Largely unnoticed by the public, the ESTV (Eidgenössisiche Tax Administration) since 8 September 2015 has enabled the portal for the online VAT settlement. On the “ESTV Suisse Tax” portal companies can register who wish to perform the VAT settlement online in the future.

It is obvious that the online VAT settlement brings a wide rationalization and thus significant savings for the tax administration in Bern with it. In the age of e-government and eTax the VAT settlement online is a logical step that brings benefits for all stakeholders. The well-known until now in use is pale-orange form in the near future will lose its importance more and more.

We in Activ have already tried the VAT settlement online process – and to take this first: We are excited. With us, the portal has been operating smoothly and if we are completely honest – we do not grieve for the pale-orange form. The famous form had always the disadvantage that it had to be scanned with us. After that, the scanning had to be processed by the typewriter function in “Adobe Acrobat” and to be electronically archived. Then the form had to be printed, signed, enveloped, franked and shipped – that’s all not necessary any longer.

This paper process not only has been labor intensive but also tedious and sometimes uncertain. The forms could be lost, could be laid and after the completion of the forms data were also visible on the desk, which were not meant for everyone’s eyes.

From our experience, we recommend that the tax responsible person of the company, in smaller firms it will be the manager himself, makes the registration in the “ESTV Suisse Tax” Portal. The portal then sends a confirmation letter in paper, which must be signed by the tax responsible person and must be sent back to the Federal Tax Administration in Berne. After that, the tax responsible person will be informed via email about the activation of his account. It is important to know that every login requires not only the username and password, but also security code sent by SMS. Therefore, the mobile phone entered by the registration must be of the mobile which is usually available during working hours. A login without this mobile phone is in fact not possible.

The tax responsible person, who carried out the registration of the company is considered a “super-user” in the electronic account. The super-user can now allow other users access to the portal. Thus, for example, the bookkeeper or the external service provider can enter the VAT data. Thanks to a well-designed process the tax responsible person is automatically notified by email when the VAT data is entered and is ready for release. The tax responsible person can then check the VAT accounting by his login and submit to the ESTV.

To document the submitted VAT settlements PDFs can be downloaded and electronically archived.

In sum, the VAT settlement online saves time, improves the process and provides more security. So it’s the right step in the right direction. Certainly, the accounting software packages and ERP programs will be able soon to transfer the VAT settlement automatically into the “ESTV Swiss Tax” portal. The direction to higher degree of automation is clearly visible.

Do you want to reap the benefits by using VAT settlement online? Discuss with us on the blog!