Swiss town sues man after he refused to pay 15 francs for residence permit
While it may be common to have arguments over who is going to foot the bill, be it at a restaurant, family gathering or when on holiday, one resident in Canton Thurgau may have taken this tradition a step too far: officials from Zihlschlacht-Sitterdorf have been forced to sue a man after he refused to pay a 15 franc processing fee for his Swiss residence permit.
Cost of getting a Swiss residence permit "too much" says accused
Ingo König, a German citizen, told Blick that when registering in Switzerland he had initially refused to pay the 85 franc fee required to be issued with a residence permit, claiming that the price was “too much.” After appealing to the local authorities, the council (Gemeinde) sent him another bill, this time split by a 70 franc fee for the permit itself and a 15 franc fee for "processing."
“Why do I have to pay this processing fee of 15 francs? Does the council enforce its own laws?” König asserted. According to his analysis, the council had “invented” a tax with no legal basis, which is why he vowed to leave the 15 franc charge unpaid. “As soon as I arrived in Switzerland, I was already ripped off. I have the impression of having been deceived by the council,” he told Blick.
Council in Switzerland forced to sue resident over 15 franc fee
In response, the president of the Zihlschlacht-Sitterdorf council, Christian Hinterberger, rejected the accusation, as “a survey carried out by the Association of Thurgovian Municipalities in 2021 showed that 88,7 percent of [councils] have this processing tax in their regulations.” While the “expenses were grouped together by mistake,” the charge itself was legal.
Unfortunately for König, as he did not object to the new bill within 20 days, and is still refusing to pay the charge, the council has been forced to prosecute him. According to Blick, payment enforcement is expected in the coming months. Hinterberger concluded that the council was “not defrauding any inhabitant” and that if they forwent the processing fee in this case, “It would be tantamount to discriminating against all the other inhabitants.”