THE CO2 TAX ON LIGHT COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

From the beginning of 2020, light commercial vehicles (LNF) will also be subject to the CO2 tax regulations in Switzerland.

We inform small importers and large importers about the most important aspects of the CO2 tax on LNF.

LNF: WHICH VEHICLES ARE AFFECTED BY THE CO2 LEVY SINCE 2020?

The light commercial vehicles affected by the CO2 levy include vans and light semi-trailer trucks which

  • put into circulation in Switzerland for the first time,
  • imported into Switzerland or
  • are manufactured in Switzerland

(Article 17(1) CO2 Regulation).

DEFINITIONS: DELIVERY VANS, LIGHT SEMI-TRAILERS, PLACING ON THE MARKET

  • Delivery vans (vehicle category N1) are light motor vehicles for the transport of goods with a maximum of nine seats including the driver (Article 11 paragraph 2 letter e of the Ordinance on Technical Requirements for Road Vehicles, VTS).
  • Semitrailers (vehicle category N) are motor vehicles used to pull semi-trailers (Article 11 paragraph 2 letter i VTS).
  • Light motor vehicles are motor vehicles with a permissible total weight of up to 3.5 tonnes (Article 10 paragraph 2 VTS).
  • Vehicles are deemed to be placed on the market for the first time if they are registered in Switzerland for the first time and if the use specified in the initial registration corresponds to the actual use by the end user (Article 17(2) CO2 Ordinance). Imported vehicles that were admitted to circulation abroad more than six months before the customs declaration are not considered to have been put into circulation in Switzerland for the first time (Article 17 paragraph 2bis CO2 Ordinance).

THE FOLLOWING VEHICLES ARE EXEMPT FROM THE CO2 LEVY

  • Vehicles that were registered abroad more than six months before they were declared to Swiss customs,
  • Vehicles that had already been registered in Switzerland before,
  • Special purpose vehicles (according to Annex 2, Part A, point 5 of Directive 2007/46/EC) and
  • Vehicles with an unladen weight of more than 2,585 kilograms measured in accordance with the measurement procedure for heavy motor vehicles pursuant to Regulation 595/2009/EC and which do not have emission values pursuant to Regulation 715/2007/EC.

WHAT ARE “SPECIAL PURPOSE VEHICLES”?

Special purpose vehicles (as defined in Section 5 of Part A of Annex 2 to Directive 2007/46/EC) are vehicles intended to perform a special function for which the vehicle bodywork or equipment must be adapted. Special purpose vehicles are not subject to the CO2 tax regulations.

Special purpose vehicles include

  • Campervans: Vehicles of category M designed to accommodate persons and having the following minimum equipment:
    • Table,
    • Seating and sleeping accommodation,
    • Cooking facilities and
    • Luggage storage facilities.
  • Bullet-proof vehiclesthat are bullet-proof armoured to protect occupants or goods,
  • Ambulances: vehicles of category M which have equipment for the transport of sick and injured persons,
  • Hearses: vehicles of category M which have equipment for the transport of corpses,
  • Wheelchair accessible vehiclesof category M1 which, due to their special design or conversion, can accommodate persons seated in one or more wheelchairs when travelling on the road,
  • Campervan according to ISO standard 3833-1977, definition under 3.2.1.3,
  • Class 3 mobile cranes not suitable for the transport of goods and equipped with a crane with a permissible load moment of at least 400 kNm, and
  • other special purpose vehicles as defined in Section 5 of Part A of Annex 2 to Directive 2007/46/EC (see definition at the beginning of this text paragraph on “vehicles intended to fulfil a special function”).

Special cases:

  • Vehicles which, at the manufacturer’s request, may be measured in accordance with the procedure for light or heavy motor vehicles.
  • Vehicles with an unladen weight between 2,585 kilograms and 2,815 kilograms may be measured according to the procedure for light motor vehicles at the request of the manufacturer.
  • Vehicles with an unladen weight between 2,355 kilograms and less than 2,585 kilograms may, at the request of the manufacturer, be measured according to the procedure for heavy motor vehicles.

CLASSES OF VEHICLES – DEFINITIONS REFERRED TO IN ARTICLE 12(1) VTS

Vehicle category M:Motor vehicles for the transport of persons

  • Category M1: Vehicles with up to nine seats (including driver).
  • Class M2: Vehicles with up to nine seats (including driver) and with a guaranteed weight of up to 5 tonnes.
  • Category M3: Vehicles with up to nine seats (including the driver) and with a guaranteed weight of more than 5 tonnes.

Vehicle category N: Motor vehicles for the transport of goods

  • Class N1: Vehicles with a guaranteed weight of up to 3.5 tonnes
  • Class N2: Vehicles with a guaranteed weight of more than 3.5 to 12 tonnes
  • Class N2: Vehicles with a guaranteed weight of more than 3.5 to 12 tonnes

THE CALCULATION OF THE CO2 TARGET VALUE 2020 FOR LIGHT COMMERCIAL VEHICLES

The CO2 target value for LNF of 147 g/km applicable since 2020 refers to the entire LNF fleet of an importer or emission pool. The individual target value of a vehicle is determined taking into account the unladen weight of a vehicle: the higher the unladen weight of a LNF, the higher the vehicle-specific CO2 target value.

For the purpose of determining the CO2 target, the unladen weight of the respective vehicle is set in relation to the average of all LNFs newly registered within a previous calendar year (“reference unladen weight”, “standard weight”).

