Refunds of Swiss VAT

Tax-free shopping in Switzerland

The salesperson can explain how and under what conditions you can make tax-free purchases in Switzerland. The minimum purchase value per sales transaction is CHF 300 including VAT. There is no tax exemption for smaller purchases.

The border crossing clearance times must be complied with for obtaining confirmation of exportation on the export documents. No exportation can be confirmed outside of the clearance times or at unstaffed border crossings. Export documents that are presented subsequently or are placed in declaration boxes will be returned to the seller unstamped. Opening hours and addresses

Refund due to re-exportation

The mere fact of re-exporting an imported item abroad does not give rise to an entitlement to an import duty refund. Additional conditions must be fulfilled in order for the import duty to be refundable.

A distinction is made between the following:

The re-exportation is due to withdrawal from a purchase contract in agreement with the foreign supplier. This means that you send or bring the item back because you did not like it, because it was unsuitable or not of the required quality, or because the supplier did not deliver what you ordered.

Personal importation and re-exportation

The item is returned abroad for repair.In the case of goods that you imported personally for private use and re-export personally within 6 months, a refund can be requested verbally or in writing from one of the offices (Opening hours and addresses).

In order to process the request, the office requires

  • the original assessment decision (Customs receipt) and
  • a return confirmation from the foreign seller in the form of a receipt or an invoice showing that the amount paid was refunded or credited to your account.

Importation and re-exportation by a courier or transport company

For detailed information on the procedure for goods that are re-exported after 6 months, were not imported by you personally (mail order) or are not re-exported by you personally (e.g. returned by post), please refer to our publication 18.86 (Refund of import duties due to re-exportation).

The item is returned abroad for repair

No duties are refunded when the item is exported. In contrast, only the repair costs will be taxable upon re-importation if you can prove that the item had previously been exported in order to be repaired.

If a free replacement item is imported instead of the repaired item due to warranty claims or as a gesture of goodwill, import tax will be levied at the time of importation but you will be entitled to a refund. To claim a refund of import tax due to the importation of a free replacement item, write to the office where the assessment was carried out (Opening hours and addresses). All supporting documents are to be enclosed with the application (VAT assessment decision for the original item and for the replacement item, export document for the return of the original item, copy of the supplier invoice, copy of the correspondence exchanged with the supplier, etc.).

If a free replacement item is imported because the original item was returned due to dissatisfaction or an incorrect delivery, the import duty refund is to be claimed when the original item is being re-exported (see returns due to withdrawal from a purchase contract above).

Returning goods to Switzerland

Items that were exported from Switzerland and then returned from abroad to the domestic sender are referred to as domestic returned goods. Publication no. 18.85 provides information on the customs and tax treatment of domestic returned goods.


Opening hours + addresses

Information office for customs regulations

+41 58 467 15 15

Contact form

Print contact