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Old 24.06.2009, 07:02
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Refund of VAT on German Car

Good morning all:

I have just purchased a car in Germany. I will pick it up in a couple of weeks and drive it across the border. The dealer will refund the VAT once I bring the car into Switzerland. The dealer said I have to have some forms stamped to prove that the car has left Germany. What form is this? And who stamps it, the Germany authorities or Swiss? Any insights would be helpful.
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Old 24.06.2009, 15:49
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

I would expect that the grey ownership paper for Switzerland would be enough, surely- the car would have swiss plates by then.

Let us know how you get on, am considering doing something similar...
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Old 24.06.2009, 15:52
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

We were thinking of buying a new car here in Italy before moving to Switzerland in a month. However my husband said he read that we would have to pay an import tax to bring it into Switzerland. From what I understood it was a substantial amount. Does anyone know anything about this?
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Old 24.06.2009, 15:55
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

I'm no expert at all on importing cars, but I'm sure you need to declare the import of the car first at the Swiss customs office that you are crossing.

You will then need to pay Swiss VAT and get a Swiss MOT. I guess once it is registered here you can then claim back the German VAT.

I'm sure someone with more knowledge than me though will come along soon with a more precise answer! (also, search the forum, there will be plenty of advice already about importing cars)

EDIT - read through this thread: http://www.englishforum.ch/transportation-driving/5286-import-bring-car-switzerland.html
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Last edited by grumpygrapefruit; 24.06.2009 at 15:57. Reason: link added
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Old 24.06.2009, 17:41
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

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We were thinking of buying a new car here in Italy before moving to Switzerland in a month. However my husband said he read that we would have to pay an import tax to bring it into Switzerland. From what I understood it was a substantial amount. Does anyone know anything about this?
Ok we will let you know.
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Old 24.06.2009, 17:47
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

Maly, do you know if you will have to pay an import tax for bringing your new car from Germany to Switzerland? I think my husband said any car that is purchased within 6 months of entering Switzerland is subject to this import tax. Just wondering if this is correct. If not, I can see where it would be a good deal to buy a car in Germany (or Italy) and then bring it to Switzerland...and then get the VAT back from Germany or Italy. I have a feeling it's too good to be true...I've a feeling that the Swiss import tax would cancel out any benefit from the VAT tax refund from Germany and Italy. But I don't know.
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Old 24.06.2009, 17:54
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

From what I read on the thread that grumpygrapefruit linked, the Swiss VAT is 7.6% and the import tax is 4%.
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Old 24.06.2009, 23:51
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

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Maly, do you know if you will have to pay an import tax for bringing your new car from Germany to Switzerland? I think my husband said any car that is purchased within 6 months of entering Switzerland is subject to this import tax. Just wondering if this is correct. If not, I can see where it would be a good deal to buy a car in Germany (or Italy) and then bring it to Switzerland...and then get the VAT back from Germany or Italy. I have a feeling it's too good to be true...I've a feeling that the Swiss import tax would cancel out any benefit from the VAT tax refund from Germany and Italy. But I don't know.
ACortese, I did not mention that I am tax exempt. I don't have to pay these taxes so it is a good deal in my case. Yes it is true, if you have not owned the car for more than 6 months you will have to pay the taxes.
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Old 15.07.2009, 05:30
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

Hi Folks,

Just found this treat, I'll give some words or wisdom.

Your problem is not VAT or not or how much, your problem is that you're try to bypass established industries! And they don't like that, so they introduced some barriers.

My information is 15 years old, so maybe laws could have changed, but in this case I doubt.

As fist, every vehicle in Switzerland imported need to have a "Typenschein Zertifikat" also a conformity that this vehicle passed certain tests to be conform with Swiss traffic regulations. Usually the general importer handles this. This will cost you in between 6-20,000 CHF, YAK, right!

Now, when you import 100 vehicles, so you have to add 200 per vehicle, in this case of 1, do the math...

Plus, you have to bring the certification of technical data from the manufacturer, as you're not an authorized dealer they will add some extra thousands on this paper.

Then you have to get some days holidays as this test is made ether in Zurich or in Bern, I have the feeling they always choose the one further away from your residence,

Then you have to pay for noise test's, for exhaust and some other test (Co2)

By the way, it doesn't matter that your neighbor drives the exact same model and type, you as importer have to prove the conformity and it doesn't matter that tis is already done from the general importer.

