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Old 10.06.2014, 11:08
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Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

OK, I thought I'd read all there was to read about this, but now realise I might have opened myself up to a world of financial hurt (well, a small world...)

In the UK, if I buy a little gadget for, say 1 GBP from ebay, it gets delivered to me from China (who knows how they can ship it across the world for that price, but anyway). In the UK you don't get charged VAT or DUTY for parcels less than 18 GBP in value.

Now, this is great if you want an inexpensive microSD reader or something...

Now that I am in Switzerland, I found myself in a similar situation on the weekend, merrily checked the import limits for Switzerland, and ordered my little plastic 1 GBP item.

Unfortunately it isn't too clear from the Swiss Post site, but I starting to think that I'm going to have to pay a minumum of 16 CHF up to a maximum of 70 CHF to compensate Swiss Post for 'clearing' my parcel. Is this correct?

Quote:
Prices Import customs
Letters, parcels (Post and GLS) and EMS import Price (CHF)
Basic price customs clearance Zone 1 11.50
Basic price customs clearance Zone 2 16.-
Supplement for value of goods 3%
Maximum customs clearance price 70.-
excl. VAT

Countries of origin:

Zone 1: Germany, France, Italy and Austria
Zone 2: other countries

Additional services

Additional services Price (CHF)
Inspection, value evaluation and storage 13.-
Customs clearance of consignments which are subject to a non-customs provision assignment or an additional levy 13.-
Preliminary clarification of the import customs clearance 13.-
Customs audit 13.-
Customs clearance of additional customs tariff numbers
(> 5 customs tariff numbers; supplement per additional customs tariff number) 10.-
Transit clearance 50.-
Free ride clearance 80.-
Special clearance (carnet ATA etc.) 25.-
Precious metal control presentation fee 50.-
CITES presentation fee 50.-
Border veterinary examination presentation fee 50.-
Plant protection presentation fee 50.-
excl. VAT

The services are part of the assessment basis of the turnover tax on import (VAT) which is levied by the Swiss Federal Customs Administration.
and...

Quote:
Why must I pay a fee for the delivery of a consignment from abroad (VAT, duty)?

Every consignment from abroad is liable to customs duty and VAT as a matter of principle. As the recipient of a consignment from abroad, you pay the necessary value added tax (VAT) on the value of the goods and customs duty on the gross weight. These costs should not be confused with the shipping costs paid by the sender when the consignment is posted.

Above what value will I have to pay customs and/or value added tax (VAT) on import items?

In principle, every item sent from abroad is subject to customs duties and VAT.

There is no special value exemption limit as with passenger traffic; only a fee exemption limit.

Accordingly, customs duties and VAT are not charged if the amount calculated is less than CHF 5.00 per customs declaration, whereby customs and VAT fees considered separately.

Furthermore, gifts mailed from individuals living abroad to individuals in Switzerland are duty-exempt up to a value of CHF 100.

Goods purchased on the Internet do not satisfy these conditions and are subject to duty in accordance with the general provisions.

The upper limit of the goods value (including shipping costs) for an import exempt from VAT is:

8% VAT (the majority of items sent): CHF 62
2,5% VAT (e.g. books): CHF 200
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Old 10.06.2014, 11:25
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

Normally: If VAT and/or Duty is bellow CHF 5 you will not pay anything.

But: That means your package has all declarations and papares needed to assess VAT and Duty.
AND it was not selected for random inspection. (Customs audit, in the above price list)

FAQ from Swiss Post on subject:
http://www.swisspost.ch/en/post-star...-zoll-mwst.htm
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Old 10.06.2014, 11:35
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

Yep, I get that now. Also linked at the bottom of this page was a shortcut to another thread with good information about this extra charge for those 'lucky' enough to receive it!

Customs charges at Post Office
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Old 10.06.2014, 11:45
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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Yep, I get that now. Also linked at the bottom of this page was a shortcut to another thread with good information about this extra charge for those 'lucky' enough to receive it!

Customs charges at Post Office


In CH it's a lot more generous than then GBP 18 tax-duty free of the UK - it's actually around CHF 60 (ie 5 chf tax), but that includes cost of item+cost of shipping. Below that, you dont pay anything. This is based on the customps sticker put by the seller.


However, to be aware: customs here can (and do) correct the value if they think it's too low. This is very often the problem with chinese CHF 1 products... they get stopped at the border and a higher price is used instead (based on product catalogues held by customs). This costs 13 chf to inspect, plus tax if they feel the correct value should have been over chf 60. Nothing can be done really, even if you actually bought the thing for $1. To them the $1 was a 'typo' by the sender. There have been complaints in the past to the customs people, saying that systematically adjusting the package price upwards effectively cancels most of the benefit of buying from abroad (actually, if the price abroad were not less than in CH, the peoson would simply order from a swiss shop), now the customs say they will be more 'tolerant' about believing low declared prices from packages abroad, and only do so for extreme cases (the $1 for any electronics may still qualify...)
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Old 10.06.2014, 11:48
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

Hmmm, good to know! I'll post results in the next couple of days (weeks?) - it'll be a learning experience if nothing else!
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Old 10.06.2014, 11:57
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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However, to be aware: customs here can (and do) correct the value if they think it's too low. This is very often the problem with chinese CHF 1 products... they get stopped at the border and a higher price is used instead (based on product catalogues held by customs). This costs 13 chf to inspect, plus tax if they feel the correct value should have been over chf 60. Nothing can be done really, even if you actually bought the thing for $1.
You can always refuse the package, especially if it only cost CHF 1.

