English translation of Article 25 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010


This page contains an English translation of the below Article of the revised Swiss VATA 2010 and is part of a web based Swiss VATA 2010 commentary published in German. Should you require qualified written legal advice on cross-border transactions potentially triggering Swiss VAT  from a Swiss VAT lawyer please do not hesitate to contact: Harun Can 

Article 25 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

Tax rates
  1. The tax rate is 8% (normal rate), subject to paragraphs 2 and 3. 
  2. The reduced tax rate of 2.5% applies to:

    a. the supply of the following goods:

    1. water in pipes,
    2. food and additives under the Foodstuffs Act of 9 October 1992,
    3. cattle, poultry, fish,
    4. grain,
    5. seeds, planting roots and bulbs, living plants, cuttings, scions and cut flowers and branches, including those used in bouquets, wreaths,and similarly prepared arrangements; if invoiced separately, the supply of these goods is also subject to the reduced tax rate, even if it is made in combination with a supply taxable at the normal rate,
    6. animal feed, silage acids, bedding materials for animals,
    7. fertilisers, pesticides, mulch and other vegetation used as covering material,,
    8. medication,
    9. newspapers, magazines, books and other printed matter without advertising character of the kinds to be stipulated by the Federal Council;

    b. the supply of services of radio and television companies, with the exception of services of a commercial nature;

    c. the supplies under Article 21 paragraph 2 numbers 14–16;

    d. agricultural supplies that consist of land cultivation directly related to initial production or cultivation of initial production products connected with the land.

  3. For foodstuffs that are supplied for use by catering and hospitality businesses, the normal rate applies. Such supply is said to exist where the preparation and serving of foodstuffs provided by the taxable person is performed on the customer’s premises or the taxable person maintains special installations for their consumption on the spot. If on the other hand the foodstuffs are offered in vending machines or are destined to be taken away or delivered and suitable organisational measures have been taken for this purpose, the reduced tax rate is applicable.

  4. Up to 31 December 2013, the tax on accommodation services is 3.8% (special rate). An accommodation service is the provision of accommodation, including the serving of breakfast, even if it is invoiced separately.
  5. The Federal Council shall specify in greater detail the goods and services designated in paragraph 2; in doing so it shall observe the principle of competitive neutrality.

Article 49 of the Swiss VAT Ordinance 2010 (Medication) clarifying Article 25 Section 2 (a) Subsection 8 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

Medication is defined as:

a. ready to use medicines and veterinary medicine pre-mixes classified in the dispensing categories A through D;
b. ready to use medicines in the sense of Article 9 Section 2 (b) and (c) of the Medicament Act of 15 December 2009;
c. ready to use homeopathic and anthroposophic medicines, to the extent that they comply with the medicament legislation;
d. unauthorized ready to use medicines under Article 36, para. 1-3 of the Medicinal Authorization Regulation of 17 October 2001 as well as under the Veterinary Medicinal Regulation of 18 August 2004; 
e. blood products, such as blood derivatives and blood components, that are extracted from human or animal blood and are destined for the direct treatment of humans or animals;
f.  in-vivo diagnostics, such as reagents, that are applied directly (in vivo) internally or externally for the diagnosis of diseased or troublesome phenomena in humans or animals;
g. radioactive isotopes to be used for medical purposes.

Article 50 of the Swiss VAT Ordinance 2010 (Newspapers and magazines without advertising) clarifying Article 25 Section 2 (a) Subsection. 9 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

Newspapers and magazines without advertising are printed materials that fulfill the following conditions:

a. They appear periodically, at least twice a year.
b. They provide up-to-date information and entertainment.
c. They bear the same title.
d. They are consecutively numbered and contain the date and the frequency of publication.
e. They are presented as newspapers or magazines.
f.  They are not made up predominantly of blank areas to be filled in.

Article 51 of the Swiss VAT Ordinance 2010 (Books and other printed matter without advertising) clarifying Article 25 Section 2 (a) Subsection 9 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

Printed products that fulfill the following conditions constitute books and other printed matter without advertising character:

a. They are in the form of books, brochures or loose leaf books; loose leaf products are books if they consist of a binding cover, fitted with a screw, spiral or quick stapler, and the loose leaf pages to be filed therein contain when complete at least 16 pages       and the title of the work appears on the binding cover. 71 641.201 Taxes
b. Including the cover page, they contain at least 16 pages, with the exception of children’s books, printed music and parts of loose leaf works.
c. The contents are religious, literary, artistic, entertaining, educational, instructive, informative, technical or scientific.
d. They are not designed to be written in or to store pictures for collection, with the exception of school and instruction books and certain children’s books, such as exercise books with illustrations and supplementary text and drawing and painting books         with designs and instructions.

