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HEALTH

UPDATE: Will France be placed on Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine list?

Amid rising infections, France has been the latest country to cross Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine threshold. Swiss authorities are meeting to discuss placing its western neighbour on the quarantine list.

UPDATE: Will France be placed on Switzerland’s coronavirus quarantine list?
A barrier is removed at a border crossing between France and Switzerland. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Infection rates in France are now higher than 60 per 100,000 inhabitants over the past 14 days, exceeding the threshold for the Swiss government to deem it a ‘high risk’ country. 

Swiss media reports that the Federal Council will meet to decide on whether France should be placed on the mandatory ten-day quarantine list. 

As reported by The Local Switzerland on Friday, placing France on the list is problematic due to the close economic and social ties between the countries. 

An estimated 180,000 residents of France cross the border daily into Switzerland to work, with the majority working in Geneva, Vaud and Basel City. 

The government has not yet indicated whether it would require cross-border workers to quarantine, however special concessions have been made for cross-border workers since the start of the pandemic

Tens of thousands of Swiss also cross the border into France to go shopping, with a quarantine meaning that anyone who entered France – even if just for the purposes of shopping – would be required to quarantine for ten days upon their return. 

UPDATED: Everything you need to know about Switzerland's new quarantine requirement 

A representative of the Department of Economic, Social and Environmental Affairs told Swiss media outlet 20 Minutes that “shopping in France would not be possible” if a quarantine came into place. 

Other countries including the Netherlands, Libya, Lebanon and Paraguay are also approaching Switzerland’s quarantine threshold. 

While the government said the list would be updated monthly when it was first implemented, however so far updates have been made immediately as a country crosses the threshold. 

As of August 25th, there are more than 50 countries with an infection rate above Switzerland’s threshold of ‘high risk’. 

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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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