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HEALTH

Masks to cost just 30 francs per year for welfare recipients in Swiss canton

Benefit recipients in the Swiss canton of St Gallen will only need to pay 30 francs for a year’s supply of coronavirus masks under a new plan.

Masks to cost just 30 francs per year for welfare recipients in Swiss canton
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The plan is designed to reduce the burden of purchasing masks on benefit recipients. 

Although masks are currently not required in shops and restaurants in St Gallen, they were made compulsory on July 6th across the country. 

Pursuant to the plan, supplementary benefit recipients will only pay 30 francs per year as a ‘flat rate’. 

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

While no concrete indication has been given as to how the masks should be provided, the St. Gallen Conference on Social Welfare recommends that municipalities reimburse the costs of the masks to each benefit recipient, or provide masks directly to those receiving social assistance. 

The flat rate comes into effect on September 1st, 2020. 

The government estimates that the plan will cost approximately 270,000 francs per year. 

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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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