Article 52 of the Swiss VAT Ordinance 2010 (Advertising) clarifying Article 25 Section 2 (a) Subsection 9 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

1 Printed matter contains advertising if its content is designed to explicitly promote the business activity of the publisher or of a third party related to the publisher.

2 The printed matter explicitly promotes the business activity of the publisher or of a third party related to the publisher, if:

a. the printed matter is obviously published for advertising purposes of the publisher or of a third party related to the publisher; or
b. the advertising content for the business activities of the publisher or of a third party related to the publisher represents more than half of the total surface of the printed matter.

3 Third parties related to the publisher are persons and businesses on whose behalf the publisher acts and who control the publisher or other persons closely related to them in the sense of Article 3 (h) of the Swiss VAT Act 2010. 

4 Both direct advertising, such as advertisements, and indirect advertising, such as reporting of information to the public, for the publisher or for a third party related to the publisher constitutes advertising.

5 Advertising content does not include advertisements and advertising for independent third parties.

Article 53 On-premises food preperation and service (Article 25 Section 3 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010)

1 Preparation is the cooking, heating, mixing, preparation and blending of food. The mere maintaining of the temperature of food ready for consumption is not preparation.

2 Food service is in particular the arrangement of food on plates, the setting up of cold or warm buffets, the pouring of drinks, the laying and clearing of tables, the serving of guests, the management or supervision of the serving staff and the setting up and filling up of self-service buffets.

Article 54 of the Swiss VAT Ordinance 2010 (Special on-premise installations ) clarif<ing Article 25 Section 3 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

1 Special installations for the consumption of food on the premises (consumption installations) consist of tables, upright tables, counters and other eating surfaces provided for consumption or similar installations, particularly if transportable. It is irrelevant:

a. to whom the installations belong;
b. whether the customer actually uses the installation;
c. whether the installations are sufficient to enable all customers to consume on the premises.

2 The following do not constitute consumption installations:

a. mere seating accommodation primarily for resting purposes without associated tables ;
b. in kiosks or restaurants on camping sites: the tents and caravans of the tenants.

Article 55 of the Swiss VAT Ordinance 2010 (Food for takeaway or delivery) clarifying Article 25 Section 3 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

1 Delivery is the delivery of food by the taxable person to customers at their homes or 1 to another place designated by them without further preparation or service.

2 Takeaway food is food that the customer takes somewhere else after purchasing it and does not consume on the premises of the supplier. The following in particular characterize takeaway:

a. the will expressed by the customer to take the food away;
b. the handing over of the food in a special package suitable for transport;
c. the handing over of food not suitable for immediate consumption.

3 The Federal Tax Authorities foresees simplifications in the sense of Article 80 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010 for certain sites and events.

Article 56 of the Swiss VAT Ordinance 2010 (Suitable organisational measure) clarifying Article 25 Section 3 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

A suitable organisational measure is in particular the completion of vouchers based on which it can be determined whether a hotel or restaurant supply or delivery for takeaway was rendered. 4th Chapter: Invoicing and tax voucher (Article 26 Section 3 of the Swiss VAT Act 2010

Corresponding Article(s) of the EU VAT Directive (Recast) 2006/112/EC (as of January 2010)

Article 96 - 100 of the EU VAT Directive
Structure and level of rates

Standard Rate

Article 96

Member States shall apply a standard rate of VAT, which shall be fixed by each Member State as a percentage of the taxable amount and which shall be the same for the supply of goods and for the supply of services.

Article 97

(1.) From 1 January 2006 until 31 December 2010, the standard rate may not be less than 15 %.

(2.) The Council shall decide, in accordance with Article 93 of the Treaty, on the level of the standard rate to be applied after 31 December 2010.

Reduced rates

Article 98

1. Member States may apply either one or two reduced rates.

2. The reduced rates shall apply only to supplies of goods or services in the categories set out in Annex III. 

3. The reduced rates shall not apply to the services referred to in point (k) of Article 56(1).

4. When applying the reduced rates provided for in paragraph 1 to categories of goods, Member States may use the Combined Nomenclature to establish the precise coverage of the category concerned.

Article 99

1. The reduced rates shall be fixed as a percentage of the taxable amount, which may not be less than 5 %.

2. Each reduced rate shall be so fixed that the amount of VAT resulting from its application is such that the VAT deductible under Articles 167 to 171 and Articles 173 to 177 can normally be deducted in full.

Article 100

On the basis of a report from the Commission, the Council shall, starting in 1994, review the scope of the reduced rates every two years. The Council may, in accordance with Article 93 of the Treaty, decide to alter the list of goods and services set out in Annex III.