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Old 25.05.2018, 23:45
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Online shopping outside EU

I'm looking to order some stuff online from the US, and it's value is marginally above CHF 65, but not more than 100. At this value, the import duty kicks in, and based on my past experience, the total processing cost charged by Post together with duty/VAT can be as high as 50% of the cost.

I'm wondering if it'd work out cheaper if I direct the shipment to a post address in Germany (I live in Basel) and pick it up personally from there. Has anyone has an experience in doing this? Did you still have to pay any tax or import clearance fee? If so, is the bill just sent to your address or you have to clear it yourself at the custom? could the post address company help?

Any other advice is much appreciated. The stuff is for my hobby, and it hurts not to be able to buy them without getting killed by the high processing fee in Switzerland.
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Old 26.05.2018, 00:00
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

You still pay Customs fees when you have it shipped to Germany. They also check (at least it feels that way) each and every package from the US.

No weird UPS/DHL fees though (so far)
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Old 26.05.2018, 00:08
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

After ordering a 50chf fan for my laptop and being charged 38chf on delivery (dhl), I opened an account with a mailbox service across the border.

I've ordered a few things from amazon.de and had them sent to LAS Burg in Weil Am Rhein. I paid the listed prices on the website but the invoice showed no breakout for VAT and there was no import or duty fee.

When I went to pick them, I paid 2.5 euro (or more) per package. Sadly, amazon sent the shipment in as many packages as possible, maximizing what I had to spend to pick them up. In any case, I still believe it is less expensive to use the mailbox.

Last edited by radams; 26.05.2018 at 00:32.
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Old 26.05.2018, 16:27
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

I believe the limit when you cross the border yourself is CHF 300 per person, per day. So less than 100 no worries.

The French post offices will do poste restante ( https://www.laposte.fr/particulier/p...e-de-son-choix ). I assume the German post does something similar.

Beware the post office in Divonne will reject anything bigger than a breadbox, the don’t have the place to store them.
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Old 26.05.2018, 20:34
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

Thanks all. I checked and importing something from the US to Germany still entails an "import tax" (and if the cost is higher than EUR 150, you need to pay "duty" on top). This is 19% for most goods. Quite hefty, but i guess is still better than shipping directly to Switzerland.
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Old 26.05.2018, 21:46
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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Thanks all. I checked and importing something from the US to Germany still entails an "import tax" (and if the cost is higher than EUR 150, you need to pay "duty" on top). This is 19% for most goods. Quite hefty, but i guess is still better than shipping directly to Switzerland.
I wonder how you pay the import tax if you have it shipped to a "Paketdienst" in Germany as they do not pay this for you on arrival?

As to the 19% VAT in Germany: Theoretically you should be able to get an export-stamp at the border and pay Swiss VAT. Only problem: Who would be the one paying them back to you as the seller is in the US?
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Old 26.05.2018, 22:52
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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Thanks all. I checked and importing something from the US to Germany still entails an "import tax" (and if the cost is higher than EUR 150, you need to pay "duty" on top). This is 19% for most goods. Quite hefty, but i guess is still better than shipping directly to Switzerland.
How is 19% less than 7.7%

Your math skills are true shit!

Tom
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Old 26.05.2018, 23:04
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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How is 19% less than 7.7%

Your math skills are true shit!

Tom
Let's assume he ment including all fee's and extra's that could occur, the extra fees in Switzerland on packages from outside the country can be relatively high.
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Old 26.05.2018, 23:08
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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Let's assume he ment including all fee's and extra's that could occur, the extra fees in Switzerland on packages from outside the country can be relatively high.
Only if you don't know how to legally declare such stuff.

I regularly get stuff for my EU friends shipped to CH to save them money.

Tom
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Old 27.05.2018, 00:28
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

Are these products available solely from the US?

Often, you'll find a reseller in Switzerland - and failing that, there's almost always a reseller in the EU, somewhere.

In most cases, the price difference then doesn't justify ordering it directly from the US anymore.
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Old 27.05.2018, 01:48
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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Thanks all. I checked and importing something from the US to Germany still entails an "import tax" (and if the cost is higher than EUR 150, you need to pay "duty" on top). This is 19% for most goods. Quite hefty, but i guess is still better than shipping directly to Switzerland.
Something is wrong in this
You have to pay import tax in Germany (which by the way is duty ) that is clear.

If it is more than Euro 150.00 you have to pay extra duty? That's weird as duty is simply calculated from the entire amount. Did you mean to say if it's more than Euro 150.00 you have to pay duty (or import-tax, which ever word you prefer), if it's lower you don't?

The 19% is not duty but VAT. Depending on where in the US you buy from, there will be a VAT which should be deducted first.
(A quick look in wikipedia: Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon) do not levy a statewide sales tax ..... is anybody surprised? ROFL. Maybe Switzerland should also have a different VAT in every canton?).
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Old 27.05.2018, 09:04
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

According to this, any packaging to Germany involves two taxes, (1) customs duty and (2) import tax. If the value exceeds EUR 150, you need to pay both. If it's less than 150 but greater than 22, you only payu the second, which I understand is equivalent to VAT. Now I am not sure if the US VAT would be deducted before 19% is applied. But from my experience of ordering directly from Amazon Global (where they automatically calculate the net importing fees), my impression is that nothing is deducted, only added.
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Old 27.05.2018, 09:11
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

https://www.finanztip.de/einfuhrzoll/

Link in German, lists what can be imported and when custom fees kick in
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Old 27.05.2018, 09:14
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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Only if you don't know how to legally declare such stuff.

