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Swiss approve new TV licence system

Switzerland is to change its TV licence structure. A referendum held last weekend saw just over 50 per cent of the votes cast support the new system.


The annual fee will no longer be tied to the ownership of a TV set or other device capable of receiving TV or radio programming. Consumers who do not have any means of watching/listening do not have to pay the fee, currently 451 Swiss Francs (€429). Given that the fee has to be paid if a car has a radio means it is a near-100 per cent ‘tax’.


The new rules, likely to come into force in 2018-19, mean that all householders must now pay. However, non-Swiss who have a holiday home in the country must also pay.


However, the good news is that the initial rate will drop to 400 Swiss Francs.


The new rules also apply to businesses, and any company with a turnover of more than CHF 500,000 will also have to pay a fee, but this will be levied by the VAT office based on the firm’s revenues.  Revenues of between CHF500,000-1 million will pay CHF400, while larger enterprises will pay fees starting at CHF1000.


Objectors to the scheme grumbled that there is little provision for those who do not watch TV or listen to the radio, or the small number of people living in out-of-the-way places who cannot receive a signal for technical reasons.

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