Taxes and import duties: Customs duties, VAT and other levies

Various taxes and duties are levied on imported goods. A mistake in the declaration or packaging can result in additional costs.

The Swiss Federal Customs Administration (FCA) levies the following on goods imported from overseas:

  • Customs duties
  • VAT
  • Various other taxes and duties (monopoly charge on alcohol, tax on tobacco, tax on mineral oils, tax on automobiles, tax on heavy goods traffic, etc.)

To determine the amount of taxation on goods, the FCA uses the information contained in the customs declaration. Duty can vary according to several factors:

  • The type, quantity and condition of the goods when they are declared
  • The rates and bases of calculation in force for goods when they are declared

High rates applied in the event of an error

If the customs declaration contains an incorrect description of the goods and it is not possible to have this corrected, or if the goods have not been declared, they may be taxed at the highest rate applicable.

When goods taxable in different ways are packaged in the same parcel or are delivered using the same method of transport, and when the information about their respective quantity is insufficient, customs duties are calculated on the total weight of the goods and at the highest rate applicable.

The customs rates applicable to each item can be found using the Tares system on the FCA website. On written request, the FCA can also provide information about the tariff classification and preferential origin of goods.


Last modification 27.02.2020

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