Switzerland is not a member of the European Union and has its own customs and tax systems, irrespective of European legislation. Any aircraft that lands in Switzerland must be placed under one of the customs statuses provided for in the Customs Act, depending on the purpose and duration of its stay in Switzerland. In principle, the VAT Act imposes a standard rate of 7,7%, which applies equally to the sale, lease, importation and maintenance of an aircraft in Switzerland, as well as any transportation carried out using it.
If an aircraft is placed under temporary admission, inward or outward processing, or transit status, or if it is imported as part of a relocation, there are no customs duties, but an authorization – and in some cases, a collateral – is required. Any aircraft that cannot be placed under any other status must be released for free circulation (permanent importation) into Switzerland, following a formal import procedure, and is subject to the payment of customs duties, chiefly VAT.
Since 2015, customs authorities have carried out systematic checks on the status of aircraft that are on Swiss territory without having been imported. For those that are, the tax authorities verify that the input VAT deduction claimed by the beneficial owners of the aircraft is justified. Therefore, it is in the beneficial owners’ interest to ensure that they comply with the applicable regulations, in order to avoid exposing themselves to penalties or jeopardizing their time-limited rights to recover all or part of the VAT paid at importation.
The Renz & Partners law firm and Wealthings SA are combining their expertise in the aviation, customs and tax fields to provide Aircraft Import Switzerland’s customers with a wide range of services and advice on all matters relating to the customs status of their aircraft and the tax aspects related to the ownership, possession, management, maintenance, and operation of such aircraft under Swiss law. This centralized solution enables Aircraft Import Switzerland’s customers to get answers to all their questions from one source, at optimized rates.
Attorney-at-law | Renz & Partners
Certified Accountant | Wealthings SA