Amazon reduces online offer for Swiss customers

A view inside a giant storehouse of the Amazon Logistic Center in Rheinberg, Germany AP

Shoppers in Switzerland will no longer be able to buy items from the US Amazon website due to recent changes to Swiss value-added tax law. Exceptions will be made for e-books and apps. 

This content was published on December 4, 2018

“From 26 December 2018 customers shopping on Amazon.comExternal link and other non-EU Amazon websites will not be able to ship non-digital orders to any shipping address in the Swiss Customs Union,” Amazon said on Monday.

The online giant said customers wishing to send orders to Switzerland should instead use Amazon websites in the European Union – Amazon.deExternal link, Amazon.frExternal link, Amazon.itExternal link, Amazon.esExternal link, or link

The firm said it regretted the change and inconvenience to customers, which had been made due to “changes to Swiss value-added-tax law”.

+ Read more about VAT on online purchases from abroad from 2019

Swiss VAT law was revisedExternal link to put foreign mail order companies on an equal footing with companies domiciled in Switzerland. From January 2019, they will be subject to Swiss VAT. If a foreign mail order company has an annual turnover of at least CHF100,000 ($100,428) earned from small consignments, its packages will be regarded as domestic deliveries. Packages must then be registered and liable for VAT and exemption limits will no longer apply.

From December 26, Swiss shoppers will also be unable to purchase items online from other non-EU Amazon sites. The firm added that it would not be able to transfer unused gift card balances to Amazon websites in the EU, so customers are asked to use them before December 26, 2018. 

By encouraging customers to use Amazon sites domiciled in the EU, the online firm will not be avoiding VAT payments, however. A spokesman for the Federal Tax Administration confirmed to the Tages-Anzeiger newspaper that Amazon also has to pay VAT for deliveries from the EU to Switzerland.

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