Foreign companies, i.e. enterprises with their business establishment outside Switzerland, that purchase Swiss goods or services for business purposes can get a refund of the Swiss VAT they have paid on these purchases. However, this possibility is subject to a number of conditions.
The VAT refund facility for foreign companies must not be confused with tax free shopping for tourists.
For a successful VAT refund request the following accumulative conditions must be fulfilled:
According to Article 152 Par. 1 Swiss VAT Regulation (“MWSTV”) reciprocity is deemed when:
The Swiss tax authorities maintain a country list in which countries are listed with which Switzerland has exchanged statements of acknowledgement of reciprocity, or for which reciprocity has been proven or has been verified.
In case a country is not mentioned in the list and in which the company that claims VAT refund has its residence, that company has the possibility to prove to the Swiss tax authorities that nevertheless the conditions for reciprocity according to Article 152 Par. 1 Swiss VAT Regulation have been fulfilled. Such proof will be verified by the Swiss tax authorities, provided the following conditions have been met:
The country list 1224 is updated by the Swiss tax authorities after each positive verification respectively is updated annually.