Most businesses in Switzerland, and Europe, are subject to some form of Value Added Tax (VAT). If the issuer of the invoice is based in Switzerland then the invoice needs to contain, at a minimum:
- The VAT number and the name & address of the provider of the good or service
- A true description of the product or service rendered
- The commercial address of the client (party receiving the good or service)
- The date or period in which the good(s) was delivered or the service provided
- The VAT rate charged. The amount will often also be mentioned, but this can in any event be worked out from the rate.
If this information is not present on an invoice it may not be possible to have the VAT reimbursed.
Switzerland presently has three rates of VAT:
- 7.7% is the standard rate
- 2.5% is the reduced rate (e.g. for food, books & basic necessities)
- 3.7% is a special (temporary) rate for hotels
These rates are significantly lower than in EU countries where the rate needs to be a minimum of 15%.
With international trade in goods and services special care needs to be taken to ascertain where a good or service is received, or its basis, so as to properly establish what VAT is applicable. If selling to Switzerland from abroad and to be compliant it may also be necessary to establish a Swiss correspondent address.
An example of a typical Swiss VAT form is given below. Today these forms are mostly filled out online.