A LNF with “standard empty weight” receives a CO2 target value of 147 g/km.

A heavier LNF receives a higher CO target value, a vehicle with a lower unladen weight receives a lower CO target value.

The mathematical procedure for calculating the individual target for small importers and large importers is defined in Article 28(1) of the CO2 Ordinance in conjunction with Annex 4a to the CO2 Ordinance.

Important notice:

The Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) announces the LNF reference empty weight by the end of the following year (example: reference empty weight 2020: announcement by the end of 2021). The publication of the reference empty weight takes place in an annex to the CO2 Regulation.

The average unladen weight of vans and light articulated lorries placed on the market for the first time in the calendar year 2019 was 2,067 kilograms (Annex 4a, section 2.2 of the CO2 Regulation).

The reference unladen weight of 2020 (i.e. the average unladen weight of the vehicle fleet in 2020) is a decisive parameter from which the CO2 target values in 2022 for the individual new vehicles are derived (separately for LNF and passenger cars (PW)). The mathematical formula for calculating the individual target for small and large imports is contained in Annex 4a, Section 1 of the CO2 Ordinance.

CO2 TARGET VALUE AND EMPTY WEIGHT: SPECIAL CASE OF MULTI-STAGE VEHICLES

LNF can be imported into Switzerland in various production variants. It is possible to import already completed LNF vehicles or basic vehicles that are still being fitted with certain additional equipment in Switzerland according to individual customer wishes.

In the case of basic vehicles that are still to be upgraded (MSV, Multi Stage Vehicles), the approval procedure differs from the procedure for vehicles that are imported in complete condition.

Articles 24 and 25 of the CO2 Regulation regulate which data on CO2 emissions and unladen weight are to be applied to base vehicles. Article 24 refers to type-approved vehicles with a Swiss data sheet, Article 25 to vehicles without type-approval.

CO2 LEVY ON COMMERCIAL VEHICLES: SPECIAL FEATURES IN DETERMINING CO2 TARGET ACHIEVEMENT

While CO2 target achievement in the European Union is determined by collecting EU-wide CO2 emission values of the individual vehicle brands (even including Norway and Iceland, which do not belong to the EU but to the European Economic Area EEA), in Switzerland new vehicle importers are obliged to ensure that the CO2 targets applicable to them individually are achieved.

Emissions communities

Importers can join forces to achieve the CO2 target as an emissions pool. Small, large and private importers are entitled to form an emissions pool if they jointly import at least 6 new LNF vehicles per year.

Large importers: claiming special CO2 targets for small manufacturer vehicles

If fewer than 22,000 new light commercial vehicles from one manufacturer are registered each year in the European Union, these “small manufacturers” can apply to the European Commission for special CO2 targets.

Large importers who import vehicles from small manufacturers into Switzerland can claim the special CO2 targets approved by the EU. To this end, large-scale importers must submit a notification form to the Swiss Federal Office of Energy before placing a new LNF on the market.

CO2 LEVY ON COMMERCIAL VEHICLES: RELIEF FOR SWITZERLAND

In contrast to the EU, for which the target value of 147 g/km will apply uniformly to the entire LNF fleet without exception from 2020, Switzerland provides for relief in the introduction of the CO2 tax for LNF, namely in the form of phasing-in and supercredit regulations for the years 2020 to 2022.

CO2 LEVY LIGHT COMMERCIAL VEHICLES: THE AMOUNT OF THE CO2 PENALTY FOR EXCEEDING THE CO2 TARGET VALUE

The Federal Office of Energy converts the penalty amount of 95 euros per gram of target exceeded that applies within the European Union into Swiss francs – at the average of all CHF / EUR foreign exchange daily rates quoted in the twelve months prior to 30 June of the year preceding the reference year (Article 29 paragraph 2 CO2 Ordinance).

The CO2 penalty per gram of target exceeded per kilometre is for

  • 2019 at CHF 111
  • 2020 at CHF 109 and
  • 2021 at CHF 103.50.

(Article 29 and Annex 5 of the CO2 Regulation).

Example: The euro sanction amount is converted into Swiss francs for the reference year 2022 using the daily exchange rates quoted between 1 July 2019 and 30 June 2020.

WHO IS CONSIDERED AN LNF WHOLESALE IMPORTER?

Each LNF importer receives the status of LNF small importer or LNF large importer – regardless of its status as passenger car importer.

  • In principle, a large-scale importer of LNFs is anyone who imports at least 6 light commercial vehicles into Switzerland and puts them into circulation within one calendar year (Article 18 of the CO2 Ordinance).
  • If an importer has placed no more than five LNFs on the market in the year preceding the reference year, it may nevertheless register with the SFOE as a provisional large-scale importer for the reference year. However, if the importer does not import the minimum number of six LNF required for large importers in the reference year, then the importer must subsequently account for each of the imported vehicles individually like a small importer.
  • Important for large importers: “Official large importers” must also formally register with the Federal Office of Energy by 31 December of the previous year for the reference year using a registration form to confirm their status as a large importer and their contact details.

IMPORTANT DATES FOR LNF IMPORTERS

  • 30 November 2021: End of the application period for emission pools for the year 2022
  • By 31 December 2021: Announcement by the Swiss Federal Office of Energy (SFOE) of the reference empty weight for the reference year 2020 and the penalty amount in CHF per gram of exceeding the 2022 CO2 targets.
  • 31 December 2021: End of the application period for large importers 2022

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