Claiming VAT for goods purchased in Switzerland

3 replies


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 30 Jul 2017

Total posts 14

Hi all, I need a bit of advice for claiming VAT on an upcoming trip to Europe. I'm travelling a few places around the EU, then Zurich is my penultimate destination before I fly out of Helsinki to Singapore. My previous stop before Zurich is London. I was planning to claim everything on my way out at Helsinki airport, but then remembered you can only claim for items purchased within the EU at your last port in the EU (i.e. EEC/Schengen is excluded here). So will I need to claim my VAT on Swiss purchases only at Zurich Airport? And would I then also need to claim all items purchased in the EU at London prior to leaving for Zurich? Admittedly I have once managed to leave the EU but not the Schengen zone (Belfast > Reykjavik > Frankfurt) and it didn't cause any issues at the final port in the EU...


Member since 01 Jun 2017

Total posts 4

Last editedby Chris C. at Jun 22, 2018, 09:19 AM.


Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 11 May 2015

Total posts 12

Correct, that's been my experience. Having flown from Zurich on many occasions, only goods purchased in Switzerland can be claimed at Zurich airport (and goods must be presented for inspection). Items purchased in the EU can only be claimed in the EU, again presented for inspection and not packed away in checked luggage. Unless it's a significant amount it's hardly worth the effort considering you don't get the full VAT refund, plus pay handling fees, and from memory instead of 20% refund it's closer to 10%. Remeber if it is a significant amount you should declare it when returning to Aust....

g3133 Banned

g3133 Banned

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

Member since 29 Nov 2015

Total posts 1

I would add, leave yourself a lot of time to claim VAT in London. Last year it took 1h45!

Claiming at Zurich Airport is a painless process. Although I had to argue with the guy at Swiss check in (yesterday) that after he tagged my suitcase I had to take it to Customs (Zoll) for them to sight the goods (sometimes they ask to see the goods) before they would stamp the form. It was only after his colleague at the next counter intervened and told him I was right that he let me take my bag.
Once Customs has stamped the form you just leave the bag there and they organise for the bag to be picked up. I have done it many times.
Goods that you carry in your hand baggage are checked by Customs once you have passed through the automatic boarding pass barrier - just follow the signs.

Also, I was told by the Global Blue lady who was processing my refund that you will get more money back if you have it refunded to your credit card than if you take cash. They will happily process it on the spot if you hand them your card.

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