There is only one way around, if you come temporarily to Switzerland and you leave again, then you can drive your car up to twelve months with your foreign number plates -but you have to be gone before then end of this period.

I am Swiss, returning from living abroad the last 15 years to Switzerland, I'll buy and restore a multifamily home (for future income), then move on to Italy.

So I will buy my car in Germany, as reads "it's a lot cheaper", then restore the building, move to Italy where the EU rule is that you can bring your car along with you (http://rome.angloinfo.com/countries/...toregister.asp)
so then I will change my German number plates with Italian ones.

For Switzerland it doesn't matter if the car is used or new. you have to go trough this lengthy test procedure (about a week)

I know a case back in 94 where a guy back imported Porsche's from the US, do be conform with Swiss laws he had to remove back then the catalysator, by all means make a clean vehicle thirty just to be able to comply with the law.

You better speak with the nearest "Motorfahrzeugkontrolle" and confirm what I wrote here.

Good luck - and sorry
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Old 15.07.2009, 08:08
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

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Good morning all:

I have just purchased a car in Germany. I will pick it up in a couple of weeks and drive it across the border. The dealer will refund the VAT once I bring the car into Switzerland. The dealer said I have to have some forms stamped to prove that the car has left Germany. What form is this? And who stamps it, the Germany authorities or Swiss? Any insights would be helpful.
Both customs authorities need to stamp at the border. The German stamp proves the car has left, but you need to prove where it was exported to in the EU which the Swiss stamp does. (It also allows the Swiss to levy 7.6% TVA). Technically, the German VAT authorities only require German stamp but you get Swiss one anyway as it is difficult to "hide" a car coming over the border, and you need Swiss stamp also to get plates/tax/insurance....
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Old 15.07.2009, 17:16
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

Scott,

My knowledge comes from my desire to cross Africa with a vehicle. After extensive studies I found a "perfect" truck the German army once used.
(The Swiss army uses rather fuel hungry vehicles where you have tho filter the precious juice to 100% purification, however, you can make stunning off road things with them)

The vehicle I want could use everything that burns, from salad oil to diesel, light and medium heavy. You even could stretch the fuel by not using the bathroom and use the fuel tank instead

I bought one in Germany and then my Swiss Government adventure started.
Long story short, I failed to import as the manufacturer of this vehicle doesn't produce this rare paper called "Typen konformitaet Bescheinigung" and that was then bottom line.

I then realized that the industries itself created these obstacles to protect the high price Swiss market. Why should you buy a VW for 35k sFr in CH if you could buy it 10 km away in D for 25k DM, plus the DM was at the time 15% less in value.

To prevent cross border shopping these rules where implemented, makes it almost impossible to import vehicles by yourself.

I had a friend then who helped me a lot, he was back importing Porsche 911 from California to CH, but this was one model and once done with the government he could import as many as he want with no further hassle.

Well, at the end I build a boat instead and spend 8 years cruising this world.
Had a fun time, but now my son starts walking and I need to go back to civilization...

The boat by the way made me an expert on importing goods to CH, some other stories - enough for a book.
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Old 15.07.2009, 17:47
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

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Good morning all:

I have just purchased a car in Germany. I will pick it up in a couple of weeks and drive it across the border. The dealer will refund the VAT once I bring the car into Switzerland. The dealer said I have to have some forms stamped to prove that the car has left Germany. What form is this? And who stamps it, the Germany authorities or Swiss? Any insights would be helpful.
The dealer should give you a tax refund form that you need to have stamped when leaving Germany ie stamped by the German authorities.

You will then need to declare the car as an import and get a document from the Swiss authorities, the cost is about CHF 25.

ACortese: If you are new to Switzerland you can drive your imported car without paying taxes for up to 2 years from the date you moved here - or whenever your registration from Italy runs out. You pay taxes on the value then, not the new value now.
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Old 15.07.2009, 17:51
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

But as said before, I think it's wise to go to the nearest "Motorfahrzeugkontrolle" tell them that you want to bring in a foreign car and ask them for the procedure to pass control.

It's not the customs making the problem, to the the Swiss number plates it is.

They will advise you what to do.

Please post this result for others (and me).


