Solidarity tax on rich Swiss extended due to coronavirus

Switzerland’s solidarity tax, levied on the wealthiest Swiss, will be extended by at least a year due to a revenue shortfall caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Solidarity tax on rich Swiss extended due to coronavirus
Wealthy Swiss will have to pay more under the plan. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

According to Swiss news outlet Watson, the tax has been extended in order to avoid a one billion franc budget shortfall in Switzerland’s unemployment fund. 

Pursuant to the tax, anyone earning more than 126,000 francs per year has to pay a ‘solidarity contribution’ as well as the other mandatory social contributions. 

The tax levied is 0.5 percent of the wage, with employers paying a further 0.5 percent. 

READ: Switzerland's strangest taxes – and what happens if you don't pay them


‘Sad news’

The tax, first implemented in 2011, was to expire in 2021 – however Boris Zürcher, head of the Labor Directorate at the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), told SRF on Wednesday that it would be extended indefinitely. 

According to SECO, the tax has erased billions of debt from Switzerland’s unemployment fund. 

The onset of the coronavirus pandemic has however forced more and more Swiss to apply for unemployment benefits, meaning that the tax will now be continued. 

Zürcher told the public broadcaster that the extension of the tax was “sad news”. 

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Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists

Switzerland’s Montreux Jazz Festival announced on Friday that it was forced to drop the acts of four UK-based artists from its summer program because they haven’t been fully vaccinated yet.

Switzerland's Montreux Jazz Festival cancels concerts of unvaccinated British artists
British singer-songwriter Rag'n'Bone Man was dropped from Montreux Jazx Festival. Photo: GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

The move was done in order to comply with current Covid-19 entry rules into Switzerland, which state that from June 26th, travellers from outside the Schengen zone, including Brits, will only be allowed to enter Switzerland if they have been fully vaccinated or have recovered from the virus. 

READ ALSO: Switzerland relaxes travel rules for vaccinated Americans and Brits: What you need to know

British soul singer Rag’n’Bone Man who was one of the headliners for the 2021 edition of the festival, which starts on July 2nd, will now no longer be able to attend due to not being fully vaccinated.

Other unvaccinated acts based in the UK who were also dropped because of the new entry rules include Inhaler, Alfa Mist and the Yussef Dayes Trio.

The artists have already been replaced with other performers from around Europe including Italian singer Zucchero, Woodkid, Dutch songwriter Benny Sings and Danish jazz trio Athletic Progression.

In a statement on June 25th, festival organisers said they were trying to make sure that the concerts of the other UK artists would continue to go ahead, however it is tricky because of fears over the Delta strain of the Covid virus, which has now become dominant in Britain.

“Whether or not these artists can come depends on their vaccination status and that of their touring entourage, as well as their ability to quarantine at the start of their European tour or before their concert at Montreux,” they said.

The Montreux Jazz Festival is one of just a small handful of big music festivals in Switzerland that will still go ahead this summer. Other music events such as St Gallen Open-Air, Paléo and Bern’s Gurten festival have been cancelled for the second year in a row, due to ongoing fears over the Covid-19 virus.

READ ALSO: UPDATE: What rules do European countries have for travellers from the UK?