Do I need a VAT number to sell in the US from Switzerland?

Do I need a VAT number to sell in the US from Switzerland?

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I'm completing my first Shopify store with the intention of going Live in the next  days


I live in Switzerland and my intention at the moment is to sell only to the US. Do I need a VAT number? 

To have a VAT number I would need to have a business. My intention is to not register as a business until I see some profit.

Replies 2 (2)

Shopify Partner
192 12 29

Hi Crystal, 

In Switzerland , I presume, you are registered as a private enterpreneur.  The need to be registered for VAT in Switzerland is based on the annual turnover  (CHF 100 000) . Below that threshold you do not need to be registered fro VAT or charge VAT to your clients. At the same time you will not be able to reimburse input VAT and you would have to absorb it into the price (which is not particularly good if you sell to abroad something that you procure in Switzerland).  

And you definetely do not need to be registered for VAT in Switzerland for making sales to USA. VAT is always a "homeground" tax , even in EU where we have a common market. 

There is inderect taxation in US , but you can easily forget about it for a while since it will not be mandatory for you for quite some time ( I am not gonna go into the economic nexus situation there). 

If you want to sell to EU from Switzerland you would need to register for IOSS special VAT scheme (we can provide such service ) if your sales are below 150 EUR. 

Do visit us at - the best EU and UK VAT complience solution. - the best EU and UK VAT compliance solution.

Shopify Staff
2571 236 545

Hi @Crystal16,


It looks like @Rostislav has provided a comprehensive and accurate answer in their response to your question. If you are only selling to the United States then I do not believe you will need to register for VAT in Switzerland, although as with all tax-related questions, we always recommend speaking to a tax professional if you are unsure of your obligations with regards to tax registration or remittance.


If you are selling to the United States, you will also want to be aware of sales taxes there and when you may need to register for sales tax in various states. Tax laws do vary by state, although generally you will need to register for sales tax in a state if you are deemed to have a tax nexus there.


A nexus can be based on physical factors, such as having a warehouse, office, or employees in a state, or on economic factors, such as earning over a revenue threshold through sales into a state. If you're solely based in Europe and are simply shipping products into the United States to begin with then you likely will not need to register for sales tax anywhere yet, but it's good to be aware of the rules ahead of time incase your business grows and you are required to register for and charge sales taxes down the line.

Victor | Social Care @ Shopify 
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