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HEALTH

Austria to open border with Switzerland on Thursday

Austria has decided to open its border with Switzerland one week earlier than planned.

Austria to open border with Switzerland on Thursday
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The Austrian government announced on Wednesday that the border will be opened on Thursday to all of its neighbours, other than the heavily hit southern neighbour of Italy. 

Borders with Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic and Hungary will be opened on June 8th – a week earlier than the planned opening which was set to take place on the 15th. 

The form you need to cross the Swiss border for family reasons

While Swiss residents will now be allowed to travel into Austria, Austrians will not be given reciprocal rights until the originally agreed date of June 15th. 

Despite similar geography and population size, Austria has been comparatively spared by the coronavirus than its western neighbour Switzerland. 

While Switzerland has had more than 30,000 recorded infections and 1920 deaths, Austria has had 16,700 official cases and 670 deaths from the virus. 

Austrian authorities said that the border with Italy will be reopened “if the numbers allow for it”. 

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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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