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Old 19.11.2007, 14:47
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Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

Hi
I just thought I would ask anyone they have experienced the same thing as me. I am moving my used furniture from France, there is not much furniture but it is easier than buying it all again as I am a bit time poor. I have a removals van coming from Geneva to pick up the furniture. I have to tell then how much it is worth so I have to pay customs duties on the furniture. I gave the true value and they said it was too cheap and it had to be over 12,000chf or they would charge me per m2 of furniture. I had to send an inflated price of the furniture to the removals company. They calculated it as about £500 to get it through customs. The furniture is all used and has been in a holiday house for 4 years. I am a non-resident, has this got anything to do with it. I would love to hear from anyone who has had the same experience. The furnitures value second hand is about £2000. I am a bit stuck as I can't get to our new Swiss house until April so I have to store the furniture in Geneva until the spring.
Look forward to hearing from anyone
Thank you
Swinburne
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Old 19.11.2007, 15:01
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

AFAIK if the items are for your personal use (not for resale) and are more than six months old you pay NO duty/tax/VAT...
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Old 19.11.2007, 15:20
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

Yeah, that's sounding quite suspect - I don't think you should pay any duty on personal effects except tobacco/alcohol products that you've owned for 6+ months, unless you declare that you intend to resell them.

I shipped all my stuff from Seattle and i'm not paying duty...
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Old 19.11.2007, 16:08
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

Hi Thank you for replying, How can I find out this info, other than asking the removal company, any help would be much appreciated.
Thank you
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Old 19.11.2007, 16:16
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

I would first call your moving company to clarify exactly what the charges are. They might be charging you for customs brokerage fees or something similar, not duty. Make sure they are actually charging you for duty on your items, not something else. If they say it's for duty, explain that you've owned the furniture for 1+ years and do not intend to resell it, and see what they say. If they still want you to pay duty, i'd seriously consider getting another moving company if at all possible -- if they get something as important as this wrong, what else are they going to screw up?!
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Old 19.11.2007, 16:18
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

Quote:
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Hi Thank you for replying, How can I find out this info, other than asking the removal company, any help would be much appreciated.
Thank you
Here Google is a great help...
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Old 19.11.2007, 16:30
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

Hi It is me again, I have phoned up my removal company again and asked them why I have to pay. They said it was because it was a second residency and that everybody, residents and non-residents have to pay the same. Still not convinced, I suppose if you rocked up yourself you might get away with it, just don't know
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Old 19.11.2007, 19:07
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

We ran into a sort of similar situation...

When we first moved here, we shipped a container of household goods, but left a fair amount of stuff at home in storage - things like US electronics, furniture that wouldn't fit in a small flat, etc.

Well, the years rolled by and we realized that we were probably here for the long haul, and decided storing made little sense, so we shipped the leftover stuff to Switzerland.

We got hit with the same customs notice - while we were allowed to import our first shipment free of duty, any subsequent shipment was deemed to be a second residence, and thus liable for duty - even though we only had one residence in CH.

We had an insurance valuation done before shipping based on the second hand value, not the replacement value. The stuff was mostly over 10 years old by that point and most of it was junk. When Swiss customs questioned the low value we just referred them to our insurer, and never heard another word. You might try that, or you could get an estimate of the value from a local second hand dealer - the price of what you could expect to realize if you were to sell the stuff second hand in France.

Try talking to Swiss customs personally, not through your shipper.

Or, do as I should have done, and give the stuff away to a charity, thus avoiding the dual headaches of disposal and import bureaucracy...
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Old 20.11.2007, 19:36
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

Hi Thank you for your reply, it sounds very similar. I did give my first list with the second hand value and they said it was too cheap and I had to make it over 12,000chf, it is not worth 12,000chf. I am so time poor I just don't have enough time to buy new in Switzerland. Also I have organised to give the stuff I can't take away, I tired the charity route but there were no takers. Do you know if I could speak to someone in customs who speaks english as my french isn't brillant, do you know a direction I could take.
Thanks again
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Old 20.11.2007, 21:42
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

I'm not sure who our insurers spoke to, but I think you might start by contacting the Customs Directorate; the offices and contact details are here:

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/kontakt/0041...x.html?lang=en

If that isn't the right place, I'm sure they will direct you to the proper person.

Also, take a look at the document, 'Customs and clearance of household effects in connections with household removal' (scroll down for the English version):

http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_pri...x.html?lang=en

(click on 'Customs and clearance of house hold effects' for the pdf document - sorry, full link too long)

Specifically, see point 6:

"6) Exemption from duty on items to furnish a secondary residence will be treated as household effects, except vehicles."

This would seem contradictory to what they are telling you... a point of discussion with someone from Customs, I think.

I would guess if you provided them documentation as to how your valuation was arrived at (especially if you could reference an 'expert' opinion, like an insurer or dealer) Customs might be more reasonable.

Best of luck to you.
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Old 20.11.2007, 23:15
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

Good info from the discussion above, everyone. Thanks.

I wonder if clothing (clothes and shoes) will be taxed? I am arranging to ship most of my family's clothing through DHL and I'm wondering now if these will be taxed? All are used and almost all are older than 6 months.
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Old 21.11.2007, 15:04
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

There are forms you need to fill out in order to import used household goods without duty - 18.44, I believe.

Your best bet would be to speak with DHL, and make sure they understand that this shipmemt is part of a household relocation. They should have all the necessary documentation/expertise to take care of this for you.

And, as I understand it, if you anticipate other shipments these have to also be declared at the time of the first shipment. (Which was my mistake, above.)
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Old 30.11.2007, 17:49
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Re: Customs charge on used furniture for non-resident

Hi It is me again, I have tried to get on lately but with the forum being down I haven't been able to. Just to let you know has happened to my move. Thank you Mellincollie for your post and directing me to the Swiss customs site, it was very useful. I copies and pasted it and emailed it to the removal company who were convinced I have to pay duty because it was a second home. They admitted that they were wrong and that I did not have to pay duty. I have been faxing all week, forms and proof of tax docs etc.. I hope it all goes through OK. To re-cap you can move furniture in if you move it within 6 months of buying the property and it is used for your personal effects. I met a friend of mine yesterday having a similar battle getting some inherited items into switzerland to her sister-in-law who is married to a Swiss national. I told her to join this forum for a few tips. Thank you so much everybody for the help, it has really made a difference joining this forum. I will let you know how I get on on Wednesday when I am back from France.
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