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Old 28.07.2020, 13:17
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Importing Beer into Switzerland

Hello,

We are planning to move to Zurich in October in the move would be about 6 crates of scottish beer + 3 or so crates of Belgian beer. I have had these for quiet some time so may struggle to find proof of purchase.

What import duties would it attract ? They are all below 13% ABV

Thanks.
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Old 28.07.2020, 13:30
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

Usual household quantities (whatever that might be) can be imported tax and duty free as part of the move. Customs normally does not want a recipe for each and every item.

If it is above the permitted quantity tax and duty would have to be paid.
For the Scottish beer it would be CHF 13 / 100 kg duty. (Might still be duty free till end of 2020, a.k.a Brexit transition period)
Belgium beer (EU) is duty free.

Beer tax is based on original wort/gravity. Let us assume the worst which is at least 14.1° Plato or more. In that case beer tax is CHF 33.76 / 100 l.

They might also charge import VAT which is 7.7% of the estimated value.

In other words: Even if tax and duty is levied it will not break the bank.
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Old 28.07.2020, 13:34
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

Thanks, I found this which relates to your advise.

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...xcise-tax.html
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Old 28.07.2020, 13:50
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

If you are coming through commercial customs (i.e. you are doing the proper bureaucracy with the Form 18.44) then you can import free of duty 200 liters of alcohol under 25%, it is written on the 18.44 form.

If you are coming through the touristic customs (i.e. without declaring anything), you can bring 5l of alcohol under 18% for free, then you will pay 2chf for every liter. On top of that you will pay Swiss VAT (~8%) if the total value of "new" goods is above 300chf.

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Usual household quantities (whatever that might be) can be imported tax and duty free as part of the move.
For alcohol they actually specify exactly what is "usual", fortunately 200l of soft alcohol is quite generous


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Thanks, I found this which relates to your advise.

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...xcise-tax.html
I think this is for commercial import for companies, not personal.
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Old 28.07.2020, 13:54
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

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I think this is for commercial import for companies, not personal.
It is the same once you are above personal the limit (tourist or relocation residence).
https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...en_import.html
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Old 28.07.2020, 14:23
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

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It is the same once you are above personal the limit (tourist or relocation residence).
https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...en_import.html
Interesting, because that page says that for companies "liability to pay customs duties and their amount depend on the countries from which the spirits are being imported." (and that above 5l individual pay like a company).
But this page gives a flat 2chf per l: https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...d-tobacco.html
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Old 28.07.2020, 16:32
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Interesting, because that page says that for companies "liability to pay customs duties and their amount depend on the countries from which the spirits are being imported." (and that above 5l individual pay like a company).
But this page gives a flat 2chf per l: https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...d-tobacco.html
Yes, I noticed it as well. The information seems to be conflicting. Both are very clear and are from the same website but are contradictory.

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...d-tobacco.html

https://www.ezv.admin.ch/ezv/en/home...en_import.html

Tried calling them ... they do not seem to have an option in English : (, maybe i'll email them.

So I managed to speak to some one at the Federal Customs Administration Department and he kindly answered in English. Here is what he said:

He asked me if I was coming via the Tourist Route (not quiet sure what that ment) when I said yes he said: it would be difficult to explain 120 liters of beer for personal consumption.

He said the charges would be
Normal beer 25 cents a liter + 13 CHF per 100 l

When I mentioned about household goods he said I have a right to import 200 liters of beer along with my house hold goods duty free. He even asked me to buy more to fill up the quota saying that proof that I have had it for more than 6 months is not necessary as long as it is within the limit. This limit applies for beer within 25% abv.

That is quiet a generous limit. So I guess the information is correct it applies in different circumstances.

Forgot to mention, he also reminded me about the form 1844 which needs to be completed as part of the importation.

Last edited by 3Wishes; 28.07.2020 at 20:13. Reason: merging consecutive replies
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Old 28.07.2020, 18:31
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

Re Tourist Route:
You basically have the choice to cross the tourist customs or commercial customs.

Commercial customs is where the "real import/export" is happening, that's a whole big area and infrastructure where the trucks full of stuff go, etc. Individuals also should use it for certain stuff, such as import of vehicles, and for example importing goods when you move into Switzerland.

Tourist customs is the normal customs you usually use when you simply cross the border as a private person and you do not need to do anything fancy import/export-wise.

In theory, if you want to import your old personal goods tax-free, you should go to the commercial customs. In practice though, if the goods are your old clothes, pans and bedding sheets - they usually do not care at the tourist customs. When I moved I did not want to go through the hassle of commercial customs (and I did not have >5L beer, nor I wanted to import the car): I arrived with the car full of stuff at the tourist customs and the guy asked what's the deal. I said that I'm moving to Switzerland, he asked if everything in the car is 6 months old - I said yes, and he just let me go.

If you want to move serious amount of alcohol, or you have really expensive and luxury goods (so you do not want to risk some issues later), or you are moving with a big truck, or you import a car - you should go to the commercial customs (there are fewer, strict opening hours, etc.), otherwise I would suggest just give tourist customs a shot.
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Old 29.07.2020, 08:51
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

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We are planning to move to Zurich in October in the move would be about 6 crates of scottish beer + 3 or so crates of Belgian beer..
Hello my name is Susie, I work in Zurich. I love music, food, beer and all things Scottish. I am known to be the life of the party and am married to an equally beer loving bearded Swiss guy. He is an excellent cook, especially when it comes to the grill.

Just in case you are looking for new friends to share your goods with...
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Old 29.07.2020, 08:53
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

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I have had these for quiet some time

Keep in mind that beer has an expiry date.
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Old 29.07.2020, 10:15
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

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Keep in mind that beer has an expiry date.
There are some beers, especially Belgian, that get better with age.
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Old 29.07.2020, 10:52
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

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Keep in mind that beer has an expiry date.
Hoppy beers need drinking young and fresh, but stronger ones such as Belgians, Imperial Stouts and most sours can improve for some time, even after their so called "best before" date.
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Old 29.07.2020, 20:28
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

Why not have a big going away party?
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Old 30.07.2020, 11:19
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

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Why not have a big going away party?
You're only saying that 'cos you're on the wagon. All the rest of us think he should have big arriving party, and we're all invited!
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Old 30.07.2020, 11:38
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

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You're only saying that 'cos you're on the wagon. All the rest of us think he should have big arriving party, and we're all invited!
How about a big going a away party and then stocking up with fresh beer for the even more awesome arrival party?
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Old 30.07.2020, 21:32
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Re: Importing Beer into Switzerland

Provided the party is in September when I shall be back off the wagon, no problem.

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How about a big going a away party and then stocking up with fresh beer for the even more awesome arrival party?
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