Reimbursement of VAT on reception fees

Biel/Bienne, 15.01.2021 - On 15 January 2021, the Federal Act on the flat-rate refund of value-added tax on the reception fee for radio and television came into force. This allows refunds to be made for VAT on reception fees that was wrongly paid in the years 2010 to 2015. Under the new law, each household will receive a flat-rate amount of CHF 50. This will be deducted from the 2021 Serafe bill. A differentiated system will apply to businesses; these can make a request for a reimbursement online.

On 2 November 2018, the Federal Supreme Court ordered the refund of VAT on radio and television reception fees from 2010 to 2015 in four test cases. A law was subsequently drawn up to deal with this issue. It was passed by Parliament in September 2020 and came into effect on 15 January 2021.

Private and collective households

The flat-rate amount of CHF 50 will be deducted by the Serafe collection agency on the first invoice (annual or quarterly invoice) in 2021. The VAT refund on previously paid reception fees will be made to private households and collective households in 2021.

Reception fees were replaced by a household charge in 2019, so now the collection agency sends out an invoice to each household, rather than registered persons only. This means that households which paid reception fees to Billag between 2010 and 2015 are not necessarily the same as those which will receive an invoice - and thus a refund - from Serafe in 2021.

The Federal Council and Parliament deliberately opted for the present solution, as it keeps red tape to a minimum and is inexpensive to implement. CHF 182 million will be paid out directly to members of the public. It is not necessary to make an application or provide any documentation. 


Businesses are entitled to a VAT refund if they paid fees for commercial or business radio or television reception during the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2015 and were either not liable for VAT or only partially deducted input tax. They must submit an application for reimbursement by the end of 2021; this can be done using an online form on the OFCOM website.

In the case of businesses that were not subject to VAT during this period, the amount of the refund depends on the total amount paid. These businesses may also ask to receive a flat-rate refund (CHF 25 for radio reception fees and CHF 40 for television reception fees). Businesses that were subject to VAT and could only partially deduct input tax can only receive the flat-rate refund.

Address for enquiries

Federal Office of Communications OFCOM
Press service, +41 58 460 55 50,


Federal Office of Communications