Foreign returned goods

These are goods that were imported into Switzerland and are returned unaltered by the recipient. Simple usage does not count as alteration.

Reimbursement of import duties may be requested at the time of the export assessment. Reimbursement of import duties is considered only if the goods are returned to the sender abroad within three years for the following reasons:

  • non-acceptance;
  • rescission of the contract;
  • or non-saleability caused by a defect or damage.

They can also go to a third party on request and on behalf of the Swiss consignor.

If the goods have been altered in Switzerland, reimbursement of import duties is approved only if a defect was encountered during their processing in Switzerland.

A reimbursement claim can also be asserted upon re-exportation in the case of goods that cannot be placed on the market because of current legislation (public health, security regulations, etc.).


You must request a refund in the export declaration (e-dec) or export goods declaration (Passar).

Further information can be found in regulation R-18-04 and in fact sheet 18.86 (documents available in German, French, Italian).


You received spare parts from Germany, but the shipment is incorrect. You send the spare parts back to the German consignor.

Simplified refund procedure for foreign returned goods which cannot be delivered:

If the declarant is unable to deliver consignments to the recipient, it can, in this case, apply to have the import taxes refunded via a simplified refund procedure. 

The following conditions must be met:

  • The consignment is undeliverable. 
    A consignment is deemed to be undeliverable if the declarant was unable to deliver the consignment to the recipient (e.g. due to non-acceptance, address unknown, recipient deceased, etc.). The declarant is thereby unable to definitively fulfil the freight contract. 
  • The entire consignment has remained in the safe custody of the declarant. 
  • The declarant must provide evidence that the consignment could not be delivered.
  • Evidence can be provided, for example, with a remark about the undeliverability and re-exportation on the invoice (a copy of which must be kept in the dossier) and/or with an extract from the Track&Trace system.
  • The declarant is the authorised consignee and authorised consignor.

Simplified refund procedure: procedure with Swiss Post as authorised consignor (CH and FL)
Simplified refund procedure: procedure for other declarants

Domestic returns

For domestic returned goods (goods you have sent abroad and have received back), go to the following link: Domestic returned goods.

Further info

The full context is available in: