Visitor’s taxes are state taxes. The law on tourism of the Canton Valais states in chapter 4, article 17, who can impose the tax and on what legal grounds.
Chapter 4: First visitor’s tax, finances
Art. 17 Applicability
1 A visitor’s tax is imposed on guests who stay overnight in the area of a particular tourist office.
2 This tax is based on regulations decided by the assembly or general council and homologated by the government of Valais (Staatsrat). The people and institutions affected are informed beforehand. This regulation determines rate, exemptions and abatements, manner of imposition and use of the visitor’s tax.
Art. 18 EXEMPTIONS
1 The following people are exempt from the visitor’s tax:
a) all residents of the municipality where the tax is imposed. Residence is determined by the definition in the Swiss Civil Code;
b) all people staying at a relative’s home who is exempt from the tax. Relatives are family members of grandparental descent;
c) children under six; children from 6-16 pay half the tax;
d) students and apprentices who go to schools that are recognised and supported by the Canton of Valais during school term;
e) patients and residents of hospitals, retirement and nursing homes recognised by the Canton of Valais;
f) members of the army, civil defence, fire brigade and active members of similar institutions
2 The Staatsrat (canton government) and the municipalities can decree additional tax exemptions
Ordinance on an exemption from tourist tax of 6 November 1996
1 Persons with an activity recognised and subsidised by the State of Valais as part of the Youth and Sport movement are exempted
from the tourist tax.
WHAT IS THE VISITOR’S TAX? WHAT IS THE LEGAL BASIS OF THE TAX IMPOSITION?
Article 19 defines the tax rate. This prevents the tax from being assessed arbitrarily. Neither municipalities nor tourist offices are able to override these requirements.
Art. 19 Rate
1 The visitor’s tax rate accommodates the infrastructure of the resort, the form and location of the accommodation. It may vary from season to season.
2 The visitor’s tax rates are calculated with respect to costs and services for which the proceeds are utilised according to article 22.
WHAT IS THE VISITOR’S TAX USED FOR?
Article 22 defines in detail the use of the visitor’s tax proceeds. Article 22 reads as follows:
Art. 22 use
1 The visitor’s tax is used in the interest of those imposed.
2 It is namely used for:
a) operation of information and reservation services;
b) local animation;
c) development and operation of the infrastructures for tourism, culture and sports.
This ensures that the visitor’s tax are not used for any other purpose. The municipal council oversees the implementation of this article.
VISITOR'S TAX REGULATIONS IN THE COMMUNITIES OF GOMS AND OBERGOMS
Based on the Federal Court decision of 8 October 2018, the visitor's tax regulations of the municipality of Goms and the municipality of Obergoms were corrected with regard to the average occupancy rate. To this end, the municipalities and Obergoms Tourismus AG have redefined the average occupancy rate of 31 nights per year and bed in joint discussions with representatives of the hotel industry and the IG Goms Zweitwohnungen.
On 28 March 2019, the amended regulations were adopted at the initial meetings of the municipalities of Goms and Obergoms and subsequently homoloired by the canton. The current regulations came into force on 1 November 2019.
Per 1 November 2017, the visitor’s tax rate is CHF 3.00. Children under 16 pay half-price. Children under 6 are free.