Vehicles imported into Switzerland are subject to a 4% tax, with the exception of electric vehicles that attract none. This week, the government decided to end the exception from the beginning of next year.
The import tax, along with fuel and other taxes, is used to build and maintain roads. Given current federal budget pressures, and the logic of charging all road users, the federal government has decided to tax the importation of electric cars in the same way as all other vehicle imports from 2024.
Between 2018 and 2022 the amount of forgone tax has risen rapidly as the number of electric cars imported into Switzerland annually has risen from 8,000 to more than 45,000. In 2022, the lost tax revenue was CHF 78 million. For 2023, the same figure is expected to be between CHF 100 and 150 million. With no change to the treatment of electric vehicles the federal government could miss out on between CHF 2 and 3 billion between 2024 and 2030.
Switzerland’s federal government is struggling to balance its books. Money spent during the Covid pandemic and a rising propensity among some parliamentarians to add further spending to the federal budget is causing much of the financial pressure.
In addition, the Federal Council felt it no longer needed to encourage electric vehicles with tax breaks.
A short consultation project on the subject will be run until 12 July 2023.