Value Added Tax (VAT) in Switzerland was introduced in 1995. Switzerland is not part of the European Union, however it operates with a very similar system of VAT. In Switzerland, the VAT is also known as Mehrwertsteuer (MWST), Taxe sur la valeur ajoutée (TVA) or Imposta sul valore aggiunto (IVA).
The official administrative languages in Switzerland are German, French and Italian depending on which Canton/County your are in. Administrative correspondence must be in the German language.
Reduced VAT Rate: 2.5%
Applies to certain everyday consumer goods such as foodstuffs, non-alcoholic beverages, books, newspapers, magazines, medicines and tickets for certain sports and cultural events.
Special Accommodation VAT Rate: 3.7%
Hotel accommodation (including breakfast). For further information on reduced rated supplies see Art. 25, Federal Act on Value Added Tax.
All Companies who are taxable must register online within 30 days of the commencement of their tax liability. The Swiss VAT registration threshold for foreign companies is CHF 100,000 in turnover annually.
The following types of companies are required to register for VAT in Switzerland:
If the company is a Swiss-established entity, it does not need to appoint a fiscal representative
If the company is a non-established entity, the business needs to appoint a fiscal representative, who takes responsibility for the submission of the tax returns and the payment of VAT. However, he/she is not liable for the tax payable.
The UID (VAT number) as well as further company details are available through the UID register website. Commercial details such as Business name, Enterprise number, Legal status and Legal seat can be found on the Commercial register website.
According to Article 26. Federal Act on Value Added Tax, the invoice must clearly include the following elements:
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Swiss VAT returns must be filed within 60 days after the end of the taxable period e.g. the filing deadline (Einreichungsfrist) of the VAT return. A Zero declarations / Nil VAT Return needs to be submitted even if there are no reportable transactions performed in the respective period.
In the case of high reclaimable VAT amount, the Company can submit VAT returns on a monthly basis (a written request should be sent to the Federal Tax Authority).
A filing extension for Swiss VAT returns can be obtained by downloading a form from the website of the Swiss Federal Tax Authority if no e-filing access is needed or via the e-filing system if the company has an e-filing registration.
The extension prolongs the filing deadline by 3 months calculated from the original filing deadline. The filing extension does not prolong the payment deadline.
The payment has to be made within 60 days after the end of the taxable period. A 4% payment interest rate is levied on every company not fulfilling their VAT liability by the original payment deadline. The payment has to be arranged if the amount exceeds CHF 100. If the company cannot arrange the submission on-time it is strongly recommended that the company pays the approximate amount to avoid the late payment interest.
In the case of a reclaimable VAT balance, the Swiss Tax Authority will pay the amount 60 days after the filing date of the VAT return if they have the bank details of the Company.
Swiss-established entities do not need to appoint a fiscal representative, however non-established businesses need to appoint a fiscal representative, who takes responsibility for the submission of the tax returns and the payment of VAT. However, he/she is not liable for the tax payable.
A VAT return can only be submitted via an e-filing form on the website of the Swiss Federal Tax Authority. An online form can be filed electronically via the website of the Swiss Tax Authority before the submission deadline of the VAT return.
September 2022: Planned Legislative and regulatory changes for 2023-2025
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