Navigation

Skiplink Navigation

Main Features

Happy New Year! New laws come into force in 2016

Heralding in the New Year in Switzerland with a bang - also with some of the new laws 

(Keystone)

From January 1, 2016, taxpayers will have to delve a little more deeply into their pockets and the Swiss financial centre will be subject to stricter rules. Transport fare dodgers will be under tighter scrutiny and consumers will have better protection. 

The arrival of the New Year brings with it several important legislative changes. For example, there will be a large increase in Swiss carbon tax: from CHF60 ($60) to CHF86 ($86) per tonne of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted. Particularly feeling the financial heat of this change: those heating with gas and oil.

The rise comes because Switzerland is below target for reducing its CO2 emissions by 2020.

Renewable energy will benefit from a surcharge of 0.2 centimes per kilowatt hour. This translates to CHF9 per family of four per year. There will also be an extra charge of CHF9 per resident to finance the upgrading of water treatment plants.

Those paying an annual flat-rate tax will be receiving a higher tax bill due to a change in how the tax bases are calculated.

Finance market, consumers

The Financial Market Infrastructure Act (FMIA) external linkwill bring existing Swiss regulation of financial market infrastructure in line with international standards in various areas. Until now there have been no internationally recognised requirements in Switzerland for derivatives trading and investors have enjoyed less protection compared to other financial markets. This will change under the new law.

Rules around cash payments have also been tightened in a bid to stop money laundering. Traders must make more checks when faced with cash payments of over CHF100,000.

In terms of consumers, those who buy products costing over CHF100 via telemarketing will now have two weeks to withdraw from the purchase, instead of one. But online purchases won’t be protected - as is already the case in the European Unionexternal link - because the Swiss parliament failed to agree on this issue.

Aggressive advertising of small loans is now outlawed in a bid to fight people getting into debt.

Finally, a new law is getting tough on fare dodgers. Those caught without a valid train or bus ticket on Swiss public transport will be recorded in a national database from January 1, 2016. This will be accessible to transport companies to allow them to go after persistent ticket cheats.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

×