Swiss VAT refund / Basics

refund for specific group only

Only a foreign company can claim Swiss VAT refund. Furthermore, in order to be entitled to VAT refund a foreign company needs to have its business establishment in one of the listed countries. A foreign company will only be entitled to claim Swiss VAT refund when according to the standard regulation for Swiss VAT recovery a domestic company would be entitled to recovery of input VAT.

refund of specific VAT only

Only Swiss VAT that in line with the VAT regulations was due will be refunded. VAT charged on supplies that are not subject to, or are relieved/exempted from Swiss VAT will not be refunded. Furthermore, for some countries limitations may apply to the transactions for which refund can be claimed. A foreign company that in the country of residence is subject to a limited entitlement of VAT recovery will see its Swiss VAT refund entitlement limited accordingly.

subject to time limitation

The entitlement to claim Swiss VAT refund is a right that can only be exercised within a limited time period (six months after the ending of the calendar year). Furthermore, only Swiss VAT that relates to the previous calendar year can be claimed successfully. An initial Swiss VAT refund claim cannot be filed successfully once the deadline has expired.

getting prepared

Every time you are considering to purchase goods or services you should verify the impact of the VAT treatment of that purchase transaction on your refund position. If you don’t do this or not earlier than at the time you are preparing your refund claim, you will be too late to have documents rectified when needed.

VAT refund vs. VAT registration

The VAT refund procedure is not the same as a VAT registration. A foreign company will only be able to register for VAT purposes when it meets the conditions for compulsory or voluntary VAT liability. The refund procedure is only available to foreign companies that are not and also not should be registered for VAT purposes.
Read more about Swiss VAT liability

use legal specialists

Contrary to a high number of VAT refund, “cash back” or “cash management” services suppliers, we do not treat VAT refund merely as a process, but instead pay attention to the legal issues in connection with VAT refund. Upfront is reviewed whether the conditions for refund are fulfilled, and possible rejections of claims are not simple accepted.
Still paying more than 10% commission on Swiss VAT refund? Not with VAT plus Switzerland!

Selected Swiss VAT topics

plan your Swiss VAT refund

Swiss VAT refund asks for planning

VAT refund compliance starts long before you submit your Swiss VAT refund application. In fact it begins at the first moment you purchase goods or services  or when you perform activities in Switzerland. In both situations you need to ask yourself whether your company will be in a refund position or rather in a VAT liability position. A foreign company needs to have a policy in place for determining its Swiss VAT position(s) or for handling Swiss VAT.

Save time and unrecoverable VAT by using tools for tracking your refundable VAT. Provided kept up-to-date regularly, you have your overview of all relevant information immediately available.

Foreign companies that want an efficient and effective in-house policy for capturing refundable VAT should consider to implement a clear but concise written instruction for staff.


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The information on this website is of general nature only and cannot be regarded as advice, nor shall be used as main or sole basis for acts.