Switzerland set to reduce TV and radio licence fees after surplus

Switzerland has announced plans to reduce the annual TV and radio licence fee, after a larger than expected surplus over recent years.

Televisions. Photo by Nabil Saleh on Unsplash
Televisions. Photo by Nabil Saleh on Unsplash

The fee, which is currently set at CHF335 for every household, could be reduced significantly for the next two years. 

The Swiss government reported a surplus of between CHF415 to CHF438 million, which is roughly a third of the annual amount collected. 

The government plans to take off overall fees rather than invest further into television and radio companies. 

The government decides the amount of the fee every two years and is set to meet this summer to discuss the fees which will apply from 2023 onwards. 

In 2020, the Federal Council advocated for a reduction of the fee from the then cost of CHF365 to the current CHF335. 

How much could the new TV and radio licence cost in Switzerland? 

While the fee looks set to be reduced, the final amount is as yet unclear. 

An organisation recently launched an initiative to set the fee at CHF200 per annum, the text of which is currently being considered by the federal government. 

The initiative also said all companies and businesses should be exempt from paying the fee. 

READ MORE: What is Switzerland’s TV license fee and can you cancel it?

Former media minister Doris Leuthard specified an annual payment of CHF 300 as the target of a reduction. 

The right-wing Swiss People’s Party has also called for a reduction in the annual fee, saying it would force the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation to reassess the types of programming it runs. 

“Only if you put SRG under financial pressure can we force a political discussion about what is part of the program of a public service broadcaster and what is not.”

The Swiss TV and radio licence was made compulsory in 2011. Since then, there have been several efforts to reduce or completely eliminate the compulsory charges associated with the licence. 

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High earners in Switzerland to get tax cut from 2023

Switzerland will scrap the ‘solidarity surcharge’ for those in the highest income bracket from 2023.

High earners in Switzerland to get tax cut from 2023

People in Switzerland’s richest income bracket will see an effective tax cut from 2023 onwards, after the government decided to abolish the ‘solidarity surcharge’. 

The ‘solidarity’ contribution is charged to people in the highest income bracket in Switzerland to pay for unemployment insurance 

A spokesperson for the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) confirmed to Swiss media on Thursday, after the news was leaked earlier in the week. 

This system was introduced in 2011, when the unemployment insurance scheme was in debt and more money was needed to compensate for the deficit. 

In effect, the surcharge is split between the employer and the employee. 

While the normal deduction amounts to 2.2 percent of wages (1.1 percent paid by the employee and 1.1 percent by the employer), an additional one percent, split between the two, has been deducted from gross wages of above 12,350 francs per month. 

This is the solidarity surcharge. 

These highest earners constitute 10 percent of Switzerland’s workforce. 

Since the payment was implemented, it contributed around 340 million francs annually to Switzerland’s budget. 

The reason they will no longer need to shell out the extra money is because unemployment insurance is on track to build up an equity of 2.5 billion by 2023 — a threshold that had to be reached before solidarity contributions could be discontinued.

While the government acknowledged the economic uncertainty due to the war in Ukraine, it was confident the threshold would be reached by 2023 and the solidarity payments would no longer be needed. 

READ MORE: What is the average salary for (almost) every job in Switzerland?

The change will not impact people in other income brackets.