The Swiss customer orders the goods (e.g. trousers) in the foreign online shop and pays the online shop the net value of the goods and Swiss value added tax (VAT), which is currently 7.7% at the standard rate or 2.5% at the reduced tax rate, based on the customer invoice sent. The foreign online shop then sends the goods to the end customer in Switzerland using a logistics company. Before it reaches the end customer, the goods are declared at the Swiss border either by the logistician or a customs official using a commercial invoice.
The commercial invoice tells the customs declarant what information needs to be entered into the system of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA). Important delivery information is here
- the net value of goods
- the weight and
- if available, the customs tariff number.
Once the customs declarant has entered the information in the FCA system, the import sales tax and customs duty are assessed. After that, the goods are then DDP, i.e. taxed and 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 identification number (UID), declaration of subordination and ZAZ account. An example of a commercial invoice for import assessment can be found here .
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 when importing them into Switzerland. The import sales tax, on the other hand, is not an expense for the online retailer. The import sales tax is only a backup tax and will be refunded in the quarterly sales tax statement in Switzerland. The import sales tax is assessed by the FCA when crossing the border and is due with a payment term of 60 days.
Import sales tax assessment when importing into Switzerland
For imports into Switzerland with a net value of CHF 100, the import sales tax is CHF 7.7 (standard VAT rate of 7.7%). The Federal Customs Administration provides the receipt for the import sales tax in digital form. GJS downloads this import sales tax receipt digitally using software certified by the Federal Customs Administration and archives it in the system in a way that it can be audited. If the quarterly sales tax statement follows through GJS, the already paid import sales tax can be evaluated over a certain period of time and transferred to the sales tax statement. As can be seen in the following graphic, the zero-sum game of sales tax for the foreign online trader works out again.
Quarterly sales tax statement in Switzerland
The right shipping strategy will make you, as a foreign online shop, successful from day one in Switzerland. With a DDP delivery, taxed and duty paid, you achieve maximum customer satisfaction and thus meet the specific customer needs in Switzerland. They deliver and bill like local online shops in Switzerland.
An expert from GJS will be happy to support you in setting up the process optimally and avoiding tax and customs traps.