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Old 08.01.2017, 20:50
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Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

If I purchase a pre-owned and well used watch from UK from a private seller, and they post it to me in Switzerland by Royal Mail Special Delivery (signed-for), will I be hit with customs charges? The value is 350.

Many thanks for any help!
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Old 08.01.2017, 20:59
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

Yes. As you are importing something.

Normal import tax of 8% of total shipping value (price of item + cost of delivery) plus a handling fee depending on courier used.
No duty for sure as long as you import less than 5 watches.
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Old 14.01.2017, 23:06
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

What is the threshold for this charge? Do imports purchased of less than CHF62 (incl. delivery cost) go through uncharged?
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Old 14.01.2017, 23:13
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

You have to pay VAT for goods imported by post when it exceeds 5 Fr. At the normal 8% rate, that makes the threshold 62.50 Fr. Additionally there'll be some steep admin charges added by the post. If total value including shipping is below, there's nothing to pay.

You could have it shipped to one of the parcel shops at the german border and drive there to pick it up in person. No EU VAT to pay then, as both UK and DE are in the same EU customs zone. The threshold at which you're supposed to pay VAT upon entering CH is then theoretically 300 CHF, but an old pre-owned and well used watch that you'd be wearing in person would be well below anyone's radar...
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Old 15.01.2017, 02:14
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

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You have to pay VAT for goods imported by post when it exceeds 5 Fr. At the normal 8% rate, that makes the threshold 62.50 Fr. Additionally there'll be some steep admin charges added by the post. If total value including shipping is below, there's nothing to pay.
So if something is CHF6 I pay the 8% VAT, right. Is there the CHF25 'admin charge' added to that. Surely not!?

Coincidentally I also want to order something online which is CHF45 incl. delivery. What will my likely bill be, including admin charges?
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Old 15.01.2017, 02:24
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

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So if something is CHF6 I pay the 8% VAT, right. Is there the CHF25 'admin charge' added to that. Surely not!?
The VAT on a 6 Fr item is 0.48 Fr and will not be collected as it's below 5 Fr. They should not normally charge any admin fees for it either, except if your package wins the additional random screening lottery.

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Coincidentally I also want to order something online which is CHF45 incl. delivery. What will my likely bill be, including admin charges?
0 Fr either, as it's below 62.50 Fr threshold. Make sure the seller declares shipping costs, or the customs will top off the declared value with some random number like 40 Fr for shipping. There's a procedure to contest incorrect custom charges, but it comes with its own non reimbursable admin fees.
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Old 15.01.2017, 08:20
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

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What is the threshold for this charge? Do imports purchased of less than CHF62 (incl. delivery cost) go through uncharged?
The limit is the point at which the MWST at 8% becomes more than 5 CHF. But since 350 is way above this limit, unless you are planning on fraudulently declaring the value of the watch on the package, does it matter?

The amount you'll pay will be about 490CHF. Which is less than the sale value would have been this time last year (before sterling tumbled).
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Old 15.01.2017, 10:31
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

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What is the threshold for this charge? Do imports purchased of less than CHF62 (incl. delivery cost) go through uncharged?
The threshold when tax or duty is charged is for each separately when they are CHF 5 or more. Tax can be 8% (most goods) or 2.5% (books, food, ect.)
Duty is mostly based on shipping weight (sometime per piece as with watches), and original country of origin.

You can find the duty tariffs at http://xtares.admin.ch
Note: Switzerland has a lot of free trade agreements and or exempts duty for other reasons. One notable exemption where duty may be due (when over CHF 5) is the United States of America.

Most customs handling (safe inspection) is made by post/courier. Each one has its own fee structure. Here the fees the Swiss Post charges: https://www.post.ch/en/business/a-z-...earance-prices
Please read it as it comes with an extensive FAQ.
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Old 26.01.2019, 12:33
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

Bumping this thread as could not find anything more recent/relevant.
Speaking of a situation that is somewhat more complex.

