WHAT IS THE VISITOR’S TAX?
Visitor’s taxes are state taxes. The law on tourism of the Canton Valais states in chapter 4, article 17, who can impose the tax and on what legal grounds.
Chapter 4: First visitor’s tax, finances
Art. 17 Applicability
1 A visitor’s tax is imposed on guests who stay overnight in the area of a particular tourist office.
2 This tax is based on regulations decided by the assembly or general council and homologated by the government of Valais (Staatsrat). The people and institutions affected are informed beforehand. This regulation determines rate, exemptions and abatements, manner of imposition and use of the visitor’s tax.
Art. 18 EXEMPTIONS
1 The following people are exempt from the visitor’s tax:
a) all residents of the municipality where the tax is imposed. Residence is determined by the definition in the Swiss Civil Code;
b) all people staying at a relative’s home who is exempt from the tax. Relatives are family members of grandparental descent;
c) children under six; children from 6-16 pay half the tax;
d) students and apprentices who go to schools that are recognised and supported by the Canton of Valais during school term;
e) patients and residents of hospitals, retirement and nursing homes recognised by the Canton of Valais;
f) members of the army, civil defence, fire brigade and active members of similar institutions
2 The Staatsrat (canton government) and the municipalities can decree additional tax exemptions.
Ordinance on an exemption from tourist tax of 6 November 1996
1 Persons with an activity recognised and subsidised by the State of Valais as part of the Youth and Sport movement are exempted
from the tourist tax.
WHAT IS THE LEGAL BASIS OF THE TAX IMPOSITION?
Article 19 defines the tax rate. This prevents the tax from being assessed arbitrarily. Neither municipalities nor tourist offices are able to override these requirements.
Art. 19 Rate
1 The visitor’s tax rate accommodates the infrastructure of the resort, the form and location of the accommodation. It may vary from season to season.
2 The visitor’s tax rates are calculated with respect to costs and services for which the proceeds are utilised according to article 22.
WHAT IS THE VISITOR’S TAX USED FOR?
Article 22 defines in detail the use of the visitor’s tax proceeds. Article 22 reads as follows:
Art. 22 Use
1 The visitor’s tax is used in the interest of those imposed.
2 It is namely used for:
a) operation of information and reservation services;
b) local animation;
c) development and operation of the infrastructures for tourism, culture and sports.
This ensures that the visitor’s tax are not used for any other purpose. The municipal council oversees the implementation of this article.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES IMPLEMENTED BY THESE NEW REGULATIONS?
Per 1 November 2017, the visitor’s tax rate is CHF 3.00. Children under 16 pay half-price. Children under 6 are free.
Ages 6 - 16
Children under 6
|Hotels||CHF 3.00||CHF 1.50||free||in real terms|
|CHF 3.00||CHF 1.50||free||flat|
|Huts (Maiensässe)||CHF 3.00||CHF 1.50||free||flat|
|Group accommodations||CHF 3.00||CHF 1.50||free||in real terms|
|Camping grounds||CHF 3.00||CHF 1.50||free||in real terms|
Starting 1 November 2017, the new municipal visitor’s tax regulations provide that every holiday home/chalet bills their tax at a flat rate, regardless if the property is used or rented out by you or made available to your friends. A new regulation sets the size of the property according to abstract of title as decisive aspect. The new regulations predefine three property sizes:
up to 2 ½ - room apartments
3 up to 3 ½ - room apartments
4 and more - room apartments
Huts (From 1 May to 30 November)
In its judgements of 8 October 2018, the Federal Supreme Court ruled on the legality of the new visitor's tax regulations for the Goms region. The exact number of overnight stays per bed must be redefined and then anchored in a new regulation. The recommendation of the Federal Court is between 24 and 30 overnight stays per year, depending on the town. A partial invoice of 28.5 days was issued for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 financial years.
HOW DO I PAY MY TAX AS A PROPERTY OWNER?
The flat rate tax will be levied once a year (by beginning of November). The municipalities Goms and Obergoms, as of yet, have assigned this task to Obergoms Tourismus AG. By paying the annual bill, all visitor’s taxes are compensated for. On the part of the municipalities Goms and Obergoms or Obergoms Tourismus AG, there will be no further collections. Please be aware that the tourism tax is still to be paid for rentals.
CAN THE PROPRIETOR CHARGE HIS OR HER GUESTS/FRIENDS FOR THE TAX?
