Switzerland backs plan to slash ‘tampon tax’

The Swiss government has come out in support of a motion that would see valued-added tax on period products seriously reduced.

Switzerland backs plan to slash 'tampon tax'
File photo: Depositphotos

The plan supported by the government would see the 'standard' 7.7 percent VAT rate currently imposed on tampons and other period products brought down to the so-called 'reduced rate' of 2.5 percent.

This 'reduced rate' is what Swiss consumers pay on items including food, books and medicines.

The motion to have the tax level reduced was put forward by Socialist MP Jacques-André Maire who said the current tax on period products meant women were “unjustly penalised to a high degree”.

In the text of his motion (here in French), he noted it was “surprising” that products like floral arrangements and even animal litter were subject to the 2.5 percent tax rate, but not women’s sanitary products.

The MP also noted that countries like Ireland, India and Australia had scrapped the so-called tampon tax, while the European Union has paved the way for countries to be able to either lower the tax or get rid of it altogether.

Maire also said changing the tax rate in Switzerland would have very little effect on state coffers, reducing VAT revenue by just 10 to 15 million Swiss francs from a total of 22 billion francs (€19.4 billion).

The parliament must now approve the changes before they come into effect.

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Switzerland and Italy hope to deliver cross-border worker tax deal ‘by 2021’

Switzerland and Italy have pledged to conclude a long-awaited tax arrangement for cross-border workers by the end of the year.

Switzerland and Italy hope to deliver cross-border worker tax deal ‘by 2021’

At a meeting in Rome between Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the two leaders said progress was being made on a cross-border tax arrangement. 

The agreement, originally negotiated in 2015, has as yet not been signed by either state. 

READ: How Switzerland avoided a coronavirus 'catastrophe' by protecting cross-border workers 

A 1974 agreement between the two countries doesn’t define cross-border worker. 

Sommaruga praised Switzerland’s decision to reject an initiative which would have restricted migration from EU countries and perhaps had impacts on cross-border workers. 

“In last Sunday's referendum, the Swiss people once again said that they want the free movement of people. It is a good thing for our country but it is also a good thing for the whole of Europe,” she said. 

“With neighbouring countries, Switzerland has adopted a regional approach excluding border regions and also cross-border workers from the quarantine regime. 

“I hope we can continue like this.”

While Switzerland rejected the migration limitation initiative, Ticino was one of four of Switzerland’s 26 cantons to vote in favour. 

Conte told reporters he hoped a deal was concluded “as soon as possible” and hoped it would be concluded by 2021. 

Conte hailed Italian cross-border workers as essential to the health system in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. 

READ: How Switzerland's cross-border workers are growing in number 

In the canton of Ticino, one in five healthcare workers lives over the border in Italy – approximately 4,000 people. Ticino’s population swells from approximately 360,000 people to 440,000 during an average work day due to cross-border workers from Italy.

Unlike with Italy, Switzerland has struck a tax deal for cross-border workers from neighbouring France, which was amended during the coronavirus pandemic.