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How to get a Swiss VAT refund ?


Whenever you bring goods from abroad to Switzerland, Swiss customs will charge VAT on the amount declared to customs. If no transport is specifically charged by the sender, it may happen that the customs add a lump sum for this transport. In this way, the customs will apply Swiss VAT on a pre-tax price comprising the price of the goods purchased and an amount for transport. So far, nothing new, this is the standard procedure.

For various reasons, you may believe in good faith that VAT should not be charged and wish to appeal against the taxation, for its cancellation or correction. There is nothing to stop you from hoping. But if you do take these steps, we recommend that you follow the procedure and steps laid down by Customs to maximise your chances of success.

How to appeal the amount of VAT charged?

(For information, this is the procedure for contesting all forms of customs taxation, VAT and customs duty)

Appeal to the customs office where the customs declaration was made.

It is best to address your appeal to the office that made the declaration. In many cases, it will be able to authorise the correction of the assessment itself. The customs office responsible for the assessment is shown on the assessment declaration. This was given to you together with the assessment decision. If this is not the case, you can ask the company that carried out the transport. keep it for its users.

If the customs office is unable to correct the tax assessment directly, the customs district will decide (Art. 116 para. 1 of the Federal Law on Customs). (Addresses of the customs districts at the bottom of the articles)

Respect the time limit for appeal.

In the first instance, the time limit for appeal is 60 days from the date of the tax decision. The time limit is respected as long as it has been delivered to the authority, deposited at a Swiss post office or at a Swiss diplomatic or consular representation by the last day of the time limit.

If the last day of the period falls on a Saturday, Sunday or public holiday, it will be postponed to the next working day.

The time limit does not run (Art. 22 AP)

Respect the form and content expected by the administration.

In paper form, it must be sent by post or deposited at a customs office. The appeal must be signed by hand and accompanied by the required documents.

In electronic form, using the PrivaShpere platform. A legally recognised qualified electronic signature (SuisseID) must be affixed to both the appeal and the annexes.

Faxes and e-mail are note allowed.

The content should contain the following elements

Present valid supporting documents.

The documents used for the contested taxation must be attached to the appeal, as well as all the documents that justify your appeal.


As the procedure is not free, you will be asked to pay an advance. If this is not paid in time, the appeal will be deemed inadmissible.

Then, if the appeal is accepted, a fee of at least CHF 30 is charged on this advance. And if the appeal is rejected, a procedural fee of at least CHF 100 will be charged for the decision not to proceed with the case.

Because of the time involved and the costs that will have to be paid in any case, it is not recommended to take these steps for a small dispute.

*This is a summary of the conditions issued by the Swiss Customs in April 2022. iKompar AG is not responsible for the content of this page.


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