Then VAT will be abolished. And I would have to worry about my work and our staff. But there’s no reason to do so; firstly it will be some years (at least until 31 December 2020), before VAT is abolished. And in these years the need for VAT consulting will even increase. Secondly, even today, we deal more and more with issues that extend far beyond Swiss VAT. And thirdly the energy tax will also bring new problems.
Nevertheless, the question what will happen if VAT is abolished is very interesting. If no special provisions are introduced, there will be an own usage tax: on real estate the input tax of the last 20 years will have to be corrected, on mobile assets of the last 5 years. But services, which have not yet been used, are also included: this will certainly result in an investment stop before VAT is abolished. After it is discontinued, the investment is no longer subject to VAT. The opposite is the case, if the transitional law provides that own usage tax is not payable.
But, before VAT is abolished, consumers will also reduce their outgoings, because they will expect that, after introduction of the energy tax, they won’t have to pay VAT any more. But that will be a misconception; the prices are not likely to fall by the amount of the VAT. The energy tax will be included in prices as a cost factor. Uncertainty about future price developments will be high.
The negative effects surrounding abolition of the VAT are additional arguments against the energy tax. I therefore side with the Federal Council and will vote against the initiative on 8 March.