What Charlie said is right, you have to get the invoice stamped by the German customs as exported, then stop at the Swiss border to import the vehicle (you'll have to pay your duties IN CASH right there) you'll be not aloud to continue your journey.
With Swiss residence and Swiss driving license you are not aloud to drive a car with foreign number plates. The only exception is if you have a foreign driving license and your residence in Switzerland is less then 12 month. After 12 month you are not aloud to use a foreign driver license and with the Swiss one we are back to square one.

So, if you want collect your vehicle by your self you better be friend with one of the car repair shops, they have what we call a "Garagennummer" a number plate that is business licensed and not towards a vehicle. This plate could be transfered between cars at will.

To avoid paying taxes you import something else, small, cheap. So the Swiss custom sees you going to the colleagues across the border, but he doesn't know for what. Then you show him a Euro 150 item you want to import, you simply forgot the about the car...

It keeps you heard pounding and the adrenaline level high, but you could do it - but as Charles pointed out, you need to proof it later that you paid your duties, so it's worthless the effort.

You can also truck in the vehicle and make everything in Zurich, Bern or Basel at the "Zollfreilager", in the duty free one. In any case expect a rude treatment as you as "public" are not welcome to deal with customs - for this we have agents. But you are 100% aloud to do it - without an expensive agent. Just smile all way long. One time I had a custom officer shouting at me very badly, so badly I had to pay 350 instead the 3500. We keep smiling...
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Old 15.07.2009, 21:26
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

I found those two links (in German) it seems it is now a lot easier, but still a bit a run around

http://www.hallo-schweiz.ch/CH_20a_auto_import.htm

from the same page, a bit below follow link:

http://www.mueller24.info/autoexport.php

if you need translations, let me know, or use blowfish or google...
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Old 19.07.2009, 17:41
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

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The dealer should give you a tax refund form that you need to have stamped when leaving Germany ie stamped by the German authorities.

You will then need to declare the car as an import and get a document from the Swiss authorities, the cost is about CHF 25.

ACortese: If you are new to Switzerland you can drive your imported car without paying taxes for up to 2 years from the date you moved here - or whenever your registration from Italy runs out. You pay taxes on the value then, not the new value now.
Thanks MarieZug, this is useful information!
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Old 12.07.2011, 21:35
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

Hi everyone,

Well, I am in the same situation: I am moving to Zurich in the next weeks, and I decided to buy a car in Germany before moving to Switzerland. I understand most of what you wrote about the Swiss taxes and customs documents, but I am not sure about how to get the VAT refund. Even when the money should be refunded by the dealer, which are the requirements to get the refund? Should the car be new (what is new? Less than XXX Km or less than XXX months??), or should I be a Swiss resident when the car was bought?? (I read that somewhere in Internet…)

I thank you for your answers!!
MA
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Old 12.07.2011, 21:39
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

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Hi everyone,

Well, I am in the same situation: I am moving to Zurich in the next weeks, and I decided to buy a car in Germany before moving to Switzerland. I understand most of what you wrote about the Swiss taxes and customs documents, but I am not sure about how to get the VAT refund.

You can't . Only Swiss residents at the time of purchase can.

In addition, if you have owned the car less than 6 months when you enter Switzerland, you will have to pay Swiss VAT and import duty as well.

Tom

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Old 13.07.2011, 08:45
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

Hi Tom

Thank you for your answer. I know that I have the Swiss VAT and import tax, but if I buy the car two days after I am Swiss resident (it is a new car), do you think that I can apply for the German VAT refund (after I pay the Swiss VAT & Import tax)??
My idea is moving to Zürich on July 28th and buy the car in Germany on August 1st…
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Old 13.07.2011, 09:00
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

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Hi Tom

Thank you for your answer. I know that I have the Swiss VAT and import tax, but if I buy the car two days after I am Swiss resident (it is a new car), do you think that I can apply for the German VAT refund (after I pay the Swiss VAT & Import tax)??
My idea is moving to Zürich on July 28th and buy the car in Germany on August 1st…
No.

you'll need to prove it (ie official document such as Passport with address or permis). I doubt any documents will be made quickly.

(although theoretically yes but you'll be liable for import
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Old 13.07.2011, 09:11
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Re: Refund of VAT on German Car

Thank you.
I will try it. It is a try worth...
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