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Old 23.08.2020, 00:55
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Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

Hi all

New member here, will be relocating next month from London to Switzerland (Canton Schwyz).

I have decided not to move furniture yet, just some personal belongings. I will have some suitcases with me and have found a company for the rest. The company is not super official and therefore will not complete the 18.44 form etc. I'm crazy busy with all the admin of the move so I have decided not to question how they will do it, what matters is that they have top reviews so I have convinced myself there is no risk on that front. Please don't focus your responses on that!

I wanted to ask a question relating to some new items which I am thinking of buying for my new flat there. Especially bed linen (mattress topper, duvet, sheets, pillows etc.). I am not very familiar with stores in Switzerland and shortly after my relocation I will start working. Therefore no time to look around and quality of linen is important to me.

The company I am thinking of getting the stuff from can ship to Switzerland. Am I right in believing from what I've read that as long as they split the order in packages of max CHF 300 each I will not pay duties? If they do not (worst case scenario) what should I expect to pay? Is the delivery (in both cases) going to come to my residential address or customs will keep it and I will have to travel somewhere to collect?

To pre-empt questions the door-to-door moving company told me they will only transport stuff that does not look brand new. I could theoretically take off the tags etc and ask them to transport it, but maybe it is more efficient if the linen is shipped there directly.

Many thanks in advance!
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Old 23.08.2020, 01:25
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

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Hi all

New member here, will be relocating next month from London to Switzerland (Canton Schwyz).

I have decided not to move furniture yet, just some personal belongings. I will have some suitcases with me and have found a company for the rest. The company is not super official and therefore will not complete the 18.44 form etc. I'm crazy busy with all the admin of the move so I have decided not to question how they will do it, what matters is that they have top reviews so I have convinced myself there is no risk on that front. Please don't focus your responses on that!

I wanted to ask a question relating to some new items which I am thinking of buying for my new flat there. Especially bed linen (mattress topper, duvet, sheets, pillows etc.). I am not very familiar with stores in Switzerland and shortly after my relocation I will start working. Therefore no time to look around and quality of linen is important to me.

The company I am thinking of getting the stuff from can ship to Switzerland. Am I right in believing from what I've read that as long as they split the order in packages of max CHF 300 each I will not pay duties? If they do not (worst case scenario) what should I expect to pay? Is the delivery (in both cases) going to come to my residential address or customs will keep it and I will have to travel somewhere to collect?

To pre-empt questions the door-to-door moving company told me they will only transport stuff that does not look brand new. I could theoretically take off the tags etc and ask them to transport it, but maybe it is more efficient if the linen is shipped there directly.

Many thanks in advance!
Welcome to the forum. I hope your move goes well.

I'm slightly confused by your question. Are you asking about shipping all your personal effects to Switzerland in lots of under CHF 300, or just the bed linen? (I guess by "the stuff" you mean the bed linen.)

If it's the bed linen, it won't help to have it shipped to Switzerland in multiple small-value packages. The tax-free limits don't really apply to items imported by mail (for anything over a token value), so you'd be liable for Swiss VAT (7.7%), any duty that may be applicable, and a juicy customs inspection fee—for each package. You'd be better off having these low-value packages shipped to a parcel service just over the border in Germany or France, and importing them one by one, one parcel per day (or more if you can cross the border with friends or family). Then the CHF 300 tax-free limit per person kicks in. You can still claim a VAT refund from the vendor if you prove (by way of a customs stamp—even if no tax or duty is payable) that you exported the goods from the EU (if the vendor is EU-based; if they're in the UK, you shouldn't have paid VAT in the first place as the linen was directly exported from the UK).

If I misunderstood your question, try again....
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Old 23.08.2020, 01:54
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

Thank you for your response.

Yes indeed I was referring to the linen. I thought of asking the seller to send me the pillows in one package, then the duvet in another, the mattress topper in a third, etc..

I would have been happy paying the VAT, but if there is a duty on top + more, I think it is not worth it..

Definitely makes sense asking the movers to include these packages with the other stuff. I'll just remove the linen from the boxes to make it look less new.

Again, many thanks!
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Old 23.08.2020, 03:25
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

Welcome to the Forum, and soon to Switzerland.

