No radio and television fee for foreign businesses in Switzerland

The Federal Office of Communications as well as the SFTA have announced a clarifying statement for the Radio and Television Law, which confirms that foreign businesses without registered office, domicile or permanent establishment on Swiss territory should not become liable to the radio and television fee! Authors: Romy Müller, Andreas Wartmann, Melanie Dittli

Continuing various publications from EY indirect tax practice on legal background as well as the foreseen fees according to the different turnover categories (Link) regarding the Swiss radio and television fees, the following breaking news can be reported:

On 30 August 2018 the Swiss Federal Tax Administration (SFTA) released a clarifying statement limiting the obligation to pay the radio and television fee to companies liable to Swiss VAT with registered office, domicile or permanent establishment on Swiss territory. Further reference was made to the explanatory report of the Federal Office of Communications which was released the day before and named incompatibilities with international law and international contractual obligations of Switzerland as triggering factors for the alteration. Companies without registered office, domicile or permanent establishment on Swiss territory will, therefore, not be liable to the fee (up to CHF 35’590 per year).

The statement was made only months after the SFTA confirmed that also foreign companies will be subject to the radio and television fee as of 1 January 2019 if they are registered for Swiss VAT purposes and generate a global turnover of CHF 500’000 or more. The fact that foreign domiciled companies without any receiving devices in Switzerland would become subject to the fee was controversially debated in the foregoing months, which is why the newly published statement is positive news.

For Swiss based entities the assessment mechanism for the radio and television fee remains in place. Thus the following assessment bases are applied, whereby the fee will be collected by the SFTA via separate invoice as from 1 January 2019:

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