OZL – Open Bonded Warehouse in Liechtenstein and Switzerland

What is the difference between a Bonded Warehouse (ZFL) and an Open Bonded Warehouse (OZL)?

In Switzerland, there is a distinction that is made between so-called open bonded warehouses (OZL / OCW) and duty-free warehouses (ZFL).
In a duty-free warehouse (ZFL) the inventories and stock movements are controlled directly by the Swiss customs. Stock monitoring is conducted directly by customs officers, too.
Conversely, open bonded warehouses (OZL) are in the hands of private operators. The Swiss customs officers also perform periodic checks of the inventories and stock movements on site. In addition, customs have direct IT access to the stock accounting systems of the operator. Such customs oversight entrusts the private operator to operate with the correct administration for all stock movements. Therefore, the private operators have to deposit a guarantee with the Swiss Customs Administration to operate.

What advantages does a bonded warehouse or a duty-free warehouse offer?

Precious metals used as investments, with the exception of gold, are subject to sales tax in Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein. First and foremost, therefore, such tax relates to the popular white metals used for investments, such as silver, palladium or platinum. As a result, investors receive significantly less value for their money. This is exactly where the great advantages of both duty-free warehouses or open bonded warehouses lie in Switzerland, simply because they are legally considered to be tax-free customs territories in their own right. Importantly, public bonded warehouses, where a conventional customs clearance would take place, should not be confused with these types of specialist customs warehouses.

The rule is that so long as investors buy white precious metals but do not import them into Switzerland or Liechtenstein, then no sales tax will be charged. In the same way, investors can resell their physical assets without paying tax. In the process, the storage, as well as the buying and selling of these commodities, are always carried out by authorised precious metals dealers who deliver to the Swiss open bonded warehouse or the duty-free warehouse directly. For the investor, this results in a simplified customs and warehousing procedure. Furthermore, since no import or export of the duty-free goods is carried out, any registration in the import/export statistics of the Swiss Federal Customs Administration (FCA) can also be bypassed.

-> The duty-free purchase and sale of white precious metals is possible, for example, with our partner, Echtgeld Ltd .
-> Find out more in our article “Get more silver for your money”.

Where can you find ZFL and OZL?

Between Switzerland and the Principality of Liechtenstein, there is a ‘Customs Treaty’ in existence which operates as a customs union. Therefore, this means that the following duty-free storage locations are generally possible:

  • ZFL Duty-Free in Switzerland.
  • ZFL Duty-Free Warehouse in Liechtenstein.
  • OZL Open Bonded Warehouse in Switzerland.
  • OZL Open Bonded Warehouse in Liechtenstein.

Where does Swiss Gold Safe Ltd. operate from?

Swiss Gold Safe Ltd. offers high security storage in OZL open bonded warehouses and in ZFL duty-free warehouses. (Zurich Embraport ZH, Switzerland).
See >> Segregated storage for more information about the advantageous terms of duty-free storage in ZFL warehouses. In the case of storage in a ZFL duty-free warehouse, the guarantee costs, which are mandatory in an OZL / OCW open customs warehouse, are not applicable to you as the customer. Therefore, the storage costs in ZFL facilities are lower.

Our subsidiary Swiss Gold Safe (Liechtenstein) Ltd. offers private safe deposit boxes in Liechtenstein. Find out more about our storage solution in the Principality at our >> Safe deposit boxes Liechtenstein site.

We remain at your disposal for further info and questions via our contact form .


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