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Old 22.10.2013, 16:38
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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.

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Old 22.10.2013, 17:00
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Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

You get charged the swiss VAT though, right?
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Old 22.10.2013, 17:03
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Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

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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.
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Old 22.10.2013, 17:37
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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?
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Old 22.10.2013, 17:47
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Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

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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).
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Old 22.10.2013, 18:14
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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!
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Old 22.10.2013, 20:26
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Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

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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?
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Old 22.10.2013, 17:00
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Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

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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.
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Old 20.07.2014, 11:11
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possible to claim VAT on online purchases?

Hello all,

Does anyone know if it's possible to get back our VAT on online purchases from any swiss websites, amazon.de or amazon.fr if we were to bring the items and invoices/proof of purchases to border customs?
Or is there any sources or website where I could find this info?

Thanks and look forward to hearing from you.
Greengrass
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Old 20.07.2014, 11:18
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Re: possible to claim VAT on online purchases?

So amazon.de and amazon.fr ship with Swiss tax paid. Are you leaving Switzerland and want to claim this tax back? It is possible at the exit border crossing, but the admin fee is about Fr 50,--

It was mentioned on EF before, so you need (AS ALWAYS) to search the forum.
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Old 20.07.2014, 11:38
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Re: How to claim back VAT from online purchases.

Thanks, Sbrinz. Greengrass's thread merged.
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Old 20.07.2014, 11:59
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Re: possible to claim VAT on online purchases?

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So amazon.de and amazon.fr ship with Swiss tax paid. Are you leaving Switzerland and want to claim this tax back? It is possible at the exit border crossing, but the admin fee is about Fr 50,--

It was mentioned on EF before, so you need (AS ALWAYS) to search the forum.
Thanks for your response. I did do a "VAT" search before I posted this question and saw the thread you refer to. That thread discusses primarily about whether or not VAT is charged or should be charged, how it is calculated, why there is no amazon.ch, and whether amazon.de or amazon.fr ship to switzerland. If you read carefully, my question was on a different issue which was not clearly answered in those threads - it's a question "can we claim back VAT on online purchases made in Switzerland?". I'd like to just know "yes" or "no". It's a bit confusing as you seem say it's "yes" if we pay a 50 chf administrative fee, whereas in the thread above someone vaguely says "no" and that it's not possible to get back VAT on online purchases.

It would be good to have some clarity on this.If this was a normal purchase in a retail store in switzerland, the shop would have to provide us with a stamped VAT form on the purchase to bring to the VAT office at the airport to get back the VAT. However, this is an online purchase. What is the procedure for this? Are there any papers that need to be provided, or is the purchase invoice enough? Or where can we find out the official procedure at the Swiss border crossings for this? Thanks.
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Old 20.07.2014, 12:05
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Re: possible to claim VAT on online purchases?

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Thanks for your response. I did do a "VAT" search before I posted this question and saw the thread you refer to. That thread discusses primarily about whether or not VAT is charged or should be charged, how it is calculated, why there is no amazon.ch, and whether amazon.de or amazon.fr ship to switzerland. If you read carefully, my question was on a different issue which was not clearly answered in those threads - it's a question "can we claim back VAT on online purchases made in Switzerland?". I'd like to just know "yes" or "no". It's a bit confusing as you seem say it's "yes" if we pay a 50 chf administrative fee, whereas in the thread above someone vaguely says "no" and that it's not possible to get back VAT on online purchases.

It would be good to have some clarity on this.If this was a normal purchase in a retail store in switzerland, the shop would have to provide us with a stamped VAT form on the purchase to bring to the VAT office at the airport to get back the VAT. However, this is an online purchase. What is the procedure for this? Are there any papers that need to be provided, or is the purchase invoice enough? Or where can we find out the official procedure at the Swiss border crossings for this? Thanks.
If you prove you have exported the item, the retailer might refund. It's down to if they can be bothered, as internet sales are designed to be streamlined to save admin costs, you probably have your answer. For a high value item it might work.
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Old 20.07.2014, 12:13
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Re: possible to claim VAT on online purchases?

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If you prove you have exported the item, the retailer might refund. It's down to if they can be bothered, as internet sales are designed to be streamlined to save admin costs, you probably have your answer. For a high value item it might work.
I'm sorry I don't understand what you mean by "If you prove you have exported the item". It was an expensive item. But I simply bought it as a regular consumer through an online website. The VAT paid was high, so it would be good to be able to get back the monies the next time I leave Switzerland. Would appreciate if you could clarify.
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