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HEALTH

Zurich mask requirement to face Supreme Court challenge

The Swiss Federal Supreme Court will hear a challenge against Zurich’s mask requirement, after a group seeking to overturn the rule lost an appeal.

Zurich mask requirement to face Supreme Court challenge
The Swiss Federal Supreme Court. By Gzzz - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

Zurich put in place a compulsory mask requirement in shops and supermarkets on August 27th. 

A group seeking to have the requirement overturned launched an action in the Zurich administrative court, however the action was overruled on Tuesday. 

The group oppose the mask requirement on the grounds that it is disproportionate. The appellants have also argued that the mask requirement should be suspended until the appeal case is heard. 

The court ruled that the mask requirement should stay in place until the appeal is heard by the Supreme Court, Swiss news outlet 20 Minutes reported on Wednesday

Masks are now compulsory in shops and markets in several Swiss cantons including Zurich, Fribourg, Valais, Basel City, Geneva, Neuchâtel, Solothurn, Vaud and Jura. 

Masks have been made compulsory in public transport all across Switzerland 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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