Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Postal UK imports to Switzerland

Marcus and Agata are currently very thankful to sports retailer Wiggle and Swiss customs.   Recently we have had need to Internationally ship some essential items to Switzerland.

It seems that the rules have changed a little so this post documents it for others.

Imports in General
Most mature Swiss or ex-pats who have lived in Switzerland for some time import a lot of goods from outside of Switzerland into the country.   Why?  Well it's related to the high cost of goods inside the country.

Sometimes the same goods magically increase in price by 50% or in some cases over 100% when in a Swiss retailer, running shoes might be a good example

So for those who are not insanely rich, or who feel offended by the thought that they are making some retailers insanely rich :-)  imports are just a way of life

The New Taxes

I'll work with the actual example we faced

- value of goods was 225.04 GBP

- Swiss customer translates this to 308.39 CHF

- This is actually not bad  XE reports 304.6 CHF

- Next we consider what zone goods come in from

Germany France Italy and Austria are zone1 so the UK is zone 2 meaning you immediately get a 16 CHF charge

- Then they add 3% of the merchandise price, which comes to 25.25 CHF total including the 6 CHF

- The you take that whole total of 333.64 (rounded down to 333) and tax it at 7.7% which is the new Swiss VAT rate, down from the previous rate of 8%

- So that's an additional 25.65 CHF

The total import duties then are 50.90 CHF

Mathematically then

Cost = (1.03X + 16 )  * 1.077

= 1.10931X + 17.232

So we can say its approximately 17 CHF + value * 11%

When the postman arrives to your door he/she will want cash, otherwise they deliver to the post office and you can pay it there via Postal Card instead.

 Sometimes there is more to pay

For tricky stuff you may need to call.  For example you returned an item and a replacement is sent from the UK.  Well Customs will charge you  VAT and import duty a second time, but if you speak nicely and provide supporting paperwork this can be refunded.

All in All
The frighteningly high cost of nearly all retail goods,  (usually manufactured in China) from Swiss retailers guarantees that the Swiss Customs, Postal Import division will be very busy today and just every day.

Customs Clearance Price

Import FAQ