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Switzerland: VAT changes for imports of low-value goods, effective 2019

Switzerland: VAT changes for imports of low-value goods

A change to the value added tax (VAT) measures that apply with respect to foreign sellers of “low-value” goods requires foreign sellers generating more than CHF 100,000 of sales of low-value goods per year to register for Swiss VAT as of 1 January 2019.


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“Low-value” goods are defined as imports with a VAT value not exceeding CHF 5. This definition also applies to goods having a value not exceeding CHF 65 when the goods are subject to the “standard” VAT rate, and to goods having a value not exceeding CHF 200 when subject to the “reduced” VAT rate. For administrative measures, import VAT and customs duties are not levied upon the importation of goods if the amount of the actual import VAT does not exceed CHF 5.

Under the new rules, not only must these foreign sellers (with sales of low-value goods totaling more than CHF 100,000 annually) be required to register for Swiss VAT, but the place of supply shifts from abroad to Switzerland. In practical terms, this means that customers ordering low-value goods as from 1 January 2019 will receive an invoice including a 7.7% or 2.5% Swiss VAT (depending on the types of items purchased) from foreign suppliers.

Still, as of 2019, any sales supplied by a Swiss VAT-registered foreign seller will only be subject to Swiss VAT once the total amount of sales exceeds the annual threshold of CHF 100,000.


Read an October 2018 report [PDF 123 KB] prepared by the KPMG member firm in Switzerland

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