Swiss Ticket Tax
Plans to implement the Swiss Ticket Tax 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.
Switzerland has decided to introduce a ticket tax on passengers departing from its territory on-board commercial flights to reduce the impact aviation has on climate change.
The Swiss Ticket Tax (or Flugticketabgabe) is likely to enter into force in January 2022.
What is Swiss Ticket Tax?
Swiss Ticket Tax is levied on passengers departing from Switzerland on-board commercial flights. It is not to be confounded with the Swiss Private Flight Levy (or Abgabe Allgemeine Luftfahrt) which targets non-commercial, private flights.
This new tax has yet to come into force. Most likely, it will take effect in January 2022. The law governing the ticket tax is the revised CO2 Act which 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 emissions trading system.
How Much is Swiss Ticket Tax?
We still don’t know the tax rates because the Federal Council has yet to decide.
However, we already know that Swiss Ticket Tax will be in between 30 and 120 CHF (28 and 112 €) per qualifying passenger and that, like in other countries, the tax rate will depend on distance and class of travel.
According to the revised CO2 Act, the Federal Council shall set the tax rate so that it is in line with Switzerland’s GHG reduction targets. The regulatory situation in other countries and the climate change impact of aviation shall also be considered when determining the applicable tax rates.
No Swiss Ticket Tax is levied if the ticket is sold before the regulation comes into force unless the flight takes place after one year of the regulation coming into force.
Who Must Pay Swiss Ticket Tax?
Swiss Ticket Tax is levied on aircraft operators carrying out qualifying flights. 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:
- Transfer and transit passengers
- Security personnel
- Emergency medical service flights
- Military flights
- Flights operated under a public service obligation
What Are the Tax Obligations?
To ensure compliance, you have to adhere to the following obligations:
- If you are based outside of Switzerland, you must provide a Swiss address for correspondence (which can be FCC Aviation’s office in Switzerland)
- 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.
- Pay tax within 30 days of receipt of tax assessment
- If you sell single tickets, you must display the tax amount and an estimate for the CO2 equivalent at the time of booking
It’s important to note that the regulator intends to release Implementing Regulations (also referred to as Ordinance in Switzerland) in due course to answer many of the remaining questions that the revised CO2 Act does not address.