Environmental taxes

The accounts of environmentally related tax levies record the taxes, fees and other types of levy that are calculated on the basis of a physical unit that has a negative impact on the environment (e.g. a litre of fuel or a grams of CO2). For reasons of national and international comparison, only taxes considered as such in the National accounts (NA) are taken into account.

Revenue in CHF billion, at current prices 1990 2000 2017 2018p
Environmentally related tax levies 6.4 10.8 15.4 16.1
   taxes 76.0% 73.1% 75.9% 75.3%
   communal fees 19.4% 21.5% 17.4% 16.7%
   mixed forms 4.6% 4.8% 5.9% 7.2%
   private voluntary solutions 0.0% 0.6% 0.8% 0.7%
Environmentally related taxes 4.9 7.9 11.7 12.1
   in % of GDP 1.4% 1.7% 1.8% 1.8%
   in % of taxes and social contributions - 6.2% 6.2% 6.3%
p: provisional Source: FSO – Environmental Accounts, National accounts

Further information






Data on revenue from environmentally related tax levies come from the monetary environmental accounts compiled by the Federal Statistical Office (FSO).

The term tax levies encompasses:

  • taxes paid without an individual service in return from the government (e.g. mineral oil tax);
  • fees paid for an individual service rendered in return from the government (e.g. communal fees for waste elimination);
  • mixed forms that cannot be clearly classified as taxes or fees or that are ordered by the government but collected by a private organisation (e.g. airport landing surtax);
  • Private voluntary solutions, managed by sectoral associations and likely to become law if the environmental goals set are not achieved (e.g. prepaid recycling tax for PET bottles).

Data on revenue from environmentally related tax levies are grouped into the following four categories:

  • Energy (e.g. mineral oil tax),
  • Transport (e.g. motorway tax sticker),
  • Emissions (e.g. wastewater fees) and
  • Resources (e.g. water charges).

For revenue from environmentally related taxes, in line with the EUROSTAT method and to ensure national and international comparability, only taxes considered as such in the National Accounts (NA) are included. Revenue from environmentally related tax revenue is calculated net of VAT, but includes the administrative costs linked to collection. Any tax refunds, cuts or exemptions from which some businesses benefit are taken into account. Estimates are made if no information is available on the breakdown by environmental domain. Revenue from environmentally related taxes can be fed into the governments overall budget (e.g. automobile tax), be allocated to finance environmental protection measures (e.g. charges for the remediation of contaminated sites) or other tasks (e.g. cantonal motor vehicle tax) or returned to the population and to businesses (e.g. incentive fee on volatile organic compounds (VOC) and part of the CO2 tax). Revenue from a single tax is sometimes used for different purposes (e.g. part of the mineral oil tax is fed into the government’s overall budget, part is allocated to funding road infrastructure and another part to funding environmental protection measures related to road traffic).

The implicit tax rate on energy corresponds to the ratio between energy tax revenue, adjusted for inflation, and final energy consumption, expressed in tonnes of oil equivalent (TOE). It indicates the actual tax burden on the potentially taxable base, in this case, energy.

The ratio between revenue from taxes on labour and revenue from environmentally related taxes shows how their relative importance has changed and thus to what extent the tax burden has been transferred from labour to the environment.


Statistical sources and concepts


Federal Statistical Office Section Environment, Sustainable Development, Territory
Espace de l'Europe 10
CH-2010 Neuchâtel



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