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Switzerland 2018 VAT overhaul

  • Dec 18, 2017 | Richard Asquith

Switzerland 2018 VAT overhaul
  • Switzerland cuts its standard VAT rate from 8% to 7.7%
  • E-books moves to reduced 2.5% VAT rate
  • Extension of VAT registration threshold calculation to bring in 30,000 non-resident businesses into tax net

Switzerland cuts its VAT rate from 8% to 7.7% on the 1 January 2018

The 8% VAT rate was set as a temporary measure between 2011 and 2017 to fund railway infrastructure investment.  The current reduced VAT rate, applied to hotel accommodation, would also drop from 3.8% to 3.7%.  There would be no change to the super reduced rate of 2.5%.

Electronic books reduced from 8% to 2.5%

From 1 January, e-books will be reclassified from the standard rate to the super reduced VAT rate of 2.5%. This is the same rate as printed books.

Changes to Swiss VAT registrations threshold calculation

Currently, non-resident businesses providing taxable services in Switzerland are only liable to register for Swiss VAT register if their income in Switzerland exceeds CHF100,000 per annum. From 1 January 2018, this basis changes to their entire global income (i.e. including income in their resident country). This amendment is being introduced to prevent small, foreign businesses selling in Switzerland under the threshold and therefore VAT-free. It is anticipated that this will affect over 30,000 foreign businesses.

Need help with your Swiss VAT compliance?

Researching Swiss VAT legislation is the first step to understanding your VAT compliance needs. Avalara has a range of solutions that can help your business depending on where and how you trade. 

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VP Global Indirect Tax
Richard Asquith
VP Global Indirect Tax Richard Asquith
Richard Asquith is VP Global Indirect Tax at Avalara, helping businesses understand their compliance obligations as they grow globally. He can be contacted at: He is part of the European leadership team which won International Tax Review's 2020 Tax Technology Firm of the Year. Richard trained as an accountant with KPMG in the UK, and went on to work in Hungary, Russia and France with EY.