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Liechtenstein, Switzerland Update Tax Accord

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

16 July 2013

Switzerland and Liechtenstein have amended the bilateral agreement between the two countries on environmental levies, to reflect the decision by both treaty partner states to extend the carbon dioxide levy until 2020.

In accordance with the agreement, Liechtenstein is obliged to transpose Swiss Federal legislation on environmental taxes into national law. An accord dating from January 29, 2010, bestows certain competencies in the area of environmental levies and the Carbon Dioxide Act (CO2 Act) to the Swiss Federal Authorities.

Switzerland revised its CO2 Act on January 1, 2013. Forming the cornerstone of Swiss climate policy, the revised Act sets an emissions reduction target for 2020 and sets out various measures for buildings, transport and industry. Furthermore, the Act provides for the carbon dioxide levy imposed on fossil fuel to be extended until 2020.

The CO2 levy increases the cost of heating buildings with oil or gas, making energy efficiency renovations and renewable energies more attractive. A portion of the levy is used for the buildings program, which promotes building renovations, investments in renewable energies, waste heat recovery, and building utilities optimization. The incentive fee for fossil thermal fuels also provides an incentive to companies to operate as energy efficiently as possible.

Approximately two-thirds of the CO2 levy is redistributed to the general public, notably via a reduction in health insurance premiums. Since the redistribution is carried out per capita or per franc of salary independently of consumption, all households and installations that consume low quantities of fossil thermal fuels benefit from it.

Consequently, the Liechtenstein Government now aims to align its legislation with Switzerland's revised CO2 Act. To this end, the Government recently adopted a bill providing for the carbon dioxide levy to be extended and submitted the corresponding report and application to parliament for ratification.

TAGS: environment | tax | energy | law | insurance | Liechtenstein | environmental tax | legislation | Switzerland

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