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Old 30.12.2020, 22:03
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VAT on purchase from Italy

I've ordered a large and expensive piece of equipment from Italy, which will be delivered to my home. I wondered if there was a way to claim the VAT back in this case? The customer service person I'm dealing with asked me if I had a VAT number but I believe only businesses have a VAT number - is that correct? In any case I told them I don't have one. I'll be paying a large Swiss customs bill presumably, so really would like to not have to pay this VAT if there's a legitimate way around it!
Thanks for any information.
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Old 30.12.2020, 22:22
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Re: VAT on purchase from Italy

The Italian business does not have to charge Italian VAT if they ship it directly to an address outside of the EU custom area. A VAT number would only be needed for shipments within the EU custom area. However, as they are ultimately liable for the Italian VAT they might be extra careful and do it more than the law specifics. The Italian tax authorotiy is certainly no joke. In the end it is up to them to send it w/o the Italian VAT and also what conditions have to be met. Many German businesser by the way are pretty easy to deal with and to not charge the German VAT if you enter a Swiss shipment address.

There is no way around the Swiss Import VAT if the the Swiss VAT is more than CHF 5. (Except the trick getting it shipped to the border and doing a self import in case the item value is less than CHF 300)
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Old 30.12.2020, 22:26
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Re: VAT on purchase from Italy

aSwissInTheUS's answer was first and is telling all the basics clear enough.

There was also a long and recent thread on this topic: Italian VAT refund

There are several things to consider, such as, if you are buying from Italy and the seller puts your Swiss address in the sale documents, the seller is not supposed to charge VAT at all. If the seller or a professional logistics company hired by the seller (the simplest, but not the only way) is delivering the item to your address in Switzerland, the VAT shall not be charged.

If you or some your friend will be picking up the item in Italy (hence the place of sale will be in Italy), then the things are getting trickier, but still doable, please read the thread from the link above.
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Old 30.12.2020, 23:11
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Re: VAT on purchase from Italy

Thanks for the responses - very helpful. I have no problem with paying the Swiss customs - I just hadn't realized the Italian vat was going to be so much!
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