New VAT registration requirement for mail-order companies as of 1 January 2019

Press release, 13.03.2019

A taxable mail-order company provides domestic supplies by selling goods that it dispatches or transports from abroad to Switzerland. Anyone who achieves a turnover of at least CHF 100,000 per year from small consignments will imperatively be liable to VAT as of 1 January 2019 and must be entered in the VAT register if it is to be assumed that such deliveries will also be carried out in the twelve months from 1 January 2019.

Aside from shipping deliveries, transport deliveries are also relevant, but not pick-up deliveries. This means that deliveries trigger tax liability where the supplier provides transport to the buyer or to a place determined by the buyer, or mandates a third party to do so.

Registration as a taxable person

Domestic or foreign mail-order companies that meet the requirements for tax liability must register with the Federal Tax Administration (FTA) independently. Foreign mail-order companies must have a tax representative resident or domiciled in Switzerland (Art. 67 para. 1 of the VATA). In addition, collateral must be provided by means of unlimited joint and several surety from a bank domiciled in Switzerland or a cash deposit. For more information, see VAT registration.

By means of a "declaration of subjection for abroad", mail-order companies can voluntarily submit to tax liability even before reaching the tax liability turnover limit or before entry into force of the mail-order regulations. This makes it easier for them to plan the changeover.

List of taxable mail-order companies

On its website, the FTA provides a list of companies entered as mail-order companies in the VAT register. This list enables companies entrusted with customs clearance to decide whether import tax is to be charged to the recipient of a parcel or to the taxable mail-order company.

Please consult the following websites for further information:

1. Mail-order trade (what is the issue?)

2. VAT registration for mail-order businesses.