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HEALTH

Switzerland: Neighbouring countries must coordinate on social distancing to end coronavirus lockdown

Foreign Minister Ignazio Cassis said Switzerland must work with neighbouring countries to end the coronavirus lockdown properly.

Switzerland: Neighbouring countries must coordinate on social distancing to end coronavirus lockdown
Photo: ALEXANDER NEMENOV / AFP

Cassis, in a phone conference with Germany, Austria, Luxembourg and Liechtenstein on Tuesday, said a coordinated effort was necessary to avoid a second wave of infections. 

Coronavirus: Police warn of 'lockdown fatigue' as Swiss start bending rules

Cassis said working together was necessary to ensure the current health and economic crises did not become a social crisis in the months to come.

Essential in ensuring both Switzerland and its neighbours can emerge from the lockdown effectively is that social distancing measures be coordinated across borders. 

“Now is the time to think about the best way to come out of the crisis – and the steps we need to take – in the coming weeks”. 

By rolling out a uniform phasing out of social distancing rules, the countries could ensure the transition took place in a calm and effective manner. 

In addition to coordinating on social distancing and other lockdown restrictions, Switzerland said it was imperative that border regions work together to ensure hospital resources were shared. 

Germany has committed to treating patients from other countries, particularly hard-hit regions of Switzerland, Italy and France. 

 

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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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