Switzerland Votes To Keep Restaurant Tax

Some Swiss restaurateurs have been campaigning heavily to end a nationwide tax on restaurant meals, but when it came down to a vote, the Swiss citizenry decided they were fine with the tax as it was.

According to The Local, Switzerland's restaurant association, Gastrosuisse, launched the initiative to eliminate the eight percent value-added tax that is charged on meals served in Swiss restaurants. The association called the tax "discriminatory," saying it was not fair to charge an eight percent tax on food in restaurants when food served as take-out or sold in supermarkets is only taxed at 2.5 percent.

According to Gastrosuisse, getting rid of the VAT tax on restaurant meals in Switzerland would make the country's restaurants more competitive with restaurants in other European countries that are still close enough for customers to get to.

The Swiss government, however, opposed the bill and said it would cost the government 750 million francs a year. The government also said it did not seem likely that customers would benefit from a lower VAT, and it would only serve to benefit restaurant revenues.

In a vote today, Swiss citizens sided with the government. 71.5 percent of voters rejected the initiative, and the VAT will stay just as it was.