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  #81  
Old 07.10.2016, 12:49
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Yes, I get that. But the thread is about VAT - and not other charges.

I absolutely love books- so for English books we either buy when the visit UK or we use Kindle.
The thread is about the new rule, which will cause the clearance fees to be charged every time, not just for +62.5CHF items.

Speaking of Kindle, (how) will we be charged for e-Books?
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Old 07.10.2016, 12:53
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Yes, I get that. But the thread is about VAT - and not other charges.
As VAT triggers the additional charges, the two go hand-in-hand. The extra charges tacked on are absolutely germain to this discussion.
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  #83  
Old 07.10.2016, 13:03
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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From today's SwissInfo, "All Swiss Amazon purchases to be subjected to VAT", article here:

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/foreign-...o-vat/42482680


"The Swiss parliament has officially approved reforms to the country’s value-added tax (VAT) regime that would oblige overseas firms to impose VAT on all purchases and services. The goal is to protect Swiss firms from lower-priced competitors abroad.

Currently, online purchases from abroad that attract less than CHF5 ($5.15) in VAT are exempt. This translates into an upper limit of CHF200 worth of books or CHF62.50 of goods that don’t benefit from a favourable tax status. "

---

This could be the straw that breaks the camel's back and sends me scuttling back homewards. My weekly book fix is what keeps me sane.

(No, I am not undercutting the poor Swiss bookseller. The books I buy are generally not available in Switzerland.)

I wouldn't grumble about paying just VAT, but it's the administrative charges that Swiss Post tacks on when VAT is due that hurts.
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Yes, I get that. But the thread is about VAT - and not other charges.

I absolutely love books- so for English books we either buy when the visit UK or we use Kindle.
I think you'll find that this thread is actually more about the other charges than it is about the VAT. ( see bold part of Meloncollie's original post)

The kindle doesn't suit everyone ( personally I love mine) and some people prefer books and not everyone is lucky enough to be able to get them in the UK on a regular basis.
I guess ordering them via Amazon will still be OK if they extend the global option to everything.

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The thread is about the new rule, which will cause the clearance fees to be charged every time, not just for +62.5CHF items.

Speaking of Kindle, (how) will we be charged for e-Books?
Precisely. The VAT and extra charges go hand in hand.

How will Swiss customs know that we've bought e-books? They will continue to be charged at the same rate they are now, the rate applied in the country they are purchased in.
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Old 07.10.2016, 14:35
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

Will the exemption still work when importing a parcel from a private person? From what I read it sounds like it but it's not very clear?
Currently we receive small parcels with gifts from family at least once a month. They always pass under the exemption but if we start having to pay it will become ridiculous.
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  #85  
Old 07.10.2016, 14:47
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Will the exemption still work when importing a parcel from a private person? From what I read it sounds like it but it's not very clear?
Currently we receive small parcels with gifts from family at least once a month. They always pass under the exemption but if we start having to pay it will become ridiculous.
Gift is a different story. Gifts up to 100.- CHF are ok, yet they must be from a private person to another private person.

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One wonders if or how this move will affect the Post employees.

My local postman jokes that he still has a job thanks to my book buying addiction. I am careful to keep under the VAT minimum, so place several small orders per week - meaning the postman has several packages to deliver each week.

Sure, he is joking - but at a time when snail mail (i.e. core business) is dying the Post has been looking carefully at small village post offices, closing those that are not viable. Small package delivery, at least according to the local guy, is now a large part of their business. And a whole lot of those packages come from outside Switzerland.

If the new tax causes consumers like me to stop ordering books (or whatever) a couple times a week, my local postman will have less work. One wonders would that means at some point he might not have a job?

--

I am not going to turn around and spend the money I pay to Amazon (or whoever) with booksellers in Switzerland, mostly because what I wish to buy is often not available in Switzerland - but also partly because I have been so turned off by the attitudes I have encountered with Swiss booksellers that, with one exception, I refuse to support them. So for my part if the new tax means I curtail my book buying abroad it will be a net loss for Switzerland.
Let's be optimistic

The Swiss government wants the extra VAT money! So they shouldn't be happy if the customers stop abroad-shopping altogether!

Last edited by 3Wishes; 07.10.2016 at 20:06. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 07.10.2016, 14:53
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Will the exemption still work when importing a parcel from a private person? From what I read it sounds like it but it's not very clear?
Currently we receive small parcels with gifts from family at least once a month. They always pass under the exemption but if we start having to pay it will become ridiculous.
After some search I think the answer to my question is that there has always been a CHF 100 exemption on gifts sent by private individuals (source).
I seem to recall being screwed once by someone who filled the import form wrong. It is going to be even more important to clearly state that it is a gift then!
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  #87  
Old 07.10.2016, 15:00
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Let's be optimistic

The Swiss government wants the extra VAT money, so they shouldn't be happy if the customers stop abroad-shopping altogether!
But I will likely order only one large package once every few months rather than several small packages every week.

