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HEALTH

IN PICTURES: Swiss parliament resumes in plexiglass ‘aquariums’

Switzerland’s National Council resumed on Monday September 7th in plexiglass ‘aquariums’ to comply with social distancing requirements.

IN PICTURES: Swiss parliament resumes in plexiglass ‘aquariums’
Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Parliament returned for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic. The plexiglass cost CHF200,000. 

National Council President Isabel Moret told Swiss news outlet Le Temps “we will eventually get used to our small plexiglass aquariums”.

Thanks to the installation of the boxes, parliament will be allowed to continue if one member tests positive – rather than requiring the entire chamber to quarantine. 

While the plexiglass has allowed parliament to take place again, not everyone is happy. 

BDP National Councillor Lorenz Hess criticised the 'plexi madness', while Switzerland's Tages Anzeiger newspaper said the chamber looked like a 'hall of mirrors'. 

The pictures were taken during a parliamentary session on September 8th, 2020. 

A staff of the Swiss Parliament wearing a protective face mask cleans the microphone after a MP's speech.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss MPs wearing protective face masks attend the autumn session of the Swiss Parliament with new plexiglas dividers in place.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset delivers a speech during the autumn session of the Swiss Parliament in Bern.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss MP Beat Flach (R) wearing a protective face mask speaks with MP Leonore Porchet during the autumn session of the Swiss Parliament with new plexiglass dividers.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

 

 

Swiss MP Marie-France Roth Pasquier (L) speaks with MP Valerie Piller Carrard both wearing a protective mask.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Swiss Interior and Health Minister Alain Berset (R) delivers a speech.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

A protective face mask reading in German: “Stay healthy! Yes Moderate immigration” in reference to a right-wing Swiss People’s Party (SVP)-backed initiative to be held on September 27th.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

MP and Swiss Green Party President Regula Rytz (R) wearing a protective mask places the mask of a colleague during the autumn session of the Swiss Parliament.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

MP Nicolas Walder (L) wearing a protective mask has his face reflected while speaking to a colleague during the autumn session of the Swiss Parliament.  Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

 

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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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