Swiss Private Flight Levy
Plans to implement the Swiss Private Flight Levy have been put on hold for the time being following Swiss voters' rejection of the revised CO2 Act in a national referendum on 13 June 2021.
In addition to the Swiss Ticket Tax, Switzerland has also decided to levy a tax on private, non-commercial flights, the so-called Private Flight Levy (or Abgabe Allgemeine Luftfahrt). January 2022 is when this new tax shall enter into force.
What is Swiss Private Flight Levy?
Swiss Private Flight Levy is a tax on non-commercial, private flights departing from an airport situated in Switzerland.
This new tax has yet to come into force. Most likely, it will take effect in January 2022. The law governing the Private Flight Levy is the revised CO2 Act. It passed the National Council and Council of States on 25 September 2020.
The competent authority in charge of administration is the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment (FOEN). This is the same agency that oversees compliance with the Swiss Ticket Tax and Swiss Emissions Trading System.
How Much is Private Flight Levy?
We still don’t know the tax rates because the Federal Council has yet to decide.
However, we already know that the tax on private flights will be in between 500 and 3,000 CHF (465 and 2,796 €) per departure and that, like with French Noise Tax (TNSA) or Italian Noise Tax (IRESA), the tax rate will depend on the aircraft’s MTOW. The Federal Council shall also consider the distance between the airport of departure and arrival, as well as competition between airports.
Who Must Pay Private Flight Levy?
Private Flight Levy must be paid by aircraft operators carrying out private, non-commercial flights from Switzerland. If the aircraft operator is unknown, it is the aircraft owner who must bear the tax burden as it is jointly and severally liable for tax.
Several tax exemptions apply, among them, the exemption of:
- Emergency medical service flights
- Military flights
- Flights operated under a public service obligation
- Flights of aircraft with a MTOW < 5,700 Kg
- Training flights
- Cargo flights
- Aerial work flights
- Flights subject to Swiss Mineral Oil Tax or Ticket Tax
What Are the Tax Obligations?
Tax obligations are almost the same as for Swiss Ticket Tax. To fully comply with the Private Flight Levy, you must adhere to the following obligations:
- Submit quarterly tax returns to the FOEN within 30 days of the end of the reporting period. You can request to change the reporting cycle. The criteria that must be met for your request to be successful, as well as the content of the tax declaration, has yet to be determined by the Federal Council. The revised CO2 Act also contains a clause (Article 52, paragraph 2) according to which the Federal Council may require you to submit and pay tax before the actual departure. How this rule is implemented remains to be seen, however.
- Pay tax within 30 days of receipt of tax assessment
Further details, especially information about the implementation of the Private Flight Levy scheme, will be provided by the regulator through Implementing Regulations in due course. This should answer all remaining questions.