VAT refund to companies with their domicile on foreign territory
In order to claim the VAT, the following material requirements must be fulfilled cumulatively by the applicant:
- The place of residence, of business or permanent establishment must be abroad
- No VAT registration in Switzerland or Liechtenstein (no tax liability according to Article 10 VAT Act)
- The applicant does not render supplies in Switzerland
- The applicant has to furnish proof of entrepreneurial status (business status) in the state of residence or business domicile
- The invoices submitted must meet the formal criteria according to art. 26 para. 2 VAT Act and must correspond with the refund period
- The state of residence or place of business or of the permanent establishment of the applicant must grant a corresponding reciprocal right (for more information please see "reciprocal right")
- Only one application can be submitted per year
- The VAT refund is not possible for a total amount of less than CHF 500
The application for VAT refund can be submitted from 1 January to 30 June of the following calendar year. The deadline (30 June) cannot be extended (date of postmark).
In accordance with art. 152 para. 1 VAT Ordinance, a reciprocal right is given if:
a) companies with their domicile or effective place of business in Switzerland have the right to claim VAT refunds paid on supplies acquired from the foreign jurisdiction, which in scope and restrictions is commensurate with the right of input tax deduction that companies resident in the foreign state have;
b) a tax comparable with the Swiss VAT is not levied by the foreign jurisdiction; or
c) a different type of sales tax is imposed in the foreign jurisdiciton, which affects companies with their domicile or effective place of business in the foreign state in the same way as enterprises with their domicile or effective place of business in Switzerland.
The Federal Tax Administration (FTA) provides a list of states with which a reciprocal right declaration has been exchanged. If a state is not listed, the applicant may prove otherwise that the requirements according to art. 152 para. 1 VAT Ordinance are met. The FTA will take this evidence into consideration, if the following requirements are fulfilled:
The applicant must furnish proof of registration for VAT purposes in the jurisdiction of residence, stating that one of the conditions mentioned in art. 152 para. 1 VAT Ordinance (lit. a, b or c) is fulfilled in the respective country.
- The confirmation has to be issued in one of the official Swiss languages (German, French and Italian) or in English. If that is not given, an authorized translation into one of the official languages (certified by a notary) must be furnished.
- If - after having examined the facts - the FTA comes to the conclusion that the reciprocal right is granted by the foreign jurisdiction, the VAT will be refunded. The corresponding list will be updated and supplemented at the end of each year.
Further information about the VAT refund is available in German, French or Italian only.
VAT charged by service providers / suppliers in Switzerland or Liechtenstein will be refunded by the respective state. Therefore, a separate application must be submitted to the competent authority in Switzerland and Liechtenstein. Since import taxes are levied by the Swiss Customs Authority, the VAT refund on imports will only be carried-out by the Swiss competent authority, the Federal Tax Administration (FTA).
A minimum amount of CHF 500 (refundable tax) is applicable for refunds in each state. A representative must be appointed in in Switzerland and in Liechtenstein.
Please note, that the new procedure concerning the VAT refund for Switzerland and Liechtenstein will be published in our brochure (MWST-Info 18, only available in German, French and Italian) at a later date. As of 1 January 2013 point 6.4 of this publication is no longer applicable.