Billag tax hack?


All members of your household have to be both blind and deaf to qualify :slight_smile:


Here is the provision I am referring to:

La demande [d’exemption] est acceptée si aucun appareil destiné à la réception de programmes de radio ou de télévision n’est mis en place ou exploité dans le ménage privé.

On the Serafe website:

All members of a private household that does not contain or operate a device suitable for receiving radio or television can apply to opt out from the fee for one fee period.

It’s this “or operate” part that I find ambiguous and want to clarify. But I agree with everyone that it will most likely not allow for an exemption in my case.


Seriously guys,
I am all about cost optimizations, but what you are suggesting here is cheating. Even with the old Billag, the rule was that if you have a PC with internet you should pay for it. It does not matter if you don’t get checked or you somehow trick them it’s not the right thing to do. I was a student last year and I still paid for Billag.


Is that not literally what law means (except for the right part, which it definitely is not)?

This was voted on twice and sadly won both times (very narrowly but still) and was also implemented so we will have to pay.

I would be less mad about this if they were a bit more consistent with the implementation part.


With Billag it used to be, that you have a TV, but it has to be locked in a storage room, and not, you know, plugged in in the living room :slight_smile: . That’s what not operated means.

Again, not every law is fair, not every tax is justified. I only pay because I’m bullied by the state, not because of moral reasons. I don’t watch Swiss TV, it could all go bankrupt for what I care. Not worth my 300-400 CHF per year.

If you go to China, will you not use a VPN? If you go to Arab countries, will you not kiss your girlfriend (since you’re not married)? I know I’m getting too philosophical here, but I hate when the government wants to “take care” of you and forces you to pay to provide a service you don’t need.


Let me rephrase: just because something is law doesn’t mean you have to agree with it and accept it and feel morally obliged to obey. Sure, in the end you HAVE to pay, because you’re threatened with jail and violence.


You know, this is a very “polish thing” to say, and I fully get it. This is however Switzerland. Direct democracy and the sense of community is of higher priority than individual rights or feelings. It was voted this way by the majority so it is right. This alone justifies the obligation. Comparison with China or Saudi Arabia is quite misplaced here.


Well yeah but think of it this way. Good free media in combination with direct democracy makes the government more responsible. Responsible government means a stable place for business where you get one of the best salaries in the world. So you could make the case that it’s actually a good thing for your situation even if you don’t watch Swiss TV.

As for taxes being unfair sure, I hear you. Even tax at source it’s super unfair in the first year if you start working in the middle of the year. I will pay 3 times as much as my Swiss friends for 2018. But we are immigrants if we don’t like it we can just leave.

split this topic #49

6 posts were split to a new topic: Fairness of Tax at Source


I don’t know what’s not to understand here. It doesn’t say “does not contain AND operate”. OR means that once either of those statement is true it applies.


I guess if you want to live in a peaceful democratic society, then you have to respect the fact, that democracy is a tyranny of the majority. One time a thing you support gets voted through, another time it’s the thing you oppose. A prime example of how stupid a majority rule can be is Brexit.

I don’t think it’s a “Polish thing”. Heard about this thing that’s going on in France, the so-called “yellow vests movement”? It’s the working class being taxed to the max by socialists. Of course, TV tax is child’s play compared to what they’re dealing with :slight_smile: . But if the TV tax was 3000 CHF per year, then I don’t think people would be so quick to say “ahh come on, it’s just a tax, suck it up and pay it”.


I insist it is. Not uniquely Polish, but nowhere else will you hear so often that laws are there to be “interpreted”, “cicumvented” or “taken advantage of”.

What happens in France is not the same. There you have the majority, opposing a government which they consider a “government of the rich”. There could never be a 3000 CHF TV tax in Switzerland, because this is probably when the majority would decide it no longer considers it worth to subsidize state TV at such cost and vote against it.


Then maybe you’re too quick to believe in stereotypes. I know one Swiss guy who only paid radio Billag, because he studied the rules and he believed he isn’t obliged to pay the TV. And another German guy who never paid Billag. I asked another Swiss guy: “you own a fast e-bike, but aren’t you forbidden to use them on footpaths?”. He said “you’re more Swiss than the Swiss”. Enough examples?

And let’s not forget that it’s a whole business model of Switzerland to enable tax evasion for rich foreigners. Oh the irony! So I guess you’re trying to say: the Polish thing is to steal 100 CHF, and the Swiss thing is to steal 100 million?


I also know some Poles who speak highly of the current government. Does that prove anything?

The “Billag” (now Serafe) thing was democratically approved. Decisions abouth such things are out of reach for voters in other countries.

I’m not saying that I like to be out of pocket for 365 CHF, but I still enjoy a movie or two on tv and listen to the radio, so I pay and am not desperate to find a way out.


You accused the Polish nation of wanting to evade taxes as their trademark characteristic and it’s just ridiculous when you put it together with UBS & CS helping foreigners avoid taxes. I guess Italians like to pay taxes too?


Not quite. I accused them (or “us”) of being prone to creative interpretation of law, particularily easy to observe when it comes to traffic laws :-). Nobody likes to pay taxes, this is the same all over the world. It’s however different when it comes to finding justification (or as you called it “moral reasons”) to not pay. I guess this is the difference when the lawmaker is some undefined body out there to get you, as opposed to yourself, your neighbor or your work friend as could be seen in case of direct democracy.


If we had our public media dominated by channels like Fox News, oh, i would be very willing to pay chf 400 in order to get some SRF-quality content news, even if i didnt consume any


I accept to pay the Serafe bill because it was democratically decided but one thing is clear, SRF is not quality content, it is biased trash like everything else on TV. There is no quality content on television thats why I dont own one and dont watch it


Early on was the discussion of splitting the SRG into news and entertainment, where the news would be tax funded and the entertainment privatized. That would have put the tax <200 (based on the public SRG spending information, the spending for news is less than half).

They however went for the all or nothing option.

I do however find it unlikely that they would try a massive price hike, they know they are on thin Ice winning the last vote by <3000 votes so they are probably not going to do anything that stupid otherwise they will suddenly not have any money at all.

If you do find a legal way to not pay it, by all means go for it.
I just do not think you will find one, as that was kind of the point of the first vote, everyone pays by default (excepting deaf-blind people) instead of the whole “if you have a TV or radio you pay if you actually register it …” thing . They promised lower overhead and a cheaper tax. We’ll see how long it stays cheaper.

I do prefer tyranny of the majority over tyranny of the minority, which are basically the only options available, as long as it is consistently implemented.


I don’t get it why the TV tax in many countries is solved via an independent payment. You don’t get a bill from the army, and a separate one from the roads dept, and another one from the police. You just pay normal taxes and the government decides how much goes where. So why is TV so special that it has to be singled out? If they really think that public media is of national importance then it might as well be financed from taxes and then you can spare these stupid companies like Billag and Serafe and at you’re sure that everybody’s paying.