In order to be able to import goods for non-profit organisations and relief organisations free of customs duties and VAT, an application must first be made to the relevant District Directorate of Customs. Only after authorisation has been issued may the goods be imported exempt of duties and taxes.
The District Directorate of Customs can also provide information regarding which organisations are entitled to import such goods.
Exemption from import duties and taxes is granted for virtually all products that are not intended for sale (gifts or donations). These must take the form of direct donations from persons abroad either to those in need, to victims of natural disasters or to relief organisations. The donation must nevertheless be proportionate to the need in order to qualify for tax-free status.
In contrast, donated goods which are first sold in Switzerland and whose proceeds then go to benefit the parties concerned are subject to duties and taxes.