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HEALTH

Anti-mandatory vaccine referendum campaign launched in Switzerland

Just two days after Switzerland’s last set of referendums, a campaign has been launched for a nationwide vote to prevent any coronavirus vaccines from being made mandatory.

Anti-mandatory vaccine referendum campaign launched in Switzerland
Empty seats in Swiss parliament. Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Calling itself the “Swiss Freedom Movement”, those behind the campaign have appealed to the population to support the vote by preserving “freedom and integrity” in Switzerland. 

The goal of the campaign is to force a nationwide referendum on the question of whether the coronavirus vaccine should be compulsory. 

READ: Could Swiss authorities prevent you from travelling if you refuse the coronavirus vaccine? 

The campaigners want to enshrine in the Swiss constitution that anyone who refuses to be vaccinated will not suffer any social or professional consequences. 

“Current developments show that we cannot trust the Federal Council; politicians with their task forces and experts. As a result, a popular initiative will probably be the only way to stop the dictatorship over our way of life” the campaigners said in a statement

Proponents have until June 1st, 2020, to gather 100,000 signatures in order to put the issue to a vote. 

READ: Will residents in Switzerland be allowed to go to Germany for Covid-19 vaccination? 

 

Will the vaccine be compulsory? 

The likelihood of a compulsory vaccination regime in Switzerland is low. 

While the government has said on several occasions that there will be no nationwide mandatory vaccination, there have been some indications that people in particular professions may be required to receive the vaccine in order to continue their work. 

In April, Swiss Health Minister Alain Berset said “Swiss law does not allow us to force someone to get vaccinated against their will”.

READ: How Switzerland plans to roll out the coronavirus vaccine 

As reported by The Local Switzerland in June, a vaccine could be made compulsory in Switzerland for people in certain occupations. 

Dominique Sprumont, deputy director of the Institute of Health Law at the University of Neuchâtel, explained that immunisation will be obligatory for people in certain jobs, such as healthcare professionals and others whose work brings them in close contact with the public. But others “can't be compelled by force to vaccinated”, he added.

Sprumont said the vaccine will be compulsory, “but compulsory does not mean forced”.

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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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