tiistai 14. kesäkuuta 2011

Import regulations and tax free

Liechtenstein as well as Switzerland are not part of the European Union, and hence, there are lots of regulations regarding importing stuff there tax free, but also a nice possibility to be able to get back value added tax of the products bought from abroad. Between Liechtenstein and Switzerland there are no import nor export regulations whatsoever.


Now I will give you a bit deeper information of what you should be aware of when shopping in Austria or Germany for instance. First of all, I would like to mention that Liechtenstein (and also Switzerland next to it) is a very expensive place to do shopping. The easiest way to buy some cheap food and other stuff is to travel to Feldkirch which is an Austrian city only a few kilometers from the border between Liechtenstein and Austria. The price level of the food (especially of meet, cuts, alcohol, vegetables and fruits) is way lower than in Liechtenstein and makes it worth travelling for 30min to the Austrian side of the border.

However, one should always keep in mind the regulations when importing stuff to Liechtenstein. One is only allowed to import half a kilo of meet, 3,5kg of chicken, 2 litres of alhocol beverages <15% and 1 litre of alcohol beverages >15%. All the regulations are per person. Usually if you cross the border by bus or with a car which is registered in Switzerland, Germany or Liechtenstein, they don't stop you at the border. On the other hand, if you cross the border with a car from Poland, Chezh, Eastern Europe or from other countries, which are not so developed, there is a very high probability that you will be stopped at the border and your shoppings will be checked.

More information and a comprehensive list of all the regulations can be found here: http://www.ezv.admin.ch/zollinfo_privat/essen_trinken/00356/index.html?lang=en


If the total sum bought from one store exceeds 75€, one can ask for a task free receipt in the store and then he has to get a stamp to it in the customs. By then going back to that store with the stamped receipt, one can get back the whole VAT of their purchase. In case the total sum of the shopping exceeds 300€, one has to pay the Swiss VAT at the border. Usually Swiss VAT is 8% but the Austrian one is 20% so it is still a good deal to do the shopping in Austria.

Stores for shopping:

About the shopping itself. In Feldkirch there is an Interspar in the middle of the city center and it's the nearest big supermarket from the border. If you continue 2-3km further to the direction of Rankweil, you can see Hofer, Lidl and even a bigger Interspar right next to the street on the way. Hofer and Lidl are extremely cheap but they don't have that a good range of products, whereas Interspar is a bit more expensive but there you can find pretty much everything you need. If you insist on doing shopping in Liechtenstein, there is a new shopping mall between Schaan and Vaduz called Mühleholz, and there you can usually buy many things on a decent price compared to general price level in Liechtenstein.

Have a nice (and hopefully affordable) shopping time!