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HEALTH

Switzerland’s long-distance bus lines fall victim to coronavirus crisis

The final two long-distance bus lines to serve Switzerland have been forced to close, blaming the coronavirus and a lack of government support for their plight.

As reported in Swiss daily 20 Minutes, Switzerland’s Eurobus and Austria’s Dr Richard have closed their Swiss operations. 

Eurobus managing director Philipp Vasalli told 20 Minutes that the coronavirus crisis has changed people’s relationship to public transport – with far fewer people travelling than only a few months before. 

Coronavirus: Easyjet to resume flights from Geneva in mid-June 

Vasalli also said that social distancing rules were impossible to implement in the narrow seats of the buses. 

The bus line also laid blame at the feet of the federal government, with whom they were unable to develop a strategy to stay in operation. 

Germany’s Flixbus remains the only bus company to serve Switzerland, however all of their routes head to international destinations. 

Passengers looking to travel across Switzerland will now only have the train as an option, which can be far more expensive. 

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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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