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Old 26.06.2018, 22:55
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Import (online shopping): VAT, customs clearance, etc.


I recently moved to Switzerland, and have been ordering a few things online. Most of them are from China, and I do not get any letters from Swiss Post that I need to pay clearance fees or VAT.

This has however happened to some clothing from the UK, which was as I expected. However, my question is: when am I being (supposed to be) charged and when am I not.

Question 1:

"Accordingly, customs duties and value added tax are not charged if the amount calculated is less than CHF 5.00 per customs declaration, whereby customs and VAT charges are considered separately." (Source)

What is the "amount calculated" from? If the goods are worth 50 CHF (shipping included or not), and the VAT is 7.7% (3,85 CHF), does that mean that I will not pay VAT and the 11.50/16 CHF Zone 1/2 clearance fee?

Question 2:

"The upper limit of the goods value (incl. transport costs) for an import exempt from VAT is: 7.7% VAT (applicable to majority of all consignments) => CHF 65.00 2.5% VAT (special goods such as books) => CHF 200.00" (Source)

Again, the question is when do the following scenarios happen:
* I pay no VAT and no clearance fees
* I pay no VAT but clearance fees

I hope that my questions are clear enough. I want to order some supplements online that cost 30-50 CHF with shipping. However, I don't want to get hit by 16 CHF for clearance and extra VAT added, etc.

Can someone help a new person in Switzerland ?
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Old 27.06.2018, 10:01
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Re: Import (online shopping): VAT, customs clearance, etc.

There is a very lengthy thread on the subject: Import tax on internet purchases
and many more on the topic.
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DHL and import duty
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Help-problem with import tax
Ordering food from iherb.com 🇺🇸 customs taxes ,Swiss charges, handling fees
Online shopping outside EU
Charges for importing small inexpensive items by post?
Die Post charging 28 CHF for 25 CHF Coat
DHL/customs - made up 39Fr shipping charge on a 30Fr item!
Purchasing items online (from Wish, etc.) customs and taxes

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1)VAT, there are three kind of goods:
VAT free. Art. 21 and 23 VAT Act https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...index.html#a21
Reduced rate (which is 2.5% at the moment of writing) Art. 25 VAT Act https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a25
Normal rate: All the rest

2) Duty, this depends on country of manufacturing/origin.
The duty rates can be looked up at xtares.admin.ch and normally either depend on weight or per piece. For most countries of origin the duty rate is 0, the big exception is the USA.

3) Other taxes
Alcohol: https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...rits-tax-.html
Beer: https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...rits-tax-.html
Tabacco: https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...xcise-tax.html

4) Import license Some goods need an import license.
Salt: needs a license if you import more than 50kg http://www.salz.ch/wp-content/upload...140201_def.pdf
Wine and also grape juice: might need a license http://www.cscv-swk.ch/Upload/Dokume...tt-d-10.18.pdf

5) Forbidden goods or other restrictions:
See also Swiss customs on Pron, Weapons, Narcotics, Counterfeited goods, Speed trap warning devices, Endangered Animals etc: https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...risations.html

The above is a non comprehensive overview. For further details please also see the Swiss Customs website, which is available in English:

If still unclear contact Swiss Customs https://www.webapps.ezv.admin.ch/app...ex.php?lang=en and get clarification before you order.
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No import tax is due if it is more than CHF 5 (SR 641.204 https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...089/index.html).
Appliable rate can be looked up in Art. 25 VAT-Act https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...index.html#a25

Duty is also due if it is more than CHF 5 (Art. 58 ZV-EZV https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a58).
In Switzerland duty has normally nothing to do with value, but is charged per piece, kg, or liter and can be looked up here xtares.admin.ch/

Other taxes and charges (wine, beer, fuel, tabacco, etc.) is due with the very first Rappen. (I canot link to anything, as there is simply no exceptions for minimal charges)

It depends on the value (if import tax is due), content and origin (if duty is due) of the shipment and on shipment provider and your relationship with it PLUS the extra leg work you may have to do.

For example for particular shipment from the US containing motorcyle parts (Tariff code 8714.1090):
CHF 61 Import tax, CHF 3.85 duty which was waived, and CHF 21 import charges to UPS (actually only CHF 6.30 after discount). So a total of CHF 67.30. Package shipped to my door.


PS: Also have a look if the item can be bought on Ebay and seller offers the Ebay Global Shipping Program [the shipping price includes nearly all tax, duty and admin charges].
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If the acompaning paperwork/customs declaration did not show that shipping was free, they added the shipping value according the stamp value table:
https://www.post.ch/-/media/post/pk/...arkenwerte.pdf (China is pricing zone 5)

Also the Swiss post has a FAQ which answers many questions:
On Hiatus- Normal operation will resume 22.02.2022 22:02:20.22

Last edited by aSwissInTheUS; 31.08.2018 at 14:56.
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clearance, shopping, vat

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