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Swiss Sales Tax Refund

Before I start, this is not a complaint!! Just curious if I could have done something different...

Just got back from 1st trip to Switzerland and we loved it. 1 night Zurich, 2 nights Lucerne and 4 nights in the BO. Can't wait to get back. I loved it so much, in fact, I decided to buy a souvenir/retirement gift for myself. Nothing too crazy, but after 30 years I wanted a decent watch. Tissot makes a Jungfraubahn special edition smart watch which I saw and really liked. Anyway, I paid 38 CHF in tax. The sales person explained that if I was leaving from Switzerland, she could take off the tax. But we were going to Italy for a week and leaving out of Milan. So she gave me all the forms and explained that I needed a stamp from customs in Milan (at least I think that is what she said, I can't remember exactly). But when we got to Milan MXP, they said I needed to get the stamp at Swiss customs, when I crossed the border (because CH is not in the EU). Well obviously, the train didn't stop at the border for customs, so I never got the stamp or my tax refund..

Again, I'm not complaining here... Just curious, was there anyway for me to get a customs stamp somewhere along the line? Or was I just destined to pay the tax???

Posted by
8889 posts

The short answer, when you were told "I needed a stamp from customs in Milan", you were either misinformed, or misheard.
Switzerland is not in the EU, so you needed your forms stamping by Swiss customs when you left Switzerland. If you are leaving by train, that means getting off at the border station, going to the customs office and then getting a later train. Not very practical.

A full list of Swiss customs offices is here (official Swiss customs website):
If you zoom, you can see a customs post at Chiasso station, which is the last station in Switzerland.
Most border crossings (road and rail) are totally unmanned, just a sign and an "honesty box" to put in declaration forms if you have things to declare.

Posted by
177 posts

Thanks Chris.. I may have misheard. But as you say, getting off the train at a border town would have been impractical anyway. It's all good though, she gave me a 10% discount and a Tissot baseball cap because I told her she was wonderful.. And the watch is sweet. And I can't stop thinking of how wonderful Switzerland is.. Worth way more than 38 CHF!!!!!