A friend (non-EU) wishes to sell his Patek Philippe that has been in family for some generations via an auction in Switzerland. He has been in touch with some auction houses and was told to come here so they can make an estimate.

The questions are: does he need to report it to customs at the entry to Switzerland?

If the action goes through and the watch gets sold, what duties he has to pay? Suppose VAT needs to be paid, but will be paid by the buyer, right?

Is there anything else he needs to know before undertaking this endevor?

If this is relevant, the watch was purchased in Geneva and is in possession of the original bills. They estimate the current value perhaps in the range of 2-3k CHF.

thanks in advance.
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Old 26.01.2019, 13:15
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

If he wears the watch as his own, he should have no problem.

To get the very best price, he should talk to the experts, and not any auction house. They will clean, repair if necessary, and have access to the best customers worlwide. Of course they will charge a fee- but you will get top price for it.

https://youtu.be/aOG0DNi7cJY

https://youtu.be/ZT9rvtlk_yc

My brother was given a Patek Philippe for his first communion by his god father- sold it to buy his first car, in 1967

People buying from them will know that it is in top condition, does not include fake parts, or poor repairs affecting value. They will know the date, possibly previous owners, and so much more.

as for taxes, they will be able to advise too.

For the OP, wonder what he did in the end. I would have flown to UK on cheap flight and gone to pick it up and wear it on way home.

Last edited by Odile; 26.01.2019 at 13:26.
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Old 26.01.2019, 13:50
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

For 2-3'000.-- i somehow doubt if the aution house will really need to see it, a few good photos should suffice, certainly to get an initial appraisal.


Without being rude, 2-3'000 is for a very basic Patek, one that just tells the time, no complications in very bad condition with no box or papers.


Why not just send it over for an appraisal or get it done in London, there are plenty of people in Bond Street, go to a few to get several estimates to see what it is worth
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Old 26.01.2019, 20:14
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

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If he wears the watch as his own, he should have no problem.

To get the very best price, he should talk to the experts, and not any auction house. They will clean, repair if necessary, and have access to the best customers worlwide. Of course they will charge a fee- but you will get top price for it.

People buying from them will know that it is in top condition, does not include fake parts, or poor repairs affecting value. They will know the date, possibly previous owners, and so much more.

as for taxes, they will be able to advise too.

For the OP, wonder what he did in the end. I would have flown to UK on cheap flight and gone to pick it up and wear it on way home.
Thanks for the links, will tell him to check. Am sure he can just wear it, but the question was rather whether some advance paperwork, customs included, is needed prior to the watch being imported for the purpose of sale.
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Old 26.01.2019, 20:15
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

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For 2-3'000.-- i somehow doubt if the aution house will really need to see it, a few good photos should suffice, certainly to get an initial appraisal.

Without being rude, 2-3'000 is for a very basic Patek, one that just tells the time, no complications in very bad condition with no box or papers.

Why not just send it over for an appraisal or get it done in London, there are plenty of people in Bond Street, go to a few to get several estimates to see what it is worth
thanks, he has already sent photos to several houses and this is what he was told in return, hence my questions. Will tell him to check London option as well.
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Old 27.01.2019, 20:28
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Re: Tax on imported pre-owned goods?

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You have to pay VAT for goods imported by post when it exceeds 5 Fr. At the normal 8% rate, that makes the threshold 62.50 Fr. Additionally there'll be some steep admin charges added by the post. If total value including shipping is below, there's nothing to pay.

You could have it shipped to one of the parcel shops at the german border and drive there to pick it up in person. No EU VAT to pay then, as both UK and DE are in the same EU customs zone. The threshold at which you're supposed to pay VAT upon entering CH is then theoretically 300 CHF, but an old pre-owned and well used watch that you'd be wearing in person would be well below anyone's radar...
The OP is going to buy a used watch from a private person, does VAT apply here? I would rather think that customs duty yes, but no VAT.
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