VAT refund Switzerland/VAT reclaim Switzerland

Companies entitled to a refund

- Who can apply for a refund? -

Companies domiciled overseas can — under certain conditions — request a refund of the value added tax (VAT) on business-related expenses incurred in Switzerland. You can apply for a refund of the VAT paid via the 'VAT refund' procedure. The following conditions must be fulfilled:

  • The company is domiciled overseas;
  • The company does not provide any taxable products/services in Switzerland, and is not entered in the Swiss VAT register;
  • The state in which the company is domiciled grants reciprocity to Switzerland (list).

Expenses entitled to a refund

- Which expenses can be refunded via the VAT refund procedure? -

Generally, the input tax on expenses incurred for entrepreneurial purposes can be refunded. Here are some typical expenses for which VAT is refunded:

  • Travel expenses such as accommodation, food and drink, and rental cars
  • Conferences
  • Training courses, further education
  • Expos/trade fairs, in particular booth and security costs

Good to know!
Refundable VAT is only paid out if the amount reaches a minimum of 500 Swiss francs in a calendar year. Among other things, expenses that are not refunded include those of travel agencies and organisers of events when these costs are passed on to the client.

When to submit the application

- When can the application for the VAT refund be submitted? -

The application must be submitted between January and June of the year after the one in which the expenses were incurred (the key date here is the invoice/receipt date).

Example: For expenses for which an invoice was issued in year n, the application for the refund of value added tax (VAT) can be submitted from 1 January to 30 June n+1. This deadline cannot be extended. Invoices for advance payment and payment on account are not eligible for a refund. In this case, a definitive final invoice after obtaining the products/services is necessary.

Real-world example: A foreign company appears as an exhibitor at a trade fair in Switzerland. This fair takes place in June of year n. The trade fair organiser issued the foreign company an invoice for payment on account in November of year n-1. Because the trade fair only takes place in June n, the product/service has not yet been obtained. After the trade fair has been conducted, the taxes paid on the invoice for payment on account can also be claimed for the remuneration period n (to be submitted in the subsequent year n+1) by submitting the final invoice.


- What do I have to do so that the VAT is refunded? -

Step 1: Easily and conveniently calculate our fee for assistance with the VAT refund procedure using our Online price calculator. Our system will calculate the costs for you online.

Step 2: At the press of a button, you can request a non-binding offer via email in the next step. This email also contains the necessary information regarding how to proceed, as well as a link which will bring you to the necessary forms and an overview of the necessary documents.

Step 3: We will review the documents we have received with regard to conformity and legal validity. If there are any uncertainties or follow-up questions, we will contact you. Once the documents are complete and correct, we will compile the VAT refund application based on your documents and submit them on time to the Federal Tax Administration, Main Section VAT (ESTV, HA MWST).

Step 4: We will review the decision by ESTV, HA MWST as soon as it is received. If the refund amount was not approved in full, we will review to determine whether this was justified and will take any necessary measures. If the refund amount was approved in full, no additional measures are necessary.

The time that the ESTV, HA MWST requires for processing can vary greatly. While a number of applications are already approved and paid out after a few weeks, it may take up to half a year in other cases. However, the ESTV, HA MWST is obliged to pay an interest for delays starting from the 181st day after submission of the application. Due to this, the applications are usually processed within a half year (180 days).

Step 5: After receipt of the decision, it generally does not take longer than 14 days for the amount accepted by the ESTV, HA MWST to be paid out. Once the funds have been transferred to our account, we prepare the invoice and deduct our fees directly from the refund amount. We then promptly transfer the remaining amount to the bank account you have specified.

Online price calculator

- How much will the VAT refund cost me/my company? -

Easily and conveniently calculate our fee using our Online price calculator.

Category: VAT refund Switzerland