Up? Down? None? What the revised Swiss Radio and TV law means for your fees

You have only a VAT registration in Switzerland and no TV or Radio? Tough. In all probability, Switzerland’s new assessment model for radio and television fees will affect your company anyway. Authors: Romy Müller, Andreas Wartmann

Swiss radio

It’s not our fault. But we need to talk about your taxes. At least your indirect taxes. As you may know, on the 4th of March 2018 the vast majority of the Swiss voters – 71.6 percent – voted against the “NO-Billag” referendum, which aimed to abolish publicly financed media. Accordingly, the revised Radio and Television Law is will come into effect in 2019.

The News
So what will change for companies? A fair bit. The revised law will introduce a new scheme for collecting radio and television fees (RTV fees). Also, the Swiss Federal Tax Administration will be responsible for the collection of the RTV fees. This is mainly due to the fact that the RTV fee will be charged to companies registered for Swiss Value Added Tax (VAT) purposes and levied based on their global turnover. Consequently, Swiss VAT registered companies will in general become liable to pay RTV fees.

The new Assessment Scheme
Sure, by now you are thinking: Just tell us how much it will cost. The following fee assessment categories are currently foreseen in the RTV Act:

Capture

The Exemptions (if any)
The ordinance to the RTV Act foresees the formation of corporate fee groups (with at least 30 companies). It remains to be confirmed by the Swiss tax authorities how the global turnover thresholds above will be interpreted for such groups.

It is expected that the RTV will be assessed per VAT number. In the case of a VAT group, the total turnover of the VAT group will be considered. Whether nonresident companies, which are registered for Swiss VAT purposes (only), will be assessed, will depend on whether any exemptions or restrictions on liability are introduced this year. However, the VAT return form published by the Swiss tax authorities for the Q1/2018 period requests global turnover.

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