VAT returns in Switzerland

Frequency of VAT returns in Switzerland

The standard frequency of filing of the periodic VAT returns is the quarter. However, upon request, the Swiss tax authorities may authorize a monthly reporting frequency for certain taxpayers that are consistently in a refund position. Also, small businesses under special VAT scheme submit the returns every six months (méthode des taux de la dette fiscale nette).

Due date of Swiss VAT returns

The VAT returns in Switzerland must be submitted within 60 days after the end of the reporting period.

  • Due dates

    • General deadline
      By the last day of the second following month.

Find here and here more information about the applicable deadlines.

VAT payments in Switzerland

VAT payments in Switzerland must be made by bank transfer.

  • Beneficiary: Federal Tax Administration FTA
  • Address: 3003 Bern- PostFinance, Bern
  • IBAN: CH60 0900 0000 3000 0037 5
  • BIC (Bank Identifyer Code): POFICHBEXXX

Have a look here and here at the information about how to pay taxes in Switzerland.

VAT refunds in Switzerland

The excess of input VAT is automatically refunded to the taxpayer within 30 days. This is, when a taxable person declares more VAT deductible – e.g., due to purchases-, than VAT collected from sales, the difference is a VAT credit which shall be reimbursed to the taxpayer.

To correctly receive the VAT refund, the tax authorities must have the right information about the taxpayer’s bank account.

Before the VAT refund, the tax authorities may carry out an audit of the information reported in the VAT return.

If the excess of input VAT claimed via a VAT return is not paid our later than 60 days after the receipt of the VAT return, the VAT credit will increase from the 61st day with interests.

Check here for more details about VAT refunds. Also, see Art. 88 Swiss VAT Act.

Nil and corrective VAT returns in Switzerland

A nil VAT return needs to be submitted even if there are no transactions to be reported for that period. 

Errors or omissions in a VAT return must be corrected, even if they do not impact the VAT position for the corresponding period. You will need to submit a corrective return which shall replace the initial return submitted using the corresponding corrective return form (décompte rectificatif de la période considérée). The corrective VAT return replaces the previous return submitted for the same period in full. This means that the corrective return must include all details that were already correct in the original return as well as the corrected details. Additionally, if there is additional output VAT you must proceed with the VAT payment immediately.

Although an annual VAT return does not exist in Switzerland, if errors are detected during the reconciliation of the annual accounting a corrective return must be submitted. The deadline for correction reporting (applies to all reporting methods) is 240 days after the end of the financial year in question (calendar year). If no adjustment statement has been received after 240 days have passed since the end of the relevant financial year, the tax authority assumes that the VAT statements submitted by the taxpayer are complete and correct and the tax period has been finalized.

Interest is due on the subsequently declared tax amount if the tax amount is paid after the expiry date of the tax period in question.

When submitting a corrective VAT return, penalties and interest may apply.

The general deadline to make corrections on previous reporting periods is 5 years.

Find here, here and here the official instructions about making corrections to VAT returns. This is regulated under Art. 72 Swiss VAT Act.

VAT penalties in Switzerland

Interest is applied if you do not pay VAT on time. It is charged on a daily basis from the date the VAT payment is due until you pay the amount outstanding. From 1 January 2024, the interest on arrears rate is 4,75%.

This interest on arrears apply to your quarterly or bi-annual returns, supplementary returns, regularization in case of backdated registration or corrective returns after the year end’s accounting closure.

The default interest is generally calculated based on the average deadline. In this case, interest is calculated from October 16 (in case of quarterly frequency), from December 1 (in case of half-yearly frequency) and from September 16 (in case of monthly frequency) until time of payment according to the commercial interest method (rule 30/360).

Additionally, penalties can arise if you do not pay VAT on time, or you do not comply with your reporting obligations. Particularly, when it is appreciated a deliberate or negligent behavior from the taxpayer. Fixed penalties are usually established at a maximum amount of CHF 800,000.

When the taxpayer refuses to pay the VAT due after receiving the corresponding warnings, the tax authorities will initiate the collection proceedings:

  • The prosecution is carried out by way of seizure.
  • No deadline extension can be granted once the prosecution procedure starts.
  • After the seizure has been performed, the debt collection or bankruptcy office may provide an additional deadline so the taxpayer may agree on the payment of the tax due in installments.

Learn more about the late payment interest and collection measures in the official article published by the Swiss authorities. Also, this is regulated in Art. 87 Swiss VAT Act.

Swiss Tax Authorities Contact

  • Contact VAT: You will find here the contact form to use.

Customs client administration – UID

Website and contact form

  • Phone: +41 58 463 76 40

Customs – Federal Office for Customs and Border Security (FOCBS)

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