Via the flat rate, the proprietor can pay the visitor’s tax for his or her property once a year. If he or she rents his property to guests, or makes it available to friends, the proprietor can bill the renters according to the valid visitor’s tax rates. The proprietor can freely employ these revenues.
WHAT ARE THE CHANGES FOR THE RENTER/GUEST IN A HOLIDAY APARTMENT?
Basically, there are few changes. You can still obtain guest cards from your host for the duration of your stay. Obergoms Tourismus AG will not collect the visitor’s tax from you because the proprietor of the holiday apartment has already been charged. However, there might be a direct billing between proprietor and guest.
GUEST CARD “DISCOVERY CARD“
The new municipal visitor’s tax regulations come along with our new guest card of the Obergoms region, the “Discovery Card”. It is personal, not transferable and contains the following details: first name, surname, date of birth.
The guest card is issued by the landlord or owner of a second home. In the destination system Deskline, discovery passes with a maximum validity of 30 days can be processed and printed via electronic registration. The personal access data to the electronic registration system are made available to every owner of a second home. From October 2017, the print copies of the Discoverer Pass can be obtained free of charge from Obergoms Tourismus AG at the counter of Tourist Infos Oberwald, Münster, Reckingen and Blitzingen.
Annual guest cards will be produced by Obergoms Tourismus AG and sent out together with the invoice for the annual flat rate at the end of October / beginning of November. If you would like to order a new annual guest card or receive unneeded guest cards, please contact Obergoms Tourismus AG. The following annual guest cards will be issued per holiday apartment:
Category Small (1 to 2.5 room apartment) = maximum 2 annual guest cards
Category Medium (3 & 3.5 room apartment) = maximum 4 annual guest tickets
Category Large (4 rooms and more) = maximum 5 annual guest tickets
In addition to great offers in the Brig/Aletsch/Goms area, the “Discovery Card” allows our overnight guests to profit from an exclusive range of offers in the Obergoms region.
Click HERE to access more information on the Discovery Card
I RENTED OUT MY APARTMENT PERMANENTLY. DO I STILL NEED TO PAY THE ANNUAL FLAT RATE?
In this case, the rate is dependent on the person to whom the apartment is rented out to.
- If you rented your apartment permanently to someone who is registered in the municipality Goms or Obergoms and also pays taxes there, the apartment is automatically turned into a primary home and is, therefore, no longer subject to the annual visitor’s tax flat rate.
- If you rented out your apartment permanently to someone who is NOT registered in the municipality Goms or Obergoms, the apartment is subject to the annual visitor’s tax flat rate. You will receive a bill and the landlord will issue the guest card.
WHAT IS A "TOURISMUSFÖRDERUNGSTAXE"?
"Tourismusförderungstaxen" are state taxes based on articles 27 and 31 of the law on tourism of the Canton of Valais, which grants municipalities the right to levy tourist taxes instead of accommodation taxes.
Everyone renting out a holiday apartment is required by law to submit a flat rate, which is:
CHF 120.00 for 1 - 2-room apartments
CHF 150.00 for 2 ½ - 3-room apartments
CHF 180.00 for 3 ½-room apartments (and larger)
These revenues are to be used exclusively for tourism funding.
Our tourism year starts November 1 and ends October 31.
HOLIDAY HOME CLASSIFICATION
According to the Swiss Tourism Federation STF, every holiday apartment needs to be classified in 2017 even though there might be a pre-existing classification. The present classifications, including the classification stars, will be expunged. In the future, there are no more new periods and the classification is valid for four years, starting with the classification date and at at the end of the respective month. Obergoms Tourismus is happy to classify all registered homes.
NEW ONLINE-SURVEY FROM THE VALAIS TOURISM OBSERVATORY WTO
Tourism in Valais faces many challenges such as changes in current environmental policies postulated by LEX Weber or the Raumplanungsgesetz (land-use planning law). We will need new strategies in order to move away from the predominant construction economy of our holiday destinations to a more efficient use of pre-existing real estate. Second homes are an essential part of this change. So is the acknowledgement of the influence, role and expectations of second home owners. The Valais Tourism Observatory WTO together with the VSV2W (Valais second home association) has designed a survey. Its purpose is to learn more about opinions and intentions of second home owners. Please take a few minutes to complete the survey: