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General conditions and legal foundation
The federal Ordinance of 12 September 1984 (ordinance on the motorway vignette) introduced a mandatory annual charge of CHF 40 for using the national motorways (RS 741.72) It is applicable to the drivers of all vehicles (including tractor-trailers) and is evidenced by a “vignette” or tax disc affixed to the windscreen.
Permanent missions and their members of personnel
The Federal Council decided that the charges would be applicable to permanent missions and their members of personnel. It considers the annual charge as a user tax, likened to a toll for the use of the Swiss motorways network. It must therefore be understood as a tax for services rendered, in the sense of the Vienna Convention of April 18 1961 on diplomatic (cf. article 34 e).
International organisations and their members of personnel
Service vehicles of the international organisations which have their headquarters in Switzerland and with which the Federal Council has concluded a Headquarters Agreement (cf. article 3 c, of the Ordinance on the motorway «vignette») have been exempted from payment by the Federal Council.
The Federal Council, in making its decision on exemption for the service vehicles of the international organisations, took into account the fact that, in accordance with United Nations practice, the notion of «taxes for particular public services rendered» is interpreted in the Headquarters Agreement concluded by the UN in a more restrictive manner than in the Vienna Conventions on diplomatic and consular relations. According to this restrictive interpretation, the cost of public services rendered must relate to services that can be identified, defined and described in detail (charges for the utilisation of water and electricity for example).
International civil servants
Similar to members of the permanent missions, international civil servants are required to pay the tax.
Where to purchase the motorway «vignette» ?
In Switzerland : at post offices, customs offices, gas stations, garages and cantonal vehicles registration offices.
Abroad : from the Swiss National Tourism Offices, automobile associations, partners of the Deutsche Post AG.
The motorway «vignette» is valid from December 1st of the year prior to its designated year until January 31st of the following year. It is sold for a price of CHF 40 and must be affixed to the vehicle’s windscreen (one «vignette» per vehicle).
Any driver using a toll motorway without a valid «vignette» will be liable to a fine of CHF 200 and at the same time required to pay the CHF 40 price of the «vignette».