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. Foodstuffs, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, household pets and repairs or maintenance work carried out abroad on your own private vehicle are also included in the tax-free limit. The tax-free limit can be taken into account only once per person per day. It applies also for children.
Goods that are not intended for your personal use or as gifts are subject to VAT. The tax-free limit is not granted.
The value after deduction of foreign value added tax, provided this is indicated on the receipt/invoice, is decisive.
The value of the following is not included in the calculation:
Please note: If the so-called duty-free allowances for alcoholic beverages, tobacco products and certain foodstuffs are exceeded, you must pay customs duty in any case. Further information.
What happens if the value of the goods exceeds CHF 300?
If the total value exceeds CHF 300, you must pay value added tax on the entire value of the goods imported. Further information
Example: The total value is CHF 800. The threshold of CHF 300 is exceeded. The value added tax calculation is therefore based on CHF 800.
Please 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.
Examples regarding application of the tax-free limit for individuals
Application of the tax-free limit for several people travelling together
One person can submit a joint customs declaration for several people travelling together (e.g. relatives, friends or acquaintances). The person making the declaration thus assumes responsibility for the customs declaration. She or he must therefore pay any duties and taxes due and incurs criminal law liability in the event of undeclared goods being found and criminal proceedings being initiated subsequently.
Please note: If the total value of all of the goods being carried exceeds the sum of the tax-free limits of the people travelling together, the person making the declaration is not entitled to the tax-free limit.
Individual items worth more than CHF 300 are always subject to VAT also when carried by several people.
Examples of how the tax-free limit is applied for several people submitting one customs declaration