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Specialised legal support

VAT plus GmbH offers legal consulting in specific areas.

Depending the demands of clients, the professional services can range from general information, for example as a first orientation, to tailor-made solutions.

Where appropriate, we co-operate with other specialists, either law firms or consultants. For related services that fall out of the scope of our core businesses, like for example company law (incl. incorporation) or direct taxation, we can refer clients to our preferred co-operation partners or contacts.

harbour activities

globalisation / free trade

Legal rights rarely enjoy an absolute status. This also applies to the freedom of trade in general or under trade agreements.
Foreign companies should explore their legal rights and obligations in order to be prepared.

Customs law

Despite the fact that as of 2024 Switzerland will abolish customs duties for (most) industrial goods, customs law functions and will continue to function as a funnel, allowing the customs authorities the supervision and enforcement of a wide range of regulations, even if they have a character other than relating to customs duties.

Therefore, foreign companies that are involved in transactions with goods that give rise to import in, export from or transit through Switzerland should be at forehand aware of the applicable regulations and requirements in order to prevent delay, unnecessary costs or liabilities.

Swiss VAT

Generally, seen from a business process perspective, once implemented VAT should be a self-running tax routine.

However, regulatory changes, developments in the applied business model, advancing insight or controversy will influence that routine and pose a certain or possible cause for adjustment or reconsideration.

In line with the aforementioned, the VAT services offered by VAT plus range from advance/afterwards determination of the treatment for purposes of Swiss VAT, audit of individual or multiple transactions (in~/output side) for one or more periods, VAT registration with or without additional license(s), to exploring for possibilities of optimization.

International trade law

Cross-border trading immanently implies being confronted with regulations originating from multiple legal orders regarding the governing of a.o. trade in goods or services, free movement, intellectual property rights, investments, data, procurement or state aid. These regulations do not only bind the actors involved in trade; they also impose boundaries on the competencies of states.

VAT plus can help companies to identify regulations of international trade law that are relevant for their trade transactions that involve the Swiss jurisdiction.


Not a single company can do without a set of internal rules for legal or business process compliance. This also applies to companies that are subject to customs law, VAT or international trade law.

Depending the company size, number of departments or persons involved, the variety and level of complexity of the transactions, the need and usefulness of internal legal / business process compliance documentation will be more compelling or inevitable.  

VAT plus offers its clients documentation services ranging from transaction mapping to complex compliance manuals in various formats (pdf, epub, html5, app).

Food for thought

when focusing on the big picture, it is not uncommon that specific details get unnoticed

Concept "independent" worker
The Swiss regulatory framework regarding posted workers is based on protectionism. Hence the administrative practice on the concept of "independent worker" is constantly adjusted in order to push Swiss standards of labour law through.
Border formalities
Lawfully crossing the border typically implies making statements that will function as the basis for legal consequences. A minimal understanding is required about what information or documentation is needed and will be processed, as well as to what extent and under what conditions these can be adjusted or supplemented.
Liability - subcontractors
Prime contractors that use the services of subcontractors should be aware of their joint-liability for the compliance by subcontractors with posted workers regulations. Therefore, prime contractors should adopt their contracts to this liability.
Concept "supply of goods"
What is considered a supply of goods for purposes of Swiss may differ from VAT systems of other countries. Consequently, also what is deemed a supply of services may deviate from the concept "supply of services" as applied by other VAT systems. These differences effect the Swiss VAT liability.
Technical standards
Products that are allowed by other jurisdictions do not automatically qualify for complying with Swiss regulations relating to technical standards. Moreover, for example local additional requirements, differences in transitions periods, variations in methods for evaluating technical standards should be taken into account.
Chain transaction
Chain transactions must be viewed on their own merits. Either crossing borders inbound or outbound, or entirely domestically located, a company involved in such transactions will have to be aware what legs of the chain are relevant for its tax liability or the liability of his contract party, and the influence thereof for its tax and legal obligations.
Materials/labour split
Foreign companies cannot evade or limit their Swiss VAT liability by spliting a transaction in a supply of goods -to be imported by the Swiss customer- and a separate installation or assembly service by or for account of the supplier.
Official letters
Correspondence of administrative nature directly sent to companies or persons abroad by Swiss authorities, or entities entrusted with the enforcement of regulations of public law, will normally impose an infringment of international law and the domestic law of the involved companies or persons. 
Temporary import - rental value
Once temporary imported equipment or machinery has been re-exported, the Swiss customs authorities will levy VAT at import on the so-called rental value.
It is not a good idea just to copy-paste transport documentation from earlier transports. Incorrect transport documentation will lead to delay at the border and fines.
Gasoline - import license
When importing fuel in tanks of machinery / vehicles above a threshold, an import license will be needed before the machinery can be customs released. This applies also to temporary imports.
Abroad = export -right?
Whether a transaction is subject to Swiss VAT  will depend on VAT-technical criteria, and not on common parlance or wishful thinking.