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Swiss to End Auto Import Tax Exemption for Electric Cars

The move is meant to counter a fall in income from the auto tax.

A plug connector used for charging an electric car during the press day at the 81st Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 2, 2011.
A plug connector used for charging an electric car during the press day at the 81st Geneva International Motor Show in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, March 2, 2011.
AP Photo/Keystone, Martial Trezzini, File

GENEVA (AP) — The Swiss government said Wednesday that it plans to impose an automobile import tax on electric cars, which so far have been exempted from the charge, starting next year.

The governing Federal Council said the move was meant to counter a fall in income from the auto tax and is part of a wider plan to bolster public finances.

The auto tax is a levy of 4% on the import value, rather than the final sales price, of vehicles. Electric cars have been exempted since it was introduced in 1997 in an effort to make them an attractive option.

The government said the exemption is no longer necessary in view of a steady rise in the number of electric cars and the fact that their prices have come closer to those of cars with combustion engines.

It said that the number of electric cars imported annually increased from about 8,000 to over 45,000 between 2018 and 2022, and they made up nearly one-fifth of all auto imports last year.

That has meant a decrease in income from the auto tax — the government put last year's shortfall at about 78 million francs ($85.7 million) and forecast that it will increase to between 100 and 150 million francs this year. Proceeds from the tax go to a fund that finances the maintenance of major roads and other traffic projects.

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