The Switzerland Federal Taxation Administration earlier this year announced Value Added Tax (VAT) changes which will impact companies shipping goods to Switzerland.  Effective January 1, 2019, any mail order company which generates at least 100,000 Swiss Francs in turnover per year from small consignments which it transports or dispatches to Switzerland from abroad must be entered in the Switzerland VAT Register.  VAT will be assessed on such consignments.  Following is a link to the Switzerland Federal Taxation Administration website with details:  https://www.estv.admin.ch/estv/en/home/mehrwertsteuer/fachinformationen/regelung-fuer-den-versandhandel.html

If you have specific questions concerning the Switzerland VAT, please contact the Switzerland Federal Tax Administration directly:

Online form:

Click here for questions about the Value Added Tax.

Phone:  41 58 462 21 11

Postal Address:

Federal Tax Administration FTA
Main Division Value Added Tax
Schwarztorstrasse 50
3003 Berne

Need an effective return mechanism to get packages returned from Canada?  IMS now offers "International Business Reply Service (IBRS) Canada Small Package Return" service that makes it very easy for your customers to return packages back to your USA location.

The service is designed for items measuring up to 24” in length and weighing up to 4.4 lbs. IMS will provide you with a preapproved label containing content information along with your US address. You can make this label available by either enclosing with each outbound package, via email, or post in your web site. Then, your customer simply affixes to the package and drops off at any Post Office or Post Collection Box in Canada. No postage required. Items are delivered back to the US in an average of 4-7 days. You’re charged only for those items actually returned.

Please let us know if you’d like more information on this exciting new service by calling 800-466-6245 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

What is Commercial ePacket (CeP)? It’s a relatively new service from the United States Postal Service that provides door to door tracking to 36 countries (as of 2/11/18) with more being added.  The service is only available for small packages containing merchandise and weighing 4.4 lbs or less.

HUGE SAVINGS! Compared to First Class Package International (FCPI), our all-inclusive rate for CeP will save you 50% or more.  Your savings will vary by piece weight and destination country.  This is a mere fraction of what you’d pay for other trackable services like PMEI and PMI.

Countries served (effective 2/11/18):

Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland

How do customers use the service?  IMS can integrate with the most popular types of shipping software to print the unique CeP labels and facilitate the package data transfer.  Once enabled (usually takes a week or less), you can begin using the service immediately.  For most integrations, there's no cost or revenue obligation to the customer.  IMS will sort your packages by country and apply our permit imprint to pay for postage.

What can you send? You can send packages weighing up to 4.4 lbs with a value of $400 or less. The packages must be rectangular in shape and the total of length, height, and thickness cannot exceed 36″ (not greater than 24″ in length alone).  Minimum size is 6″ x 3″ x 1/4″.

Tracking packages: The USPS tracking number sequences are preassigned.  When you generate an order or package label, the “LX” prefixed number appears on your manifest and shipping label so you can pass this on to your customers immediately.  Packages can be tracked direct from USPS.com.

What is the cost? You get tracking and 5-6 day delivery (worldwide average) with savings of 50% or more off the cost of First Class Pkg Intl postage alone.   Your savings will vary by destination country, weight, and overall volume.

How to get more information: We would be happy to provide a quick analysis of your costs if you can provide a profile of your package weights, quantities, destinations, etc.  Call our office at 800-466-6245 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  You can also browse our web site to get more information about CeP or any of the other mail and parcel services we offer.  Thank you!

 

TRACKING INTERNATIONAL PACKAGES – helpful tips from IMS

What we’ve learned about tracking packages …….

  1. Packages will get an acceptance scan at IMS the same day we receive the packages.  This includes the PMEI – PMI services, Commercial ePacket, and packages sent via IPA (Endicia integrations only).
  2. The number of scans a package gets will vary by service. Packages sent via the PMEI and PMI services will normally get more scans (visibility) while the ePacket service will average about 3-5 scans including the acceptance scan and delivery scan.
  3. Some countries are better at this than others. In order for the USPS to include a country for the ePacket service as an example, they must be able to give a delivery scan on 90% plus of the packages – our overall average has been 95% plus.  A delivery scan is not guaranteed.
  4. Just because a package does not show scans does not mean it is not moving. Sometimes barcodes are smudged, torn, or any number of other things that can render them “unreadable”.  It can also mean that someone on the other end just for whatever reason didn’t scan a package – it happens. The 5% on average that don’t get a delivery scan are more than likely to have been delivered, just not scanned upon delivery.
  5. If customs holds a package (for whatever reason), they are “supposed” to notify the recipient.  We have no control over whether that’s done or not. 
  6. Packages may go into a seemingly black hole with no activity for a period of time.  Australia as an example, only gives us a delivery scan for ePacket packages – no scans when passing through customs, etc.  Again, this does not mean your packages are not moving and/or delivered (see #8 below).
  7. If a package shows to have passed through customs or a “facility” and then goes dormant for a few days, have your customer check with their local post office as they could be holding it.
  8. You can also enter your USPS tracking numbers on the foreign post’s website and SOMETIMES get additional scan activity.  Ask us and we'll send you the links.
  9. In some extenuating circumstances, we can enlist the help of contacts we have at USPS headquarters in DC, but that’s not an option when looking for a single package.

I hope this helps when fielding customer inquiries and managing expectations.

 

Effective April 30, 2017 the Commercial ePacket service will be available to Japan bringing the total number of countries to 30 with more being added.  Japan will be in the newly created Country Group 6.  Related, Brazil will be moved from Country Group 15 to Country Group 10.

Please let us know if you'd like information about this or other IMS Parcel Services.