9.4 VAT refund for foreigners

Foreign taxable persons having received services subject to taxation (for example erection of a booth, hotel accommodation, car rent) are eligible for a refund of the Swiss VAT under specific pre-conditions. For this purpose a tax representative domiciled in Switzerland has to be appointed.

In order to obtain a refund of the VAT, the below-mentioned conditions have to be met:

  • the applicant is a resident / domiciled abroad;
  • the applicant is not registered for VAT purposes in Switzerland or Liechtenstein (no tax liability according to Art. 10 VAT law);
  • the applicant does not perform any taxable supplies in Switzerland;
  • proof issued by the competent Tax Authorities that the applicant is VAT registered in the country where he is resident / domiciled (a certificate of the business status);
  • the invoices submitted have to meet the formal requirements according to Art. 26 Para. 2 VAT Law and must correspond with the refund period; and
  • the country where the applicant is resident / domiciled is granting a equivalent reciprocal right to Swiss entrepreneurs.

Only one application can be submitted per year. No VAT refund will be granted for a total amount of less than CHF 500.-. The application for a VAT refund must be submitted with the official forms approved by the FTA (forms no. 1222 and 1223).

The application for a VAT refund has to be submitted among 1 January to 30 June of the following calendar year. The deadline (30 June) cannot be extended.

The official forms have to be submitted together with the original proof issued by the competent Tax Authorities that the applicant is VAT registered and the original invoices to the mailing address mentioned below:

Eidg. Steuerverwaltung Hauptabteilung Mehrwertsteuer Schwarztorstrasse 50 CH - 3003 Bern

There is no time limit for making a decision. However, in case the VAT refund is granted later than 180 days after the application for a refund has been submitted, late interest is due by the Tax Authorities. In general, no formal decision is taken by the Tax Authorities. Thus, there is no specific time limit for an “appeal”.

As regards the extend of the VAT recoverable, please refer to section 11.1.

VAT Consulting AG

Theaterstrasse 18
CH-4051 Basel
Telefon: +41 (0) 61 225 90 50
Telefax: +41 (0) 61 225 90 51