Duty-free warehouses

Duty-free warehouses are used to temporarily store goods on which no tax or duty has been paid. They are operated by private warehousing companies but have a public character and are open to all interested parties.

The main benefits of a duty-free warehouse are:

  • Temporary storage: transit goods can be stored in the customs territory free of import tax

  • Credit function: for goods destined for sale in the customs territory, import duties only need to be paid after the end of stockpiling (definitive customs declaration)

The goods are moved via the transit procedure from the border to the duty-free warehouse. After temporary storage, the goods can be either definitively imported or exported from the customs territory as part of the transit procedure.

Changes needed to conserve the goods during warehousing (such as removing external packaging, repacking, taking samples) are permitted without the FCA's approval, but certain restrictions apply to transit goods (re-export into the EU).

The following goods can be temporarily stored in a duty-free warehouse without paying tax:

  • Highly-taxed goods or
  • Goods subject to a quota and
  • Goods stored on a temporary basis whose end use is not yet certain

The Confederation's so-called non-customs legislative instruments apply; for example, a CITES certificate must be submitted for goods governed by laws on the protection of species, and cultural property must be declared using form 11.95.

Are you interested in operating a duty-free warehouse? Further information can be obtained from the District Directorate of Customs for your place of business.