Store precious metals in bonded warehouses without minimum storage fee

Overview: A bonded warehouse with no minimum storage fee

What is a bonded warehouse?

Unlike the purchase of gold bars or coins, purchases of white precious metals are subject to VAT. This makes the acquisition of palladium, platinum and silver bullion relatively expensive for investors. There is a simple reason for this: the law deems gold to be primarily an investment commodity, while white metals are mostly treated as industrial raw materials. However, VAT-free storage can be arranged via a bonded warehouse.

Swiss duty-free warehouses (ZFL) are warehouses which can be used to temporarily store valuables, and a broad range of other products, without incurring liability for VAT or customs import duties. Bonded warehouse storage is directly monitored by Swiss customs offices. The Alpine republic has seven duty-free warehouses, the largest being the 15-hectare Embrach-Embraport warehouse near Zurich. These are duty-free transit warehouses where goods of all kinds can be stored without import duties.

Embraport bonded warehouse, one of several bonded warehouses in Switzerland
Building in the Embraport bonded warehouse in Embrach near Zurich Airport

The advantages of storage in a bonded warehouse

Bonded warehouses in Switzerland are broadly comparable to the bonded warehouses used in other countries. High-value goods such as precious metals, valuable artworks, even classic cars and machinery, can be stored in a Swiss duty-free warehouse for an unlimited period of time without liability for customs duties. Value added tax and customs duties are only incurred when these goods are actually imported into Switzerland. This is a real benefit for investors, who can thus use all their available capital to purchase an investment, knowing that, just like an investment gold transaction, the purchase will be exempt from VAT.

A further advantage is that silver holdings always remain the property of the client. So with insurance already included in the price, you can store your property inexpensively and risk-free with OrSuisse in a duty-free warehouse. This arrangement offers the additional advantage of being highly flexible: Investors can easily sell all or part of their securities, and there are no quantity or weight restrictions. Stored goods remain exempt from VAT and duty, as long as they do not leave the warehouse facility. VAT at 8.1% only becomes payable on silver if it is subsequently imported into Switzerland at a later date. Investors can also easily sell their silver back to a dealer while it remains inside a bonded warehouse. This transaction is then also exempt from VAT.

Storing silver in a bonded warehouse

When buying precious metals such as silver, platinum or palladium, statutory VAT is usually due on the transaction. This differentiates white precious metals from gold transactions which are not subject to VAT. Effectively, this means investors are receiving significantly less white metal for their money. However, there is a perfectly legal way to buy silver without any VAT liability. No VAT can be charged if these white metals are purchased and then stored in Switzerland using a bonded warehouse, or an open bonded warehouse such as those offered by OrSuisse.

Thanks to such transit warehouses, it is possible to buy and sell physical silver both duty-free and also tax-free. As another special feature: a client can buy silver from a dealer, who then arranges for the silver purchase to be delivered direct to the warehouse. For buyers, this means it is not necessary to get involved in handling the silver. This discreet and ultra-secure storage arrangement is equally convenient for both private investors and institutional investors from Switzerland, Europe, and other countries worldwide. That’s how easy it is to buy VAT-exempt silver.

Purchasing silver via OrSuisse warehouse receipts

The business partnership between OrSuisse and Echtgeld offers a particularly astute way to purchase VAT-free silver. This method allows investors to buy selected OrSuisse warehouse receipts. When required, investors can take these away immediately, because OrSuisse will have already conducted any necessary authenticity checks and arranged storage for the precious metals. National and international customers should find this kind of transaction particularly convenient.

Any storage fees are then charged direct by OrSuisse according to the required storage period. Stored silver goods are fully insured, and up to 10 items of the same metal with identical denominations can be stored per each warehouse receipt. So if a quantity of 13 one-ounce Maple Leaf gold coins were deposited for storage, this would be handled as follows: one warehouse receipt with 10 x 1oz Maple Leaf gold coins, plus a second warehouse receipt with 3 x 1oz Maple Leaf gold coins.

This arrangement allows storage in a duty-free warehouse with no minimum storage fees and no minimum storage quantities.

OrSuisse negotiable warehouse receipts can be traded like securities

According to the Swiss Code of Obligations, any OrSuisse negotiable warehouse receipts issued for your deposited precious metals are treated as securities. They guarantee that the goods specified on the warehouse receipt will be handed over to the owner of the negotiable warehouse receipt. This solution automatically means that stored precious metals become fungible and liquid, because the relevant negotiable warehouse receipt(s) can be used for various purposes, just like other securities. Thus it is possible, for example, to use them to secure loans, or to sell warehouse receipts direct, and at the current rates, via an authorized dealer for a cash purchase.

Warehouse receipts can be issued for all precious metals such as gold, silver or platinum, and in all denominations. Furthermore, all negotiable warehouse receipts are fully transferable via a simple endorsement.

The following linked article covers OrSuisse tradeable warehouse receipts in detail.

What can be stored in a bonded warehouse?

Many different kinds of goods and commodities can be stored in a Swiss bonded warehouse. For example, precious metals such as platinum, palladium or silver can be stored both VAT- and duty-free, regardless of whether they are stored as bars or coins. The same applies to investment gold, though storage in a bonded warehouse is not an essential here, because gold transactions are already exempt from VAT.

Storage in an OrSuisse bonded warehouse with no minimum storage fees

One major advantage of storing silver and other precious metals with OrSuisse is that there is no minimum storage fee. Fee structures are very simple and transparent: The storage fee for a bonded warehouse in Zurich or Singapore is 0.9% for the individual custody of silver (with registered bar numbers), and 0.7% for gold, platinum and palladium. Comprehensive full insurance is included in the price, and payment is made in advance for the required storage period – 1 to 10 years. Upon relocation, any complete years storage remaining unused will be refunded.

These options make storage of precious metals in a bonded warehouse very affordable and cost-effective. Storage in the bonded warehouse in Zurich takes place with our long-standing, reliable partner Swiss Gold Safe.

Overview: A bonded warehouse with no minimum storage fee

  • Silver can be stored in a bonded warehouse in unlimited quantities and under very flexible arrangements.
  • OrSuisse warehouse receipts for silver, gold, platinum and palladium are a very secure option which can be traded just like like securities.
  • Low-cost annual storage fees of just 0.9% for silver and 0.7% for gold, platinum and palladium, including comprehensive full insurance cover, make storage in a high security warehouse in Zurich or a duty-free warehouse in Zurich or Singapore an attractive option.
  • Buying silver ex-VAT allows investors to maximize their available investment capital, immediately making such ventures more profitable.
  • OrSuisse does not charge any minimum storage fee for storing silver in a bonded warehouse.