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Police and bus driver attacked during mask check in Switzerland

Several teenagers attacked police and bus drivers during a mask check in Friborg, leaving two officers injured.

Police and bus driver attacked during mask check in Switzerland
Police tape in a file photo from Zurich. Image: Nathalie OLOF-ORS / AFP

The attack took place on Monday, with several teenagers later arrested after the incident, Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes reports.

The incident took place after a member of the Friborg transit authority (Freiburger Verkehrsbetriebe) contacted police after a teenager refused to wear a mask after being told by a bus driver to do so.

Masks have been compulsory on all public transport in Switzerland since Monday, July 6th. 

READ: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new compulsory mask requirement 

A person aged 15 attacked the bus driver after an argument ensued when police arrived. 

When police intervened, they were also attacked. Police called for reinforcements, with four people between the ages of 14 and 18 arrested. 

According to police reports published Tuesday, the two officers were injured during the incident. 

Switzerland was the last of its neighbours to introduce a mask requirement, doing so more than two months after authorities in Germany, Italy, France and Austria. 

In neighbouring France in early July, a bus driver was attacked and later died after being badly beaten by passengers who refused to comply with the country’s mask requirement. 

As a result of the attack, two people in their early 20s were arrested and charged with attempted murder – while some of the bus driver’s colleagues refused to work until they were given more protection. 

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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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