You might find some of the info on this recent thread useful, as it contains some sensible warnings:
https://www.englishforum.ch/other-ge...h-customs.html
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Old 23.08.2020, 07:42
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

If a mail package has a value under CHF65, including postage, it can enter free of VAT/Duty. Thatís a true value not what is put on the label.

Other packages for which the retailer has collected Swiss VAT and duty can enter without formalities. But not all retailers do. Check with your shop, if they ship to Switzerland they may know the process.
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Old 23.08.2020, 09:05
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

Are they products from the EU or China?

If so, there is no Duty, just VAT and fees.

For minimum fees, you want one package, not multiple.

Tom
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Old 23.08.2020, 09:06
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

A couple of points.

The CHF 65.- limit is on items shipped by mail, DHL etc. The CHF 300.- limit is on the value of items you personally carry over the border with you.

You may not be aware that CH and UK bed sizes and sheets etc. are different. The standard CH bed sizes are 90x200 cm, 140x200, 160x200 and 180x200. The mattress covers, bed sheets, pillow covers and duvet covers will be in function. For example the common duvet covers are 160x210cm, 200x210 and 240x240.

If you are bringing a UK bed, you should purchase what you need in the UK. If you are planning to buy a CH bed when you arrive, you should buy the bed sheets, duvet cover and duvet here.
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Old 23.08.2020, 10:56
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

All, thank you so much for your responses. I hope I can be as helpful as you have been to others in the future when I have settled and can contribute.

To answer the questions, I will be posting from the UK (so still EU). The value of the items will be around GBP 500 so say CHF 600. Not sure about postage but as you can imagine duvets etc are bulky so say another CHF100?

Sizes do not matter that much as I like them being generous and will get 2 sizes up.

Therefore, from what I understand I should expect to pay c8% VAT in Switzerland + Fees. Do you know vaguely how much that could be?

Also, will the delivery be done at my residential address (and asked to pay on the spot?) or I will be asked to collect from a depot?
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Old 23.08.2020, 13:18
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

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All, thank you so much for your responses. I hope I can be as helpful as you have been to others in the future when I have settled and can contribute.

To answer the questions, I will be posting from the UK (so still EU). The value of the items will be around GBP 500 so say CHF 600. Not sure about postage but as you can imagine duvets etc are bulky so say another CHF100?

Sizes do not matter that much as I like them being generous and will get 2 sizes up.

Therefore, from what I understand I should expect to pay c8% VAT in Switzerland + Fees. Do you know vaguely how much that could be?

Also, will the delivery be done at my residential address (and asked to pay on the spot?) or I will be asked to collect from a depot?
Sending more likely to be 150 or 200 as will be bulky. If the post is used then you have to pay the postman on the spot. If courier, you get an invoice later.
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Old 23.08.2020, 14:02
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

If it's new stuff, over a certain value you can get the supplier to take off the UK vat and then the Swiss vat will be added by customs. As others have said, expect a 20chf handling fee per package, so it does not make sense to try to ship in multiple smaller packages.



the swiss VAT is only up to about 8%.



Although you said 'dont focus responses' on using a shipment company that isn't managing the import at the border, personal items when you arrive for residency are not taxed, but the forms need to be in order, and even then, we had an extra handling fee at the border - bcause if your shipping company don't do it themselves, they will have to pay a third company to handle it and that will cost you money. Ours was about 200chf extra on a shipping cost that was already a couple of thousand, for air freight from Australia, and that was a long time ago and not 'covid' time - lots of parcels are taking an extra day or two to get over the border because of the problems with post - whether it's increased volume, different rules, or backlog from lockdown, I have no idea...
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Old 23.08.2020, 16:39
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

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If a mail package has a value under CHF65, including postage, it can enter free of VAT/Duty. That’s a true value not what is put on the label.
There is tax and there is duty. Two different and separate things. Duty is not charged if it is less than CHF 5 (many things made in the EU or China are duty free). VAT is also not charged if it is less then CHF 5.

Import (online shopping): VAT, customs clearance, etc.
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Old 23.08.2020, 19:20
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

Guys, many thanks!

So in essence for a say GBP 500 purchase (incl VAT), if I ask the company to ship it I should expect to pay:

500 - UK VAT ( of 100) + shipping (say 200) + handling (say 20) + 7.7% VAT (c GBP 46) + 3% customs (c GBP 18). Thus, total of GBP 684.

All the extras are less than the UK VAT I avoid, so shipping the items makes sense.

You're all brilliant!

For 3% source: https://www.post.ch/en/business-solu...ngconsignments

I will go ahead and provide an update once the process is over next month.
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Old 24.08.2020, 00:40
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

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Guys, many thanks!

So in essence for a say GBP 500 purchase (incl VAT), if I ask the company to ship it I should expect to pay:

500 - UK VAT ( of 100) + shipping (say 200) + handling (say 20) + 7.7% VAT (c GBP 46) + 3% customs (c GBP 18). Thus, total of GBP 684.

All the extras are less than the UK VAT I avoid, so shipping the items makes sense.

You're all brilliant!

For 3% source: https://www.post.ch/en/business-solu...ngconsignments

I will go ahead and provide an update once the process is over next month.
That's about right. To be pedantic (or correct, as I call it), there is a customs clearance basic fee of CHF 16 for imports from the UK, in addition to the 3% fee; taxes and duties are levied on pre-tax values; and CH VAT is levied on the total value (pre-tax) of the import, including shipping cost, so the equation should read:

GBP 500 - 83.33 UK VAT (20% x 416.67) + 200 shipping + 20* handling + 47.48 CH VAT (7.7% x (416.67 + 200)) + 25.90 customs (13.40** +3% x 416.67) = GBP 710.05 all up


* not sure what this is, may be double-counting the customs clearance basic fee
** CHF 16 customs clearance basic fee
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Old 25.08.2020, 10:23
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

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That's about right. To be pedantic (or correct, as I call it), there is a customs clearance basic fee of CHF 16 for imports from the UK, in addition to the 3% fee; taxes and duties are levied on pre-tax values; and CH VAT is levied on the total value (pre-tax) of the import, including shipping cost, so the equation should read:

GBP 500 - 83.33 UK VAT (20% x 416.67) + 200 shipping + 20* handling + 47.48 CH VAT (7.7% x (416.67 + 200)) + 25.90 customs (13.40** +3% x 416.67) = GBP 710.05 all up


* not sure what this is, may be double-counting the customs clearance basic fee
** CHF 16 customs clearance basic fee
You are indeed double counting, and if you are a pedantic nitpicker you should be super correct.

What you call "customs" is the shippers handling charges for clearing customs (Swiss post to be specific, other shippers other charges). What other call "handling" are the shippers charges for clearing custom as well.

If something is amiss with the paper work the shipper can slap even more fees on the top. Extra fees when the shipment contains alcohol, tobacco, fire-arms, precious metals, and things made from protected animal or plants.
If a shipment has multiple items with different tariff numbers you might also be charged extra. At Swiss Post up to 5 tariff numbers are included. Specially clothing and footwear have a lot of different tariff numbers https://xtares.admin.ch/. It isn't just "clothes" but it depends what it is (sock, skirt, pants etc), if it is knitted or woven, if it is for male or female, if it is made from silk, linen, leather, cotton, if it has embroidery or lace etc. etc.
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Old 28.08.2020, 22:20
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

I have the impression that you are overthinking this a bit.
If you are moving furniture and other stuff with a moving company, I would absolutely give them the linen to carry as well.


I am sure that when the moving company said that they won't carry new stuff, they meant a new (unopened box, or clearly never used) 65" TV, or the parts of a dining table that has never been assembled before.


A plastic box with unpackaged linen will never cause problems. First, because we are talking about a relatively modest value. Second because the commercial value of those linen is much much lower once their package is opened. For custom matters, you can consider "used" anything that you would not be able to sell as new (some stricter rules apply for things like cars, but definitely not textile!)
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Old 09.10.2020, 22:17
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Re: Sending new items to Switzerland - duties

I wanted to provide an update as promised.

Items arrived 3.5 weeks ago. Big box for customs not to see it. c500 pounds worth of goods. The courier company gave it to me without requesting I pay anything. So far I haven't received a bill by post.

I guess easier than initially expected!
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