VAT Consulting AG

Theaterstrasse 18

CH-4051 Basel
Phone: +41 (0) 61 225 90 50
Fax: +41 (0) 61 225 90 51

6.1 Postponed accounting on import

In connection with import, the import VAT can be postponed by the centralised billing procedures  of the Federal Customs Administration (FCA). This procedure is recommended for all importers and shippers, who pay regular import taxes on merchandise. The advantages of the centralised billing process for the account holder are:


  • cashless customs clearance;
  • shorter waiting periods at the customs offices. The shipments will be released after adoption of the customs declaration and after any revision of the goods; and
  • the payment period for VAT is sixty days.


The applicant needs to complete an application form and send it to the Finance and Accounting Section (FIRE) of the Federal Customs Administration in Berne (DGC).


In addition, a security has to be granted in one of the following three ways:


  • general guarantees by banks or insurance companies with headquarters in Switzerland, which are under the supervision of the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory (FINMA) which, respectively, are mentioned on the list of the Federal Supervision of private insurances. The application has to be filed with form 22.10. Such guarantees have to be sent directly to the Directorate General of Customs, Department of FIRE. For the acceptance of the guarantee the customs administration will charge a fee;
  • deposit of collateral securities (i.e. good Swiss bonds or medium-term notes, denominated in bearer form) issued in favour of the customs administration on a toll depot established by the Swiss National Bank in Bern; and
  • cash deposit (without interest) by payment to the postal account of the Directorate General of Customs. The account will only be opened if the membership application, the security has arrived at the section of the FIRE.


The level of security is calculated as follows:


  • for duties: 50% of the average charges accrued in two weeks; and
  • for VAT: for a taxable person: at least 20% of the VAT charges accrued during a period of sixty days; for non-taxable persons: 100% of the VAT charges accrued within a period of sixty days.


Once the application form and, depending on the chosen method of payment, the security has been rendered, the applicant is informed by the section FIRE about the account number assigned. This number will be communicated in writing. After receiving this confirmation, the centralised billing account can be used.


To ensure a smooth process, it is important that the account number assigned is mentioned on the customs declaration, the documents of payments and in the correspondence with the customs authorities. Therefore, it is advisable to inform the involved shipping company about the procedure in place as they should also be empowered to make severance payments on the account.


The granted authorisation is subject to random checks by the customs office.


Copyright: VAT Consulting AG


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