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Switzerland backs 4% streaming tax in referendum

Swiss referendum gives green light for digital streaming ‘Lex Netflix’ levy where foreign services do not invest in local production

Swiss voters on 15 May agreed to introduce a 4% levy on providers of digital streaming services such as Amazon, Disney+ and Netflix. This is expected to generate between CHF18 million ($19.3 million) and CHF30 million a year for the Swiss film industry, according to estimates from the culture office and the Swiss parliament.

Spain and Denmark are considering similar levies.

Non-resident streamers would have the option to instead invest the equivalent amount in Swiss-TV production.  This requirement has been in place – investing 4% of their turnover – since 2007 for local television producers

The Levy was initially proposed in 2021, but opponents were able to raise over 50,000 signatures in a public canvassing, which triggered the referendum requirements.  Swiss taxpayers currently give CHF 100 million to the Swiss film industry each year.

In addition to the tax level, being put forward by the Federal Office of Culture, would be a requirement on foreign providers to source at least 30% of their content from Europe.

Read our Swiss VAT guide.

European levies and investment requirements on streaming services

  • France and Italy require up to 20% of turnover to be invested locally
  • Denmark has imposed a 6% levy
  • Portugal has imposed a 1% charge
  • Romania is proposing a levy to subsidise local film making

Europe VAT on digital services

Country (click for details) Rate Date Threshold Comments
EU 27 member states 17% to 27% Jan 2015 €10k EU residents; Nil for non-EU
Albania 20% Jan 2015 Nil
Andorra 4.5% Jan 2015 Nil
Belarus 20% Jan 2018 Nil
Georgia 18% Oct 2021 Nil
Iceland 24% Nov 2011 ISK 2 million
Kosovo 18 Sep 2015 Nil
Moldova 20% Apr 2020 Nil
Norway 25% Jul 2011 NOK 50,000
Russia 16.67% Jan 2017 Nil B2C & B2B
Serbia 20% Apr 2017
Switzerland 7.7% Jan 2010 CHF 100,000 on global income
Turkey 18% Jan 2018 Nil
Ukraine 20% Jan 2022 UAH 1m
UK 20% Jan 2015 Nil

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