Petroleum Tax

The petroleum tax is an excise tax encompassing

  • a petroleum tax on crude oil, other mineral oils, natural gas, their processed products, and engine fuels;
  • a petroleum surtax on engine fuels.

Like customs duties, special excise taxes are single-stage taxes. The main difference between customs duties and special excise taxes is that customs duties are only levied on goods imported into the customs area, while excise taxes are levied on goods subject to consumption. Accordingly, imported goods and goods produced and processed domestically are subject to equal taxation under the excise tax system.

The petroleum tax is levied as close as possible in time to the delivery of the goods for consumption. It is therefore indispensable that traders have the possibility of storing the goods untaxed. The number of taxable persons should, for administrative reasons, be kept as low as possible. As a rule, tax liability is therefore incurred at the level of traders. Traders then pass the tax on to consumers by way of the product price.

The petroleum tax varies heavily depending on the product and the use of the product (engine fuel, heating fuel, technical purposes). For instance, the tax per litre is:

  • 73.12 cents for unleaded petrol
  • 75.87 cents for diesel oil
  • 0.3 cents for extra light heating oilTax reductions are provided for engine fuels used in agriculture, forestry, professional fishing, licensed transport companies, and so on.

Importance of the Petroleum Tax

Mineral oil tax

2018 receipts
(in CHF 1,000)


Mineral oil tax on fuel


45 % to the Federal Treasury, 50 % earmarked for tasks associated with road transport and aviation and 5 % for federal road and agglomeration fund

Mineral oil surtax on fuel


100 % earmarked for tasks associated with road transport and aviation

Mineral oil tax on combustibles


100 % to the Federal Treasury

In 2018, mineral oil tax generated 6,2 % of federal receipts.

Principles of Petroleum Taxation

  • Imported goods and goods produced and processed domestically receive equal tax treatment. "Domestic" means within the Swiss territory and the customs union areas. "Domestic" does not include the customs exclusion area Samnaun.
  • Tax liability arises when the goods enter free circulation under tax law. For imported goods, this is the time at which the goods enter free circulation under customs law. For goods in authorised warehouses, tax liability arises at the time the goods exit the warehouse or are used in the warehouse.
  • Authorised warehouses serve the purpose of storing, refining, producing, and processing untaxed goods. Production (including refinement) and processing as well as the storage of untaxed goods must always take place in an authorised warehouse.
  • Authorised warehouse owners and compulsory stockpilers transfer the tax declaration each month by computer. This procedure can also be used by importers.
  • The domestic transport of untaxed goods requires a consignment note.
  • In the case of compulsory stockpilers under the supervision of Carbura, special provisions apply to untaxed compulsory stockpile inventories stored outside authorised warehouses.
  • To distinguish it physically from diesel oil, gasoil intended for use as heating oil must be coloured and marked.

The assessment base is fixed per 1000 litres at 15 oC; for heavy distillates and a few other products per 1000 kg dead weight.


The full context is available in:


Mineral tax collection

Permits, periodic declarations, tax declaration

+41 58 462 67 77

Mineral tax refund

VOC, automobile tax, refunds

+41 58 462 65 47

Print contact