Following a recently published decision by the Federal Tribunal, Switzerland’s highest court, VAT charged on Switzerland’s radio and TV licence from 2010 to 2015 will be refunded to all those who paid the fee over this period.
The Federal Department of Communications (DETEC) has begun the process of coming up with the legal mechanics for the refund, which will be returned to households via a credit to a future licence bill.
In April 2015, after the court decided VAT was not applicable, the collection agency Billag stopped adding it to the licence fee.
However some, including some consumer groups, were not satisfied with this change and demanded a refund of past VAT for the years from 2005 to 2015. The Federal Tribunal was swayed by their arguments but reduced the refund period to 2010 to 2015.
Between 2010 and 2015, roughly CHF 170 million was collected in VAT on the licence fee.
The average refund is expected to be around CHF 50 per household, a figure to be decided by parliament.
In addition, the annual fee has been reduced to CHF 365 per household from 1 January 2019. Previously it was CHF 451.