Does your company offer online sales to customers residing in Switzerland, but aren’t locally registered with a Swiss VAT registration, it is highly important that you keep the sales value below the Swiss low value consignment threshold and ensure that you won’t have an annually gross revenue on Swiss sales exceeding the amount equivalent to CHF 100,000.00. Should you exceed the annually threshold or the low value consignment threshold you will be compelled to use the incoterm DDP and get a local VAT registration.
Swiss low value consignment
The low value consignment is defined by the rule, that the import VAT for an item cannot exceed an amount equivalent to CHF 5.00.
As Switzerland uses different VAT rates such as, standard rated VAT on 7.7% and reduced VAT rate on 2.5%, the low value consignment can vary from same valued goods if they have different VAT imposed.
For example, you will already exceed the low value consignment threshold at CHF 65.00 when using the standard rated VAT, whereas you can up to CHF 200.00 before exceeding the low value consignment threshold when using the reduced VAT rate.
The Swiss authorities does not impose import VAT for shipments below the low value consignment threshold, due do the amount of administrative resources it requires.
Please note, that there has been a suggestion for increasing the VAT rates from January 1st2024, which will make a negative impact on the low value consignment.
You will be able to read more about this in our news section on IntraVAT.
Mandatory VAT registration
E-commerce companies having their place of business outside of Switzerland, and are using the low value consignment, will fall under the same rule for, having an annually gross revenue to Swizz based consumers, not exceeding CHF 100,000.00. Should you exceed this annually threshold you will change your place of taxation to Switzerland.
Should you exceed either the annually gross revenue or the low value consignment, you will have to register for VAT in Switzerland. After acquiring a local VAT registration, all your sales will be imposed with local VAT and fall under the Swiss VAT rules.
When having a local VAT registration, you will be required to use the Swiss VAT number as owner of the goods when imported, which happens by your company sells them to your Swiss VAT number, by using a commercial/proforma invoice. When doing this the Swiss VAT registration will be responsible for declaring the import VAT and duty, and hold the responsibility selling the goods to the local consumers, and hereby claiming local VAT.
No import VAT will be imposed on goods with value below the low value consignment, only those goods exceeding the threshold will be VAT imposed. When paying the import VAT upon arrival of goods, you will be able to deduct it again against your purchase VAT
Swiss duty is commonly calculated by gross weight (inclusive packaging), and when calculating the duty, the price used is often what is equivalent to, less than CHF 1.00 per kilo.
Other goods such as tobacco, alcoholic beverages, jewelry, fabrics, and beverages are imposed with excise duty increasing the total amount paid in duty and/or tax.
Goods with value below CHF 5.00 are not duty imposed due to the administrative resource used when handling these cases.
Sale of goods, which country of origin are included in the free trade agreement with EU (FTA) can normally be imported without being duty imposed, or with a tariff preference, which means they can be imported to a lower duty than usual. In the Swiss duty tariff, tares.ch. you can find the overview for which reductions can be used, and which country gives access to reduction in duty.