eCommerce fiscal representation process with GJS


The Swiss customer orders the goods (i.e. a pair of trousers) from the foreign online shop and pays the online shop the net value of the goods and the Swiss value added tax (VAT) of currently 7.7% at the standard rate or 2.5% at the reduced rate on the basis of the customer invoice sent to him. The foreign online shop then ships the goods to the end customer in Switzerland using a logistics provider. Before it reaches the end customer, the goods are cleared at the Swiss border either by the logistics provider or a customs official by means of a commercial invoice.

Through the commercial invoice, the customs declarant knows which information must be entered into the system of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA). Important information of the delivery is

  • the net value of the goods,
  • the weight and
  • the customs tariff number, if available.

Once the customs declarant has entered the information in the FCA system, the import VAT and customs duty are assessed. The goods are then DDP, meaning delivered duty paid in Switzerland. The customer is no longer the importer of the goods, but receives the goods from the foreign online shop already taxed and duty paid. The foreign online shop thus imports the goods into Switzerland in its own name using its own Swiss VAT number, company VAT identification number, declaration of subordination and Customs account in the centralised settlement procedure (CSP). You can find an example of a commercial invoice for the assessment of the import VAT here.

The customs duty, insofar as it is levied, represents an expense for the foreign online shop. If the goods are of EU origin, no customs duty is owed on import into Switzerland. The import VAT, on the other hand, is not an expense for the online shop. The import VAT is merely a safeguard tax and is refunded when the quarterly VAT statement is issued in Switzerland. The import VAT is assessed by the FCA when the goods cross the border and is owed with a payment term of 60 days.

Assessment of import VAT when importing into Switzerland

For an import of goods into Switzerland with a net value of CHF 100, the import VAT is CHF 7.70 (VAT standard rate of 7.7%). The receipt for the import VAT is provided digitally by the Federal Customs Administration. GJS downloads this import VAT document digitally using a software certified by the Federal Customs Administration and archives it in the system in an audit-proof manner. If the quarterly VAT settlement is conducted by GJS, the import VAT already paid can be evaluated over a certain period of time and transferred to the VAT settlement. As can be seen in the following graphic, the zero-sum game of the VAT for the foreign online shop works.

Quarterly VAT accounting in Switzerland

The right shipping strategy makes you, as a foreign online shop, successful in Switzerland from day one. With a DDP delivery, delivered duty paid, you achieve the highest customer satisfaction and thus meet the specific customer needs in Switzerland. You deliver and charge like local online shops in Switzerland.

An expert from GJS will be happy to help you set up the process optimally and avoid tax and customs traps.

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