Assuming VAT is equal as it is a % of purchase price, the differential is how often I pay the per-package administrative charge. Being a rational consumer, the only way for me to save now will be to order as few packages as possible, triggering only one administrative fee rather than many.

So the local postman has either only one package to deliver instead of 30 - or none at all, as the large package might be delivered by regional PakettPost.

Either way, local post office has less work. If enough people think the way I do, in these days of shutting down stations that are not busy enough, there are potential consequences to consider.
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  #88  
Old 07.10.2016, 15:03
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Let's be optimistic

The Swiss government wants the extra VAT money! So they shouldn't be happy if the customers stop abroad-shopping altogether!
I don't think that's the reason. The real intent is to protect domestic retailers.
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  #89  
Old 07.10.2016, 15:08
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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I don't think that's the reason. The real intent is to protect domestic retailers.
Probably. But it's mentioned in the article the government is expecting a 70M CHF revenue from this change.

http://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/foreign-...o-vat/42482680
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  #90  
Old 07.10.2016, 15:11
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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But I will likely order only one large package once every few months rather than several small packages every week.

Assuming VAT is equal as it is a % of purchase price, the differential is how often I pay the per-package administrative charge. Being a rational consumer, the only way for me to save now will be to order as few packages as possible, triggering only one administrative fee rather than many.

So the local postman has either only one package to deliver instead of 30 - or none at all, as the large package might be delivered by regional PakettPost.

Either way, local post office has less work. If enough people think the way I do, in these days of shutting down stations that are not busy enough, there are potential consequences to consider.
It depends where you're ordering them from I guess. If you order from somewhere offering the 'global' shipping option then they will pay the VAT for you upfront so there shouldn't be any extra fees to pay.
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  #91  
Old 07.10.2016, 15:13
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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I don't think that's the reason. The real intent is to protect domestic retailers.
Yes of course. But since amazon already has a system in place that works very well, the extra cost on a few books will still be very limited, it's only small foreign retailers that will end up being truly affected.
Example: the new Harry Potter book (or play/moneymaking scheme) is GBP 9 (less than CHF 11 today!!!) on amazon.co.uk but CHF 29.90 on books.ch. I doubt orell fuessli is going to sell it like hot cakes just because of the VAT change.
This is still true with German and French books although the price gap is smaller.
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  #92  
Old 12.10.2016, 07:38
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

Lots of items on Amazon UK now display

This item does not ship to Switzerland
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  #93  
Old 12.10.2016, 07:39
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Lots of items on Amazon UK now display

This item does not ship to Switzerland
Didn't lots of them already display that?
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  #94  
Old 12.10.2016, 07:43
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Didn't lots of them already display that?

Some. Now lots.

Ordinary things. Like CDs and Blu-rays.
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  #95  
Old 12.10.2016, 08:21
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

Seems fixed now. Carry on everyone.
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  #96  
Old 12.10.2016, 16:25
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

Hi everyone

I just had a clarifying conversation with a VAT expert from Oberzolldirektion. There is a lot of confusion and incorrect information in this thread.

For the sake of completeness, let me start with the questions I asked Swiss Customs. (They're in German, but you don't need to read them to understand the point.)


Quote:
Wie am Telefon besprochen, schicke ich Ihnen meine Fragen:


Das teilrevidierte MWSTG wurde in einer Schlussabstimmung vom 30. September angenommen. Unter anderem bedeutet das nach Inkrafttreten der Änderungen, dass Kunden von umsatzstarken ausländischen Versandhändlern die Schweizer MwSt stets in Rechnung gestellt bekommen (auch für Pakete, deren Schweizer MwSt unterhalb der Geringfügigkeitsgrenze von 5 CHF liegt).


Meine Fragen zur künftigen Situation:


1. Gibt es ein (voraussichtliches) Datum, ab dem das Gesetz in Kraft tritt?


2. Wenn ein Kunde in der Schweiz beispielsweise ein Buch im Wert von 20 CHF (inklusive in Rechnung gestellter 2,5% Schweizer MwSt) bei Amazon.de bestellt, wird das Paket die Grenze OHNE weitere Gebühren (Importverzollung von 11.50 CHF, Warenwertzuschlag von 3%) passieren?


3. Wenn ein Kunde in der Schweiz von einem ausländischen Versandhändler die Schweizer MwSt für ein Buch im Wert von 20 CHF NICHT in Rechnung gestellt bekommen hat, wird der Versandhändler vom Zoll automatisch auf seine MwSt-Erhebungspflicht überprüft? Und sollte er rechtmässig keine MwSt erhoben haben, werden dem Kunden dennoch Zollverwaltungsgebühren belastet? Sollte der ausländische Versandhändler hingegen UNrechtmässig keine MwSt erhoben haben, werden dem Kunden dann Importverzollungsgebühren (11.50 CHF für Zone 1, 16.00 CHF für Zone 2), der Warenwertzuschlag von 3%, die Mehrwertsteuer auf Basis des Warenwerts etc. belastet (trotz geringem Warenwert)?


Vielen Dank für Ihre Hilfe. Ich wünsche ein schönes Wochenende!


Freundliche Grüsse


And here are the answers:

1. The new VAT law will come into force on January 1, 2018. Whether Swiss authorities can manage to fully enforce it by then, is a different question.

2. & 3. The bottom line is: the only thing the new law changes is the VAT status of foreign retailers exceeding a worldwide turnover of 100k. They themselves (and NOT their customers) will be considered importers carrying the VAT burden for all their imports to Switzerland. Whether they pass this additional expense on to their Swiss-based customers is completely up to them and has nothing to do with the new law.

So what does it mean for Swiss-based consumers?

If you are purchasing from a foreign vendor who

a. HAS the status of an importer, you are off the hook! The price you paid is final and there will be no trouble with Swiss post.

b. DOESN'T have the status of an importer (be it rightfully or unrightfully so), then YOU are the importer and things are handled exactly the same as before: If you stay below the VAT limit of 5 CHF, you'll NOT be charged by Swiss post. Whether the vendor you ordered from is compliant with the new law, does not concern you at all!

The way I see it, the new law is actually an improvement.
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Old 12.10.2016, 16:49
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

Thanks for calling and writing. But one could have also simple read the change of the VAT law:
https://www.admin.ch/ch/d/pore/rf/cr/2014/20140674.html
The Swiss People has time till 19. January 2017 to object by collecting 50k signatures of eligible voters. No one is collecting signatures at the moment.

The 5 CHF nontax limit is not set in the VAT law. It is a separate ordnance:

"Verordnung des EFD über die steuerbefreite Einfuhr von Gegenständen in kleinen Mengen, von unbedeutendem Wert oder mit geringfügigem Steuerbetrag"
(Ordinance of the finance department about the tax free import of goods in small quantities, negligible value, or with a low tax value)
https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...089/index.html
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Old 12.10.2016, 17:01
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

i think they should scrap charging the customer for checking packages.

instead, they can charge the VAT administration and thereby create a mechanism to ensure that the checks are proportionate to the risk of lost taxes.
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Old 11.01.2017, 11:39
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Hi everyone

I just had a clarifying conversation with a VAT expert from Oberzolldirektion. There is a lot of confusion and incorrect information in this thread.

For the sake of completeness, let me start with the questions I asked Swiss Customs. (They're in German, but you don't need to read them to understand the point.)






And here are the answers:

1. The new VAT law will come into force on January 1, 2018. Whether Swiss authorities can manage to fully enforce it by then, is a different question.

2. & 3. The bottom line is: the only thing the new law changes is the VAT status of foreign retailers exceeding a worldwide turnover of 100k. They themselves (and NOT their customers) will be considered importers carrying the VAT burden for all their imports to Switzerland. Whether they pass this additional expense on to their Swiss-based customers is completely up to them and has nothing to do with the new law.

So what does it mean for Swiss-based consumers?

If you are purchasing from a foreign vendor who

a. HAS the status of an importer, you are off the hook! The price you paid is final and there will be no trouble with Swiss post.

b. DOESN'T have the status of an importer (be it rightfully or unrightfully so), then YOU are the importer and things are handled exactly the same as before: If you stay below the VAT limit of 5 CHF, you'll NOT be charged by Swiss post. Whether the vendor you ordered from is compliant with the new law, does not concern you at all!

The way I see it, the new law is actually an improvement.
Ah really? Many many thanks for the clarified information. I was just going t o ask whether anybody has more precise information now that it is 2017.

So the magical(?) number of 62.5 CHF is/will be still in place. Yes?
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Old 13.01.2017, 21:40
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Re: End of the VAT-free exemption

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Ah really? Many many thanks for the clarified information. I was just going t o ask whether anybody has more precise information now that it is 2017.

So the magical(?) number of 62.5 CHF is/will be still in place. Yes?
As far as I understand, the 5 CHF import tax exemption limit will remain in place even after January 1, 2018. However, big foreign retailers complying with the new law (case a.) will take care of proper taxation for you, so you don't need to rack your brains over it.

Only if you buy from small or non-compliant foreign retailers (case b.), you'll want to proceed as always, i.e. try to stay below the exemption limit.

Bear in mind that 62.5 CHF is the magic number for goods taxed at 8%, but if you buy books for example, the import tax is only 2.5%, so the magic number would be 200 CHF.

If you have a parcel with products taxed at different rates, the magic number will be something in-between. Hence, just keep the overall import tax at or below 5 CHF to be off the hook.
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