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Switzerland Eyes New Taxes For 2017 Infrastructure Fund

by Ulrika Lomas, Lowtax.net, Brussels
03 December, 2013

As Switzerland prepares to launch a consultation on plans for a national transport infrastructure fund (NAF), the Swiss Transport Ministry will be reeling from the November 24 "no" vote on plans to increase the motorway vignette by 150 percent, and will eagerly be looking for other sources of tax revenues to plug the gaping infrastructure financing gap.

In June, the Federal Council explained that annual investment in road transport infrastructure in the Confederation is expected to increase from CHF3.8bn (USD4.2bn) currently to CHF4.8bn.

To guarantee the sustainable financing of the national transport network in 2017, the Federal Council intends to anchor an infrastructure fund in the constitution, for an unlimited period, financed in part by existing revenues and in part by new revenue sources.

According to the Federal Roads Office, the following taxes will flow to the future NAF fund: the product of the mineral oil surtax (from 2017), the product of sales from the motorway vignette (from 2017), the product of the tax levied on automobile vehicles (from 2017), the product of the envisaged new lump sum tax imposed on alternative propulsion vehicles, including electric cars, (from 2020), as well as revenue from other sources, including carbon dioxide penalty taxes for example.

The Federal Council is currently considering the idea of raising the existing surtax on mineral oil to between 42 and 45 cents per liter, from 30 cent per liter currently. Furthermore, the Federal Council is weighing up plans for its new levy on electric cars, given that these vehicles "are constantly increasing in number."

Yet road transport organizations in Switzerland have already warned against the introduction of new levies, insisting that existing taxes and duties must first be redirected away from the federal finances and back – where they belong – to the infrastructure fund.

The Federal Council intends to open a consultation shortly.

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