Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are used as solvents in numerous industries, and are contained in many products such as paints, varnishes and various cleaning solutions. If these compounds become airborne, they and nitric oxides contribute to the excessive formation of ground-level ozone (summer smog). The VOC incentive fee has been levied since 1 January 2000. As a market-based instrument in the field of environmental protection, it creates a financial incentive to further reduce VOC emissions.
Domestic returned goods with VOCs
Effective immediately, the incentive fee is to be levied also upon the importation of domestic returned goods.
Fee and collection
Collection of the fee is governed by the Ordinance on the Incentive Tax on Volatile Organic Compounds (OVOC). However, by no means are all of the organic substances that qualify as VOCs subject to the incentive fee. The positive list of substances (Appendix 1 to the OVOC) shows all of the VOCs subject to the fee, while the positive list of products (Appendix 2 to the OVOC) shows the products containing VOCs that are subject to the fee. The fee is collected at the time of importation into Switzerland or domestic production.
Reimbursement and/or exemption
In principle, VOCs that are used in such a way that they are not released into the environment are to be exempt from the fee. Likewise, exported VOCs are exempt from the fee.