Go Back   English Forum Switzerland > Help & tips > Finance/banking/taxation  
Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 14.01.2010, 00:46
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Bern
Posts: 2
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
champy has no particular reputation at present
Taxes and Duties from online Shopping VS A Shopping trip in Germany

Hi everyone. I would like to ask about Taxes and duties from online shipping and from shopping in Germany. My situation is... I am living in Bern as a foreign student and want to buy a digital piano to practice in my room. Here is the detail about the keyboard I that I want.

1. In US website, it is about 700 USD. Shipping cost is about 150 USD. So in total around 850USD
2. In Germany, it is about 849 EUR, which is about 1230USD.
3. Here in Switzerland, it is about 2050 CHF. CHF is about as high as USD (ridiculously expensive, IMHO. there is no way I will buy it from here.)

Here is my main questions.
1. I know that VAT in Germany is 19% and since I am not from both Europe, I think I can get this 19% back. Does anyone know how and where (exactly) to do it? I will be probably traveling by SBB train.

2. If I buy it from Germany, will I be charge for Swiss VAT and Swiss duties? I will probably buy a case for my keyboard also. Can I avoid those VAT and duties by putting a keyboard in the case, throw the box away and take it as my personal used item?

3.If I choose to buy it from US website, how much do I have to pay for duties when it arrive Switzerland? I do know that Swiss VAT is 7.6% but I have no idea how they calculate the duties. Anyone who knows how they do it, please let me know. Also are there any other costs for this?

I would rather buy from Germany if I can get the German VAT back and do not have to pay swiss VAT & duties, although it is still more expensive. I really need to make sure of these few things. Anyone who has other comments, please let me know.
Reply With Quote
Old 24.01.2010, 12:58
l_defriend's Avatar
Newbie 1st class
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Basel
Posts: 17
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts
l_defriend has no particular reputation at present
Re: Taxes and Duties from online Shopping VS A Shopping trip in Germany


If you buy in Germany and plan to bring the item back to Switzerland you should be able to get a form from the company selling the goods to you to refund the German MsWt (VAT). I'm told that you should be able to do the same with US firms to avoid local sales taxWe've brought furniture, food and Amazon stuff in Germany on via the internet and this is very straight forward. If the shop you're buying from is close to the border, then they should be clued up on this.

The duty rates are the same if you buy from the US or Germany since Switzerland is not in the EU. There is some info availble on allowances etc in english at

Normally if you get items delivered to you by post, the Swisspost charge you about CHF30 to admin the customs charges on top of the duty payment. You pay this at the postoffice on reciept of the goods.

I wouldn't advise trying to avoid the duty cost on such a large expensive item on re-entry to Switzerland. The border guys always seem to be fairly clued up to me, and anytime we have ordrered goods via amazon.de which are liable for duty, the goods have been checked and we've paid it.
Reply With Quote
Old 28.01.2010, 00:40
claraaus's Avatar
Junior Member
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Basel
Posts: 89
Groaned at 0 Times in 0 Posts
Thanked 21 Times in 16 Posts
claraaus has no particular reputation at present
Re: Taxes and Duties from online Shopping VS A Shopping trip in Germany

Just be careful with what permit you're on too. I am on an L-Permit, and I can't claim my german tax back when I cross the border back in to Switzerland.
Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Shopping online in Germany goldtruth Other/general 2 25.08.2009 00:03
Shopping trip to France Angela-74 Other/general 14 31.07.2009 22:55
Shopping in Germany Tanya Travel/day trips/free time 9 10.05.2009 23:58
Shopping in Germany KarlN Daily life 23 10.12.2008 16:12
Shopping destinations in Germany Castro Daily life 3 28.03.2008 22:18

All times are GMT +2. The time now is 15:15.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
LinkBacks Enabled by vBSEO 3.1.0