Taxation of alcoholic beverages

Tax is levied on spirits and beer in Switzerland. Wine and ethanol for industrial purposes are exempt from tax. The Alcohol Sector (ALK) of the Federal Office for Customs and Border Security FOCBS is responsible for spirits tax.

In contrast to distilled spirits, natural wine made from grapes with an alcohol content by volume of up to 18% and beer are subject to the Foodstuffs Act rather than to the Alcohol Act. The Federal Office for Agriculture (FOAG) is responsible for issues to do with wine, cider and perry, and the FOCBS is responsible for beer issues. The same tax rates have applied for domestic and imported distilled spirits since 1999. They are levied on the produced quantity per litre of pure alcohol (LPA). Beer tax is calculated per hectolitre (hl).

Tax rates
Product  Tax in CHF  Responsibility
Spirits 29.- / l r.A.  ALK (Alcohol Act) 
Ethanol for consumption  29.- / l r.A.  ALK (Alcohol Act) 
Ethanol for industrial purposes 0.-  ALK (Alcohol Act) 
Alcopops1) 116.- / l r.A.   ALK (Alcohol Act) 
Sweet wine and vermouth 14.50 / l r.A. ALK (Foodstuffs Act) 
Light beer (up to 10.0° Plato) 16.88 / hl TABI (Foodstuffs Act) 
Normal and special beer (10.1 to 14.0° Plato) 25.32 / hl TABI (Foodstuffs Act) 
Strong beer (over 14° Plato) 33.76 / hl TABI (Foodstuffs Act) 
Natural wine up to 18% ABV 2) 0.-  FSVO (Foodstuffs Act) 

1) Because of the risk of abuse (start of alcohol consumption at an early stage) by young people, the tax rate is quadrupled for alcopops.

2) The Foodstuffs Act gives a definition of natural wine. In case of doubt, the ALK uses laboratory analyses to determine whether an alcoholic beverage is taxed or not. 

Tax refund

Products with an alcohol content by volume of no more than 1.2% are not taxed. For products produced in Switzerland, the manufacturer can submit a tax refund request to the ALK.

Utilisation of taxes

The net revenue from spirits duty is divided between the Confederation (90%) and the cantons (10%) every year. The Confederation's share flows into the AHV's coffers; the cantons' share, known as the «alcohol tenth», is used to combat the causes and effects of alcoholism, addictive substances, narcotics and drug abuse. The cantons provide an annual report on the activities which were financed using this money.


Federal Office for Customs and Border Security FOCBS
Alcohol Sector
Route de la Mandchourie 25
2800 Delémont

+41 58 462 65 00
+41 58 463 18 28

Print contact