I regularly get stuff for my EU friends shipped to CH to save them money.

Tom
Tom, perhaps you could then share with us all how to declare shipments yourself. It is far from clear that one could do that. Customs guideline here says explicitly that for postal traffic (which is the question asked here), it is the shipment company that does the clearance and hence charges the fee. Your workaround solutions would be a constructive solution to this thread.

But if my maths irked you, I'd be happy to provide detailed workout for you to understand why 19% could be less expensive than all-in cost including custom clearance in Switzerland. But I suspect you're just looking to troll.
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Old 27.05.2018, 09:43
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

What are you ordering that you can't find here?
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Old 27.05.2018, 11:24
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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Now I am not sure if the US VAT would be deducted before 19% is applied.
Prices in the US do not include any applicable sales tax. If you buy something that costs 19.95 in Texas they will add the 6.25% sales tax to your bill, total $21.20 If you buy it in Utah they will add the 5.95% state and local tax, total $21.14.

So the prices you see in USD on Amazon et al, are exclusive of US taxes so there is nothing to deduct. Same in Canada, as I understand it.
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Old 27.05.2018, 12:46
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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I'm looking to order some stuff online from the US, and it's value is marginally above CHF 65, but not more than 100. At this value, the import duty kicks in, and based on my past experience, the total processing cost charged by Post together with duty/VAT can be as high as 50% of the cost. .

No import tax is due if it is more than CHF 5 (SR 641.204 https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...089/index.html).
Appliable rate can be looked up in Art. 25 VAT-Act https://www.admin.ch/opc/en/classifi...index.html#a25

Duty is also due if it is more than CHF 5 (Art. 58 ZV-EZV https://www.admin.ch/opc/de/classifi...index.html#a58).
In Switzerland duty has normally nothing to do with value, but is charged per piece, kg, or liter and can be looked up here xtares.admin.ch/

Other taxes and charges (wine, beer, fuel, tabacco, etc.) is due with the very first Rappen. (I canot link to anything, as there is simply no exceptions for minimal charges)

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But if my maths irked you, I'd be happy to provide detailed workout for you to understand why 19% could be less expensive than all-in cost including custom clearance in Switzerland. But I suspect you're just looking to troll.
It depends on the value (if import tax is due), content and origin (if duty is due) of the shipment and on shipment provider and your relationship with it PLUS the extra leg work you may have to do.

For example for particular shipment from the US containing motorcyle parts (Tariff code 8714.1090):
CHF 61 Import tax, CHF 3.85 duty which was waived, and CHF 21 import charges to UPS (actually only CHF 6.30 after discount). So a total of CHF 67.30. Package shipped to my door.

Shipped to Germany the same would have cost me around CHF 224 in import tax alone! Plus a trip to a German customs office, as unlike in Switzerland where it is sent to your door and you get a bill later you have to pick it up and pay at a customs office! Wherever that might be.

Additionally, in Germany duty is levied on the value and not per piece, kg, liter. As you said duty is levied if the shipments value is above EUR 150 (See http://www.posttip.de/pakete/artikel...l-und-versand/). Import tax of 19% is levied if the shipments value is above EUR 22.

Duty can be locked up at http://auskunft.ezt-online.de/ezto/Welcome.do
In my case duty is 3,7% or a whooping CHF 35.56 More than the non-discounted import charges by UPS.

Additionally the German customs are known to be stickler when it comes to CE marks. No CE mark on an electronic good and it gets confiscated.

PS: Also have a look if the item can be bought on Ebay and seller offers the Ebay Global Shipping Program.
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Old 27.05.2018, 17:08
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

Many thanks aSwissintheUS for your detailed answer. This is very clear and is very useful.

I was indeed confusing import tax and the duty. For many products, what contributes most to the cost is the import tax, which at 7.7% kicks in if the total value exceeds 65 (7.7% of 65 is about 5, below which the tax is waived). Once you cross the threshold, then one needs to pay the processing fee by UPS, DHL etc. And for something just marginally above 65, it is a lot in percentage terms and can be more than the 19% charged in Germany. Of course as you said, any duty will add to this, plus the headache of paying it yourself in the latter case.

Will take a look at other options you suggested. Thanks again.
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Old 27.05.2018, 17:37
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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I regularly get stuff for my EU friends shipped to CH to save them money.
Can I ask what sort of things? I can't imagine what.
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Old 27.05.2018, 23:56
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Re: Online shopping outside EU

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https://www.finanztip.de/einfuhrzoll/

Link in German, lists what can be imported and when custom fees kick in
But this is if you bring the stuff along when flying in?
Which is different from ordering and having it delivered.
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