We calculate the import tax (VAT) on the basis of the so-called consideration or market value. The ancillary costs up to the destination are included in the calculation unless they are already part of the consideration or market value (packaging, insurance or transport costs, as well as costs for customs processing, any customs duty or fees for authorisations, etc.). The relevant statutory provisions can be found in Article 54 of the VAT Act (SR 641.20 → available in German, French and Italian).
If an item is imported following a purchase, the import tax is based on the consideration paid.
Consideration refers to everything that was paid or is payable by the recipient of the goods or by a third person in the recipient's place. Consideration also covers compensation for all costs, even if these are set out separately in the invoice.
When items are re-imported following processing or repairs abroad, the import tax is likewise based on the consideration paid. In this case, however, consideration refers to the cost of the work carried out on the item in question. More information can be found in publication no. 52.01 (available in German, French and Italian).
Please take note of the special provisions on consideration when importing items
- that still have to be assembled in Switzerland or on which work is still needed before delivery to the end client (see publication no. 52.02 for more information → available in German, French and Italian)
- for which the foreign supplier hopes to find a buyer in Switzerland (see publication no. 52.03 for more information → available in German, French and Italian)
- from or for auctions (see publication no. 52.04 for more information → available in German, French and Italian)
- that are being imported only temporarily for use, e.g. based on a rental agreement (see publication no. 52.10 for more information → available in German, French and Italian)
If no consideration is paid for the importation of an item, the import tax is based on the market value. The market value refers to the sum a third party would have had to pay to buy the item. The market value is used for calculating the tax when importing free commercial samples, gifts or free replacements, for example.
It must be possible for the value details indicated in the customs declaration to be substantiated with a copy of the commercial invoice or receipt, for example.
If there is doubt concerning the accuracy of the customs declaration or if data is missing, we can estimate the assessment basis and set it ex officio.
Value details in foreign currencies
These are converted into Swiss francs using the forex sell rate listed on the day preceding the customs declaration.