Tom
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Old 10.06.2014, 11:59
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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You can always refuse the package, especially if it only cost CHF 1.

Tom
I was wondering that... is there any comeback on me? e.g. if I get the yellow slip to go to the post office and they ask for 16CHF I just say "no thanks"?

May as well just order it again to the UK and wait to pick it up from my parents! It's only a little wire stripper I thought would be helpful in converting all my plugs! Couldn't find one in Migros or Landi...
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Old 10.06.2014, 12:00
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

If you can prove the price you paid including shipping is below the taxable limit you can get the tax refunded been there done that.
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Old 10.06.2014, 12:07
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

But probably not the "random" search charge (if applicable)?
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Old 10.06.2014, 15:39
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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If you can prove the price you paid including shipping is below the taxable limit you can get the tax refunded been there done that.
Could you outline the practical procedure?

I just ordered some inexpensive items on aliexpress.com, waiting for them to arrive. So it might come in handy to know.

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But probably not the "random" search charge (if applicable)?
That´d be another "good to know".

When receiving taxable items in Germany they charge 19% (non-refundable) "Einfuhrumsatzsteuer", but no additional fees whatsoever. Don´t know about the free allowance over there, but for non-expensive items it might be worth to go the detour, saving the Swiss "bureaucratical" fees...
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Old 10.06.2014, 15:43
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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If you can prove the price you paid including shipping is below the taxable limit you can get the tax refunded been there done that.
but did you get the "fee" refunded too?

Because I never have, even when they were blatantly in the wrong (customs read $50 as £50, putting it just over).
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Old 10.06.2014, 15:52
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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Could you outline the practical procedure?
That´d be another "good to know".
See here:
http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

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When receiving taxable items in Germany they charge 19% (non-refundable) "Einfuhrumsatzsteuer", but no additional fees whatsoever. Don´t know about the free allowance over there, but for non-expensive items it might be worth to go the detour, saving the Swiss "bureaucratical" fees...
Duty may also be higher. Additionally, you have to go to the customs office.
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Old 10.06.2014, 20:06
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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but did you get the "fee" refunded too?

Because I never have, even when they were blatantly in the wrong (customs read $50 as £50, putting it just over).
Same experience as you. Once they have processed the charges, you cannot get the money back. So if the parcel came with a declaration and it was wrong (or they read it wrongly), you cannot get your money back. This is rather new, since sometime last year.
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Old 10.06.2014, 22:08
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

Just wanted to ask if small electronics goods ~€10 - €50 bought from ebay and mailed from Germany customs dutiable?

Last edited by noipv4; 10.06.2014 at 23:30.
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Old 10.06.2014, 22:35
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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But probably not the "random" search charge (if applicable)?
I have.

Tom
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Old 20.01.2018, 18:35
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

My question is not about import tax ... but recently I ordered a Ukulele from Amazon US, and it didn’t go past the Swiss customs, and got sent back to Amazon. I got a refund. I wonder why? What is so restrictive about a proper Ukulele? 🤪
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Old 20.01.2018, 19:06
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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My question is not about import tax ... but recently I ordered a Ukulele from Amazon US, and it didn’t go past the Swiss customs, and got sent back to Amazon. I got a refund. I wonder why? What is so restrictive about a proper Ukulele? 🤪
There is a traditional Swiss wooden instrument similar to a Ukulele - I can't remember what it is called but it is made somewhere near Engadin and the Romansch areas. If you want to buy a Ukulele from outside CH you need to first get a form filled applying for exemption by the local Manufaktur Kulturverein in Graubunden, and then you are allowed buy it in (although there is a fee per each 1kg weight of Ukuele on import).
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Old 20.01.2018, 19:15
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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There is a traditional Swiss wooden instrument similar to a Ukulele - I can't remember what it is called but it is made somewhere near Engadin and the Romansch areas. If you want to buy a Ukulele from outside CH you need to first get a form filled applying for exemption by the local Manufaktur Kulturverein in Graubunden, and then you are allowed buy it in (although there is a fee per each 1kg weight of Ukuele on import).
Oh my! Thank you.
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Old 20.01.2018, 20:19
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Re: Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?

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There is a traditional Swiss wooden instrument similar to a Ukulele - I can't remember what it is called but it is made somewhere near Engadin and the Romansch areas. If you want to buy a Ukulele from outside CH you need to first get a form filled applying for exemption by the local Manufaktur Kulturverein in Graubunden, and then you are allowed buy it in (although there is a fee per each 1kg weight of Ukuele on import).
So you mean the three differently colour ukulele we brought from the UK at £20 each were contraband! I think DB has a competitor.
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