013 at 20:53.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank ChrisNeedsToKnow for this useful post:
  #11  
Old 22.10.2013, 21:03
marton's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: Kt. Zürich
Posts: 10,651
Groaned at 351 Times in 302 Posts
Thanked 13,791 Times in 7,583 Posts
marton has a reputation beyond reputemarton has a reputation beyond reputemarton has a reputation beyond reputemarton has a reputation beyond reputemarton has a reputation beyond reputemarton has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
As the free allowance is per package, not per day, it´s practically unlimited for books, unless you find a single book which is above the allowance. In all other cases, just split your order into as many packages as needed.

yes - and they´re dead serious about this. I once had to pay 6.xx CHF, and 45 for the pleasure to be allowed to do so


Swiss VAT is calculated on

((netvalue + postage) * >>official fx-rate of yesterday<<) * applicable Swiss VAT rate = amount due

Swiss VAT SHOULD NOT BE added on top of the foreign VAT, no matter if the sender (incorrectly) charged it or (correctly) omitted it.

Last but not least, there might be a seperate customs duty. That depends on where the goods originate from, and some other details. I´m currently trying to get the hang of these details for professional reasons, but didn´t quite catch 100% of that yet... It doesn´t apply if the goods are from the EU, so in most cases there should be nothing to worry about.
Corrected that for you; if the foreign vendor has a vat included price rather than adding VAT seperately at the end then mistakes can be made when charging Swiss VAT on import.
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank marton for this useful post:
  #12  
Old 22.10.2013, 21:07
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Zürich
Posts: 914
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 520 Times in 315 Posts
ChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond reputeChrisNeedsToKnow has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
Corrected that for you; if the foreign vendor has a vat included price rather than adding VAT seperately at the end then mistakes can be made when charging Swiss VAT on import.
Thanks! Good to know. So if the bill doesn´t show the foreign VAT seperately, Swiss VAT might still (erroneously) be added on top?

Would there be a way to avoid that? For example, if the person handling the import sees this, would (s)he be allowed to extract the net value in one way or another?
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 22.10.2013, 21:59
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Basel
Posts: 604
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 366 Times in 221 Posts
BaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeable
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Thanks for the details.

It can be worth it for books or rather specific circumstances. Amazon free delivery starts at 20 EUR to Switzerland
http://www.amazon.fr/gp/help/custome...?nodeId=897504
http://www.amazon.de/gp/help/custome...?nodeId=505554
There are other free delivery deals for specific items (books, DVDs, games) which may qualify on lower value orders.

Although note that, as asked, mp3 downloads do not qualify for free shipping :P

Given that the maximum allowed VAT break is 5 CHF at 8%, and the original VAT is around 20%, you are saving on something like 12 CHF tops on the original VAT. However to be in such a situation you are risking that a exchange rate fluctuation sends you over the top and then you get the 45 CHF penalty.

But with the current exchange rate being very stable, one could do multiple orders of above 20 EUR and save on the VAT of around 4 EUR each order.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 23.10.2013, 06:55
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Zurich
Posts: 1,247
Groaned at 3 Times in 3 Posts
Thanked 603 Times in 391 Posts
axman has a reputation beyond reputeaxman has a reputation beyond reputeaxman has a reputation beyond reputeaxman has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Is the Swiss Post fee fr.45 or is it fr.16+ 3% of the value of the goods?

Anyway the worst part is that they changed their rules. The shippers declaration of the value of goods is final. Eg. if you bought something at a discount for fr.50 but they mistakenly declare at the original price of say fr.65, then you have to pay tax. Unlike previously, you cannot go back to them afterwards to make a correction....


Edit: it depends on the country.
http://www.post.ch/en/post-startseit...ernational.htm
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 23.10.2013, 07:22
Newbie
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Zurich
Posts: 6
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post
Zentachi has no particular reputation at present
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Useful post and answered many of my questions about custom taxes for Switzerland

Luckily so far my orders have been at small values ( less than 15 CHF), so I guess that is why no import taxes for them.

If I order something for example around 200 CHF but without any invoice or other price indicator, will I be charged with import taxes?
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 23.10.2013, 07:30
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 26,552
Groaned at 1,642 Times in 1,262 Posts
Thanked 30,759 Times in 14,694 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
If I order something for example around 200 CHF but without any invoice or other price indicator, will I be charged with import taxes?
Yes.

They will decide what they think it is worth.

Tom
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank st2lemans for this useful post:
  #17  
Old 23.10.2013, 07:31
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 26,552
Groaned at 1,642 Times in 1,262 Posts
Thanked 30,759 Times in 14,694 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
Is the Swiss Post fee fr.45 or is it fr.16+ 3% of the value of the goods?
CHF 16 + 3%.

Tom
Reply With Quote
The following 2 users would like to thank st2lemans for this useful post:
  #18  
Old 23.10.2013, 09:10
Belgianmum's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Neuchâtel
Posts: 10,392
Groaned at 122 Times in 111 Posts
Thanked 14,835 Times in 6,532 Posts
Belgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond reputeBelgianmum has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Quote:
View Post
CHF 16 + 3%.

Tom
Thanks for that, saved me the bother of looking it up for certain.

I have never paid 45chf from the post office but I think they can sometimes charge 30chf if they randomly choose one of your parcels for inspection. IIRC from posts on here they charge this fee even if your goods are below the limit.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 23.10.2013, 09:50
Forum Veteran
 
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Basel
Posts: 604
Groaned at 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanked 366 Times in 221 Posts
BaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeableBaselPT is considered knowledgeable
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

On the site it seemed to say 12 + 3% for stuff coming from Zone 1, which includes France and Germany (given that amazon.fr and .de were discussed through the thread I thought it was relevant to point this out).

For a package worth 62 CHF (which is near the threshold for custom clearance) the 3% are worth 1.86, so this would put the fee at 13.86.

However I noted the site also has an extensive list of fees for "additional services", which include such nice services as "Inspection, value evaluation and storage", together with the above post I think that maybe they add this fee often?
Reply With Quote
This user would like to thank BaselPT for this useful post:
  #20  
Old 23.10.2013, 09:56
st2lemans's Avatar
Forum Legend
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Lugano
Posts: 26,552
Groaned at 1,642 Times in 1,262 Posts
Thanked 30,759 Times in 14,694 Posts
st2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond reputest2lemans has a reputation beyond repute
Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Thanks.

They seem to keep changing.

First it was CHF 18, then CHF 16 + 3%, now it depends on from where.

Tom
Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
online purchase, vat, vat back




Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Car repair in Austria, claim VAT back when entering CH? tomcat Transportation/driving 45 28.09.2016 21:16
How to claim Tax back on divorce/child payments nicenrh Finance/banking/taxation 1 29.07.2013 13:43
how to claim all LPP back junhuaq Leaving Switzerland 0 19.07.2012 22:25
Stupid question perhaps - but how do I claim bottle deposit back? pudding Other/general 4 25.06.2012 15:25
VAT on UK petrol - possible to claim SwissMorgs Finance/banking/taxation 5 06.02.2011 19:36


All times are GMT +2. The time now is 21:12.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2019, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0