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Old 11.12.2010, 19:47
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VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

I have purchased some goods in Zurich and completed the forms to get a VAT refund at the airport. I have been to the Customs Desk in the departures area before and from memory it's after you have passed boarding pass control but before immigration. The item I've purchased is a bit bulky and I would prefer to put it in my checked luggage, but how can I do that if Customs needs to inspect the item and Customs is after boarding pass control? Or must all VAT refund items be carried in hand luggage?
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Old 11.12.2010, 20:19
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

I can only offer you Global Blue's phone number (the company responsible for the VAT refund).

+41 (0) 43 816 32 37

Call them before going to the airport and ask them exactly what you should do. No, you're not obliged to carry all the VAT refund items in your hand luggage.

Good luck
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Old 11.12.2010, 21:20
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

By the way....this is a great business these Global Refund guys run.....they deduct something like 30-40% of the VAT for themselves (Administration Fee!)!!! Wish I'd thought of that as a business...nice margin
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Old 11.12.2010, 21:38
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

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By the way....this is a great business these Global Refund guys run.....they deduct something like 30-40% of the VAT for themselves (Administration Fee!)!!! Wish I'd thought of that as a business...nice margin
Yeah...28% in this case. I've often wondered why I work for a living when I could just take a third of other people's tax refunds. Unfortunately, most governments make the procedure for claiming VAT refunds so secretive and arcane that it's impossible for an individual to do it on their own.
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Old 25.12.2010, 13:27
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

OK, I did this while flying out on the 20th. With your VAT refund purchases inside, take your bag to the airline check-in counter, check-in as normal but tell them you have VAT refund articles in your bag. They will tag your bag and give it back to you. Then proceed to the Customs office (inside boarding pass control area on the lower level, near entrance from Check-In Area 1). Customs will confirm that the articles for which you are claiming a VAT refund are inside your checked luggage, stamp your VAT refund form and then take your luggage from you and pass it back to the airline for loading on board your flight. Clearly, you don't want to do this at the last minute if you want your bag on your flight, so get to the airport a few minutes earlier than usual.
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Old 04.02.2013, 13:28
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

Thought to post my recent experience for Vat refund(Tax Free items) atZurich Airport, so it might help someone.
If you have tax free items in to be checked-in luggage. You need to go toyour airline, ask them to tag bag as it has tax free items and take bag back.DON'T go to boarding pass control, otherwise you've to come back out. Go tocheck in 1 and when you reach boarding pass control, look straight, you willsee sign saying Zoll/Customs (or you can ask guy sitting at boarding control),show them items, get stamp and leave your bag there and they will take it backto your airline. Once, you've custom stamp, then it is straight forward, go toboarding pass control, security checks and then go towards Gate A, and you seeglobal blue office there. They charge 5 CHF flat fee for cash refund though.
Whole process is quite hassle free, only if you know what to do and Ipersonally encounter almost no queue, unlike Heathrow where you've to queue atleast an hour on average for VAT refund.

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Old 04.02.2013, 13:42
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

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By the way....this is a great business these Global Refund guys run.....they deduct something like 30-40% of the VAT for themselves (Administration Fee!)!!! Wish I'd thought of that as a business...nice margin
actually, i've seen another company start up and aggressively go for the same market. when i saw what they were doing, i was half-tempted to go for it myself!
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Old 04.02.2013, 13:51
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

Do you live in Switzerland as indicated by your location, if so then you are NOT entitled to the VAT refund even if you are taking goods out.

To be entitled you must permanently reside outside Switzerland
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Old 04.02.2013, 13:51
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

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Thought to post my recent experience for Vat refund(Tax Free items) atZurich Airport, so it might help someone.
If you have tax free items in to be checked-in luggage. You need to go toyour airline, ask them to tag bag as it has tax free items and take bag back.DON'T go to boarding pass control, otherwise you've to come back out. Go tocheck in 1 and when you reach boarding pass control, look straight, you willsee sign saying Zoll/Customs (or you can ask guy sitting at boarding control),show them items, get stamp and leave your bag there and they will take it backto your airline. Once, you've custom stamp, then it is straight forward, go toboarding pass control, security checks and then go towards Gate A, and you seeglobal blue office there. They charge 5 CHF flat fee for cash refund though.
Whole process is quite hassle free, only if you know what to do and Ipersonally encounter almost no queue, unlike Heathrow where you've to queue atleast an hour on average for VAT refund.
... on top of the 30-40% commission they'll take on the VAT refund (I've had as much as 50% deducted from low-value claims).

So if you buy a CHF 300* non-food item and want to claim back the Swiss VAT through Global Blue, here's the breakdown:

Pre-tax price:........................CHF 277.78

Swiss VAT @8%:............................22.22
Global Blue commission @ 32.5%:....(7.22)
Refund to customer:.......................15.00
Charge for cash refund:...................(5.00)
NET REFUND TO CUSTOMER:.......10.00

So you receive 3.33% of the purchase price as your refund. Hardly worth the hassle; you may be better off haggling with the store owner for a 4% discount.

Great business model for Global Blue, indeed.

* This is the minimum amount you must spend to qualify for a refund through Global Blue, by the way ...
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Old 10.02.2014, 18:48
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

This thread is pretty old, so hopefully I'll get a reply. I am buying equipment in Stuttgart, but my round trip flights are through Zurich. So the equipment will be in transit (driving from Stuttgart to Zurich with a stop in Romanshorn to visit friends) So I pay the refundable 8% VAT to the Swiss customs border agent then get a refund at the Zurich airport?
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Old 10.02.2014, 19:04
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

It's not clear from your post where you live, and USFr doesn't mean anything to me. So, first question: where do you live?
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Old 10.02.2014, 19:23
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

If you live in the USA and buyong things from germany, you ask the german shop for the tax free forms to be refunded the german vat-sales tax. You get that stamped at the land border with switzerland by the german officers. Then qhat u do with the form and how to get your refund the shop should tell you. Procedure varies from shop to shop.

As u are entering switzerland to fly from zurich the swiss may ask (but not guaranteed they will insist) that u pay swiss import tax. This will be refunded by the swiss when u leave with the goods. This is to guarantee that you will not leave the goods behind in switzerland. Depending on the value they may trust you and wont ask. But if its really high value good idea to stop on the swiss side and ask thm as the customs talk to each other for high value items (and u need to stop at the german side to get the stamp).
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Old 10.02.2014, 20:24
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

Sorry, it was a typo in my profile Just US
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Old 11.02.2014, 02:43
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

Thanks. The post above has answered your question now.


I don't believe you will need to declare the goods to the Swiss as you're just passing through, but to be on the safe side, best to check at the border.
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Old 20.10.2018, 21:05
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Re: VAT Refund at Zurich Airport

Can you help me about Tax Return Issue?
I am Bangladesh Passport holder. I came Switzerland for Business purpose. I bought a lot of things from Germany, when I crossed Germany Border the custom authority stamped on my bills for return of tax. I am entering the Schengen Area by Zurich and will go back by the same way. The German Taxreturn forms are not Global Blue type. can I get my money back?
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