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HEALTH

‘A ticket back to normality’: Swiss support for vaccination pass grows

Support is growing in Switzerland for the introduction of an Israeli-style immunity card, which would allow holders to go to bars, visit the gym, attend events and travel.

'A ticket back to normality': Swiss support for vaccination pass grows
Do you support an Israeli-style immunity card? Photo: FABRICE COFFRINI / AFP

Several prominent Swiss politicians and health experts have spoken out in support of an Israeli-style vaccination passport. 

Known as the ‘Green Pass’, Swiss media reports that the vaccination passport gives Israeli residents who have received both doses of the vaccine “an entry ticket back to normality”. 

Reader question: Will vaccinated people have special privileges in Switzerland? 

Since Sunday, February 21st, Israel’s Green Pass holders have been again allowed to visit gyms, bars, restaurants, theatres and sporting events, while travel privileges are also expected in future. 

Swiss President Guy Parmelin said on Sunday that “everyone who wants to travel will need to be vaccinated in the future”. 

Swiss president: People who want to travel 'will have to be vaccinated' 

Ruth Humbel, President of the National Council's Health Commission, said on Monday that Switzerland should introduce a Green Pass style vaccination ID. 

“Instead of keeping everything banned until the summer, people with a Green Pass should be able to attend football matches, clubs, open air events and festivals again,” Humbel told 20 Minutes

Humbel said the vaccination data could be fed into the Swiss Covid coronavirus tracing app to allow entry to various events and venues. 

People with valid negative tests and those who have recently had the virus and healed could also be included. 

State Councillor Andrea Caroni (FDP) dismissed concerns that an immunity card would be a restriction on people’s rights, saying not introducing such a card would be “unconstitutional”. 

“From this point on, it would be unconstitutional to lock up vaccinated people by means of isolation or quarantine,” Caroni told Swiss media. 

“If Susie already has the driver's license, she is then allowed to drive – even if Harry is still waiting to take his driving exam”.

Hans-Ulrich Bigler, Director of the Swiss Trade Association, said such a pass should be introduced as an incentive to be vaccinated. 

“Vaccinated people actively do something for health protection,” he said. 

‘Compulsory vaccination’

SP National Councilor Yvonne Feri disagreed, saying incentives to vaccination amounted to a compulsory vaccine scheme. 

“Making things easier for those who have been vaccinated is like compulsory vaccination,” she said. 

She also urged caution, saying “it has not yet been proven that people who have been vaccinated cannot infect others”. 

 

 

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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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