Recommendations for selling software and hosting to Switzerland?


#1

Hey up. Anyone got any experience of this, or can recommend accountants who have?

We’ve been asked to supply software and services to an org in Switzerland.

The Swiss VAT situation seems to be quite lively (as far as VAT situations can ever be lively), in that it’s had lots of updates over the last few years including 2018.

I’m not clear, if we sell to an org in Switzerland, whether

  • we should be charging some form of VAT to them
  • we should be registering for VAT in Switzerland and what that means practically, and what we charge after that
  • we should just be charging nothing on services if we sell to Switzerland!

cheers,
Tom.


#2

My advice is to call HMRC and get their advice. As you may already be aware, VAT is a complex beast with lots of weird nonsenical rules, expecially when it comes to things like digital products and services and international transactions. Enjoy!


#3

Hi Tom,
We use https://www.greenaccountancy.com/ who are always good with advice about selling overseas. I don’t think we’ve had a client in Switzerland yet.
I’ll post back if I find out anything specific.
Cheers,
Finn


#4

Hello Tom
We worked for the ICA for many years when they were based in Geneva, Switzerland. For their annual reports design, print and delivery, as well as web design, we never charged any VAT.
Cheers
Felix


#5

Thinking back to my days billing for work where printed stuff is the end product, most (but no all) print is zero-rated. The “VAT boys” as our accountant used to call them, have since tightened up a lot on international stuff now. I find myself paying VAT to US-based providers these days once they know I’m in the UK.


#6

Appreciate the replies here folks. I think the situation has changed several times, recently, due to new legislation in Switzerland. Yep good call @Graham , agree HMRC will help me understand what I have to do in the UK - I actually think I’m ok for that part - it’s more “are we now a Swiss entity” that I’m scared about :slight_smile: @finn I’m gonna call the green accountancy folks, cheers!


#7

Myself and quite a few others have had an utterly terrirble experience with them :frowning:

In part it is because they seem to think they work for the Gov’t/ HMRC rather than their actual clients.


#8

For anyone who couldn’t sleep waiting for the outcome of this discussion, HMRC couldn’t help with non-UK VAT obligations, and neither could the accountants although we had a friendly chat and they were as helpful as they could be. I think next stop is to get our client to find some Swiss accountants to help, or to see if we can do business with their Zambian office instead.