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Federal Council paves way for VAT refund on Billag fee

© Viktoriia Novokhatska |

At its meeting on 27 November 2019, the Federal Council set out its plan for the refund of value-added tax (VAT) on Switzerland’s radio and television licence, formerly known as Billag.

Between 2010 and 2015, VAT was charged on Swiss television and radio licences.

The Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, has stated in two judgments that no VAT may be levied on the licence and that the federal government must repay the VAT charged between 2010 and 2015.

However, before the money can be refunded the government must create a law enabling it.

This week, the Federal Council decided CHF 50 francs should automatically be refunded to all of the 3 to 4 million households affected, up to a maximum total payout of CHF 185 million. Companies will receive nothing on the basis that they claim back any VAT they pay when they file their VAT returns.

If Parliament agrees to the Federal Council’s flat fee plan and enacts the required law, the CHF 50 will probably be credited against licence fees due in 2021.

Some who move to Switzerland might not be aware that they are almost certainly required to pay one of the world’s highest broadcasting fees. An annual Swiss licence costs CHF 365 per household. To be exempted you’d need to have no web connected device in your house, car or pocket, be a diplomat, or be receiving sickness or old age welfare.

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About Le News
Le News
The newspaper Le News is a free, quality, local English language newspaper launched on 31 October 2013. Le News fills a gap in local Swiss media for the numerous English-speakers living and visiting Switzerland. In late January 2015 we decided to put our print medium on hold and focus on our digital media presence.
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