Billag value-added tax: Statute of limitations also applies to refunds

The Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) must repay the value-added tax charged on the reception fee for radio and television. However, only if the claim was made in good time.


In April 2015, the Federal Supreme Court ruled that no value added tax could be charged on the reception fee for radio and television. A person concerned subsequently demanded a refund from Billag, which levies the fee, of the total VAT of CHF 45.35 paid since January 2007. However, Billag refused. The Federal Administrative Court ruled in January 2017 that Bakom had to pay the man back the amount. Uvek filed an appeal against this ruling with the Federal Supreme Court. In a decision published on Thursday, the Lausanne judges have now concluded that only part of the VAT must be paid, as the statute of limitations must be observed.

As the Federal Supreme Court notes, Bakom had to have known since July 2015 at the latest that the taxation was contrary to federal law. At that time, the respondent had submitted its claim for reimbursement. According to the Federal Supreme Court, Bakom should therefore have filed a claim with the Federal Tax Administration itself. The decisive factor for the statute of limitations is that Bakom could only have corrected its settlements with the tax administration for the years 2010 to 2015. Claims from before January 1, 2010 are therefore time-barred according to the Federal Supreme Court. (SDA)

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