How much VAT do I have to pay? What applies if several people are travelling together? Here you will find the regulations on VAT when entering Switzerland, as well as example calculations.
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When you return from abroad or enter Switzerland, goods up to a total value of CHF 300 may be imported VAT-free (tax-free limit), provided they are intended for your personal use or as gifts.
- The tax-free limit can be claimed only once per person and per day. It applies also for children.
- Goods that are not intended for your personal use or as gifts are subject to VAT. The tax-free limit is not granted.
- The value after deduction of foreign value added tax is decisive, provided this is indicated on the receipt/invoice.
- Price or value indications in foreign currencies are converted into Swiss francs. You can find the exchange rates here.
- If the total value exceeds CHF 300, you must pay VAT on the total value of the imported goods.
- Individual items worth more than CHF 300 are always subject to VAT.
- To calculate the amount of VAT, we recommend our QuickZoll app. You can use it to calculate the import costs in tourist traffic in advance or declare your goods directly and pay any tax and duties due.
- For customs clearance at a border crossing point, showing a receipt or other proof of value (e.g. for online purchases) facilitates the process.
- Different regulations apply to goods that are ordered abroad (e.g. online) and delivered to you by post or courier service. More information: Online shopping.
- Certain goods are prohibited for import or are subject to certain restrictions. These include, for example, certain species-protected plants, animals and weapons, as well as counterfeits, weapons, pyrotechnic articles, medicines, cash, etc. More
Which goods are taken into account?
In principle, all goods carried are taken into account for the granting of the tax-free limit, including duty-free foodstuffs, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, household pets and repairs or maintenance work carried out abroad on your own private vehicle.
Please note: In addition to VAT, you must pay customs duties if the goods you are carrying exceed the duty-free allowances for alcohol, tobacco products and certain foodstuffs.
VAT is 8.1%. A reduced rate of 2.6% applies for certain goods (e.g. foodstuffs, including non-alcoholic beverages, books, magazines and medicines).
It is calculated on the amount you paid for the goods. The basis for this is the invoice, receipt or purchase contract. Otherwise, the market value is taxed, e.g. in the case of gifts. The market value refers to the sum a third party would have had to pay to buy the item. More information on the assessment basis can be found here: Value added tax.
How to calculate the amount of VAT
The easiest way to calculate possible VAT is to use our QuickZoll app. Enter the number of people and the goods you are carrying. You can also use the app to declare and pay any tax and duties directly.
If the total value exceeds CHF 300, you must pay VAT on the total value of the imported goods. Example: The total value is CHF 800. The threshold of CHF 300 is exceeded. The VAT calculation is therefore based on CHF 800.
Examples of how VAT is calculated
Examples of how the tax-free limit is applied for individuals
How the tax-free limit is applied when several individuals travel together
How to obtain a refund of foreign VAT
When you bring goods purchased abroad into Switzerland, you often have the option of having the foreign VAT refunded. More information: Refund of foreign VAT.
VAT when shopping online
Different regulations apply to goods that you order abroad (e.g. online) and that are delivered to you by post or courier. More information: Online shopping, mail and courier consignments.
Customs info: essential information at a glance (PDF, 1 MB, 31.08.2023)With this brochure, we wish to help make your passage through Swiss Customs a smooth one. Are you familiar with our QuickZoll app?