Switzerland has relaxed VAT refund rules for tourists exporting goods on August 1st, 2020 onwards.
Prior to the change, tourists were given just 30 days to export goods purchased while in Switzerland to obtain a VAT refund. Now they are given 90 days to obtain a VAT refund.
Supplies of goods rendered to tourists (people domiciled abroad) will only be exempted if all of the following conditions are met:
- The retail price of the goods must be at least CHF300 (including VAT). However, the retail price excluding VAT has to be indicated in the export document;
- The buyer may not be domiciled on Swiss territory. It is irrelevant whether the buyer is a Swiss or foreign national;
- The goods must be intended for the personal use of the buyer or as gifts;
- Following the handover, the buyer must export the goods to a foreign customs territory within the period specified in the FDF Ordinance (now 90 days, for goods purchased from August 1, 2020).
While leaving Swiss territory, the buyer must present the goods and the completed export document at a Swiss customs office, if the retailer is unwilling to grant the VAT refund and to undertake the necessary processes on behalf of the buyer.
The export document must be in the name of the buyer and may contain solely goods supplied to this person. The buyer will then be able to obtain a refund from one of a number of tax refund companies, typically present in airport terminals as well as elsewhere in Switzerland.
Under alternate circumstances, the export can also be confirmed on the export document by a recognized office abroad, such as any foreign customs authorities and Swiss embassies or consulates in the country where the buyer is domiciled.