Green tax reform
Following the nuclear disaster in Fukushima on 11 March 2011, the Federal Council and parliament resolved to phase out nuclear energy. In order to ensure a reliable and economically efficient supply of energy for Switzerland, the Federal Council is advocating a gradual restructuring of the energy system. On 28 September 2012, the Federal Council instructed the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) to prepare a green tax reform for a second stage of the 2050 energy strategy after 2020. A green tax reform should shift the tax burden from labour and capital over to energy consumption. This will create incentives to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy consumption.
In order for a green tax reform to strengthen the competitiveness and innovative power of the Swiss economy at the same time, it must be budget-neutral and be implemented such that it is as neutral as possible in terms of tax-to-GDP ratios. A general energy tax on electricity as well as motor vehicle and other fuels is being examined. The amount of the energy tax would be based on the energy and climate policy objectives. The tax should be phased in from 2020 following a predetermined path. Mitigating measures are being reviewed for energy-intensive businesses.
The energy tax receipts are to be offset with tax reductions and flat-rate redistributions to households and companies. The tax burden for households and companies should remain unchanged on the whole. Several compensation variants which differ in terms of efficiency gains and distribution impacts are being examined.
As an intermediate step before a consultation draft, the FDF is preparing a hearing report for mid-2013 together with the Federal Department of Home Affairs, Federal Department of Justice and Police, Federal Department of Economic Affairs, Federal Department of the Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, and the cantons. This report will propose solutions for various outstanding issues. It is to be discussed with representatives of the business community, interest groups and the scientific community.