Value of goods exceeds CHF 300: liable to VAT
When you return from abroad or enter Switzerland, goods up to a total value of CHF 300 may be imported VAT-free (tax-free limit), provided they are intended for your personal use or as gifts. If their value exceeds CHF 300, you must pay VAT. This also applies for foodstuffs, tobacco goods, alcoholic beverages, household pets and repairs or maintenance work carried out abroad on your own private vehicle.
Please note: If the so-called duty-free allowances for alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and certain foodstuffs are exceeded, you must also pay customs duty. Further information
Please also note that certain goods (e.g. counterfeits, weapons and certain plants, animals, animal products and goods subject to species protection) may also be subject to import bans or to specific restrictions. Further information
We are unable to provide information about customs duty in other countries. Please contact the customs authority concerned directly or the corresponding foreign representation in Switzerland.
VAT amounts to 8% of the assessment basis. A reduced rate of 2.5% applies for certain goods (e.g. foodstuffs, including non-alcoholic beverages, books, magazines and medications). Details can be found at the following link: Article 25 of the VAT Act.
The assessment basis is generally the consideration payable or paid for the goods in question. This also applies for goods purchased online that are picked up abroad. The invoice, receipt or contract of sale forms the basis. Otherwise the market value is taxed, e.g. in the case of gifts. The market value refers to the sum a third party would have had to pay to buy the item. Foreign VAT is not part of the assessment basis, provided it is shown separately by the supplier on the invoice, receipt or contract of sale. Further information on the assessment basis can be found here.
Prices or value details in foreign currencies are converted into Swiss francs using the exchange rate (forex sell rate) listed on the last trading day before the import tax liability arises (generally the preceding day's rate). Exchange rates
Producing a receipt or any other proof of value (e.g. in the case of online purchases) facilitates customs clearance. If value details are not provided or if there is doubt concerning the accuracy of this information, the value of the goods can be estimated.
Upon entry into Switzerland, you must verbally declare all goods you are carrying to customs staff. At unmanned border crossings, please use the "Written self-declaration". Information is available at the following link.
Other provisions apply to goods that are ordered abroad (e.g. online) and are delivered by post or courier. Further information