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HEALTH

Masks compulsory in shops in Solothurn from Thursday

Due to rising infection rates, the central Swiss canton of Solothurn has put in place a compulsory mask requirement.

Masks compulsory in shops in Solothurn from Thursday
A man wearing a mask is seen in front of the Swiss House of Parliament in Bern. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

The central Swiss canton of Solothurn has become the ninth to put in place a compulsory mask requirement in shops. 

Authorities decided on August 28th that masks will be compulsory in shops from Thursday, September 3rd onwards. 

On Friday morning, the canton reported 21 new cases of the virus within the previous 24 hours. 

READ: Why did it take Switzerland so long to make masks compulsory?

As reported by the Solothurner Zeitung, authorities had been reluctant to put in place a mask requirement due to the canton’s location. 

Solothurn borders several other cantons, with authorities concerned the mask rule would encourage residents to go shopping across the border. 

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

In addition to Solothurn, eight other cantons have put in place compulsory mask requirements in shops: Zurich (from August 27th), Fribourg (August 28th), Valais (August 31st) and in Basel City, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Vaud and Jura.

Masks have been required on public transport in all Swiss cantons since July 6th.

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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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