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HEALTH

Geneva remains on Belgium’s travel ban list as Vaud and Valais removed

Belgium has said the cantons of Vaud and Valais are no longer ‘high-risk’ countries subject to a travel ban, however Geneva will remain on the list.

Geneva remains on Belgium’s travel ban list as Vaud and Valais removed
A member of ground staff at Geneva airport. Photo: SALVATORE DI NOLFI / POOL / AFP

The decision was made Wednesday morning by the Belgian government. Under the ban, residents of Belgium are not allowed to certain areas. 

Anyone who has been in a banned area must quarantine and complete a coronavirus test on arrival in Belgium. 

 

 

While infection rates have declined in Vaud and Valais, they remain high in Geneva. 

The Belgian government had placed the three cantons on the list on Saturday, August 1st. 

Previously, the southern canton of Ticino was also added and removed from the Belgian government’s list due to high infection rates. 

As reported on Tuesday by The Local Switzerland, Geneva’s infection rate is currently at more than 100 new infections per 100,000 residents (recorded over the past 14 days). 

‘Officially a high-risk area': How Geneva became Switzerland's new coronavirus hotspot 

The mark is well above the Swiss government's ‘high risk' classification of 60 per 100,000 – meaning that if Geneva was a separate country, residents would be forced to quarantine upon entering the rest of Switzerland.

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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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