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HEALTH

Contactless card payment limit in Switzerland to be raised to 80 francs

In a temporary move to minimise the threat of coronavirus infections, the limit for making contactless card payments in Switzerland has been raised to 80 francs per transaction.

Contactless card payment limit in Switzerland to be raised to 80 francs
Photo: DPA

Operators Mastercard, Visa, Postfinance and American Express all agreed to raise the limit on Wednesday.

The limit for contactless payments previously stood at CHF40, with transactions above this amount requiring a PIN number. 

UPDATE: What you need to know about the coronavirus crisis in Switzerland 

In addition to credit card payments, the new limit will also apply to debit cards and prepaid cards. The changes are being rolled out from Wednesday, April 8th, and are expected to be finalised by mid-April. 

While providers have said that the move is temporary, there is as yet no end date specified. 

Card payment has exploded in popularity in Switzerland since the outbreak of the coronavirus, with some stores making it the only option. 

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has expressly said card payments – particularly contactless card payments – should be encouraged as a means of halting the spread of the virus.

READ: Could coronavirus end the Swiss love affair with cash? 

In Germany, a similar move was made in late March by the major card providers to lift the limit from €25 to €50 per transaction. Contactless card payments have also spiked in Germany. 

Previously used in 35 percent of card transactions, contactless is now used more than half of the time

 

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TAXES

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

Switzerland’s tax deadline is just around the corner. Are Covid-related costs tax deductible?

Masks, tests and jabs: Can I deduct Covid-related costs from my taxes in Switzerland?

March 31st is the deadline for filing taxes in Switzerland relating to the 2021 financial year. 

Over the past two years, the Covid pandemic has seen a change in our spending habits. 

While we may have saved on restaurants and travel, we laid out considerable costs on a range of new expenses, including disinfectant, masks and Covid tests. 

As some of these costs are required by law, can they be deducted from your tax?

In some cases, expenses directly related to the Covid pandemic can be deducted. 

Masks, for instance, can be deducted as medical expenses in some cantons, Swiss tax specialist Markus Stoll told 20 Minutes

This depends on the specific framework for tax deductions related to medical expenses in that canton. 

EXPLAINED: What can I deduct from my tax bill in Switzerland?

Generally speaking, any medical costs paid out of pocket can be deducted. However, most cantons impose a minimum percentage limit from which these costs can be deducted. 

In many cantons, this will start at five percent of your yearly income in total (i.e. including other out-of-pocket costs like dental or specialist visits), meaning you would need to purchase a significant amount of masks to beat the threshold. 

What about testing and vaccination?

Testing and vaccinations however were largely free as their costs were covered by the Swiss government, which means associated expenses cannot be deducted. 

Those tests which were not covered by the government – for instance for travel abroad or for visiting clubs – cannot be deducted, Stoll says. 

“Tests for travel abroad or to visit clubs are not deductible” Stoll said. 

For a complete overview of taxation in Switzerland, including several specific guides, please check out our tax-specific page here. 

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