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VAT and Swiss exports


This article is aimed primarily at Swiss SMEs that send goods abroad

Swiss VAT and exports: general principles

VAT, or value added tax, is a tax levied by the Confederation on the consumption of citizens. For convenience, it is the Swiss companies that collect this VAT by invoicing it directly to consumers by adding this amount to the invoice.

We will not dwell here on the legal principles of Swiss VAT, what you should simply remember is that as a Swiss company subject to VAT, when you buy a service from another company, you have the possibility to get it refunded.

These reduced or variable rates are applied for certain activities involving essential goods and services.

Swiss VAT and exports: services abroad

Most countries in the world levy VAT on goods and services. So what happens if your company works abroad?

Imagine that you are sending a package to a customer abroad, Swiss law indicates that this shipment is exempt from Swiss VAT. Why? Why? Simply because once the package reaches the customs authorities of the destination country, local VAT will be charged.

This means that when you write your customs invoice when you send it, don't forget to deduct VAT.

When you send a shipment abroad with FedEx, UPS, or TNT from and you request that a customs invoice be generated automatically from the site, it will be indicated without VAT.

It is important that the recipient is aware that VAT charges will be charged on site.

Swiss VAT and exports: temporary exports

Temporary exports are a type of shipment that theoretically makes it possible not to pay VAT costs since the goods never really arrive on the country's territory.

It is important to know that temporary exports are feasible but complicated to do with carriers such as DHL, FedEx or UPS.

Swiss VAT and exports: returns of goods

For example, if a Swiss SME has to return a machine it has purchased in Germany for inspection or revision, the company receiving the package will most probably have to pay VAT on the amount indicated on the invoice.

Advice: if you return goods and the recipient company has to pay the VAT costs, tell them to pay them, they can be reimbursed by the State on a quarterly basis. On the other hand, if the recipient of the package is a private individual, he will not be able to obtain a refund of the VAT paid.

Swiss VAT and exports: some important tips

We are here to save you time for Swiss SMEs when they send parcels abroad. Here are some tips on VAT costs and avoid unpleasant surprises:



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