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HEALTH

Why Switzerland is running out of bicycles

A ‘higher than ever’ demand for bicycles due to the pandemic has led to bottlenecks and waiting times. Retailers are warning that the country is set to run out.

Why Switzerland is running out of bicycles
Photo: Harold Cunningham / AFP

Concerned about the risk of catching coronavirus on public transport, Swiss have made the shift to two wheels. 

As a result, Switzerland is suffering an “unprecedented” bicycle shortage – with some retailers warning that the country will run out of bikes by the spring and prices are set to skyrocket. 

Bike demand has surged since the spring of 2020 – and manufacturers have been unable to keep up. 

READ MORE: Seven reasons why Switzerland is paradise for cyclists 

Swiss online retailer Digitec Galaxus told 20 Minutes the “selection of bikes is set to be sparse by summer”, but that a shortage can be expected as early as March. 

Retailers are struggling to get enough bikes and bike parts from manufacturers, with demand strong across Europe due to the pandemic. 

Swiss bike spokesperson Martin Platter warned “the manufacturers of bicycles and components are faced with an unprecedented level of demand.”

But it is not only higher demand which will see an increase in prices. The impact of the pandemic on international logistics is also pushing up prices on bikes in Switzerland. 

“The prices for container transport between Asia and Europe have risen from $1,600 (CHF1425) to as much as $11,000 (CHF9797),” Platter said. 

Online bike dealer Marc Honegger, who runs Markenbikeoutlet, told 20 Minutes that anyone wanting to cycle in spring or summer should take advantage of the current cold weather and make an order now. 

“I would recommend looking now” Honegger said. 

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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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