As already announced in 2019, the Federal Tax Administration will introduce electronic VAT filing as a standard model from January 2021. In the following you will find the key facts on this topic:
Two options for electronic filing
Since 2015, taxpayers have been able to choose whether to submit their VAT returns online. We have been using the online portal for several years now and have had very positive experiences with it so far. However, many companies and tax advisors still have major objections, as approximately half of them still submit their returns in paper form.
From January 2021, the tax administration will offer two different online standards, which are described briefly below. Currently, the "VAT reporting easy" option is not yet available, but the introduction is planned for January 2021, subject to possible delays that may result from COVID-19. At the moment the implementation is running according to plan.
Full version ESTV Suisse Tax
For the full version a registration is necessary. A registered user has the possibility to bundle different taxable subjects in one account, he can submit the returns for all mandates assigned to him, monitor and extend deadlines, view and update master data and submit corrections for submitted returns, just to name a few functions. Also data can be uploaded directly from the accounting software.
The full version is especially beneficial for tax consultants who are responsible for many different clients. There is no need for tedious storage of login data for each individual client.
VAT reporting easy
The second standard is much simpler, registration is not necessary. The planned "VAT reporting easy" basically only offers the possibility of electronic submission of the VAT return. Each registered tax payer receives an access code which allows him to access his current return.
All other functions and advantages of the full version are not included. This type of reporting may be recommendable for smaller companies to meet their previous obligations without any major administrative effort.
Paper based filing of the return
Submission by paper form can only be made in exceptional cases and the forms must be actively ordered from the tax administration. There is no possibility of a continuous order, instead the form must be actively requested for each quarter. This is intended to make paper filing administratively more time-consuming and therefore less appealing.