Category Archive: 3.) Personal Finance

Child care tax deductions set to rise in Switzerland

Switzerland’s Federal Council, or cabinet, plans to increase the maximum annual deduction for child care costs to CHF 25,000 per child, up from CHF 12,100. This would allow parents to deduct up to this amount from their income for federal tax purposes but would not affect canton and commune taxes. Deductions could not exceed the amount spent.

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Some Swiss train fares to fall in June

This week, ch-direct, an association of public transport providers that sets ticket prices, announced there would be no ticket price rises in 2019. Instead the prices of some tickets will fall slightly on 1 June 2018. The price small cuts on standard fares in June relate to the shift from 8.0% to 7.7% VAT at the beginning of the year.

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Food consumes far less of Swiss budgets than it did 25 years ago

Comparing the most recent statistics on Swiss consumer inflation to those in 1993 reveals a steep drop in the percentage of spending allocated to food. When statisticians calculate consumer price rises they look at the prices of a standard basket of goods. In 1993, food and non-alcoholic beverages made up 14.3% of the value of this standard basket. By 2018, the percentage had fallen to 10.4%, a 27% drop.

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Tax and spend – canton of Geneva generates a surprise budget surplus

When Geneva’s finances make the news it is typically bad. At the end of 2016, the canton had debts of CHF 12.5 billion, equal to 153% of its income. In January 2018, the rating agency Standard and Poors gave Geneva a negative outlook citing risks related to the canton’s poorly funded public pension scheme.

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Swiss government set to remove ‘mariage tax penalty’

In Switzerland, married couples file one combined tax return. Because tax rates rise in line with income it means that second incomes of married couples are taxed at a higher rate than those of single cohabitating ones. Those campaigning to have this changed argue that it is unfair and acts as a disincentive for second income earners.

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Switzerland’s parliament rejects plan to cut health insurance discounts

Switzerland has a system of compulsory health insurance. Residents must choose an insurer and pay. Those who don’t are automatically signed up and sent a bill. Other than shopping around, choosing a policy with an excess, a sum that must be covered out of your own pocket before the insurance kicks in, is one of the few ways to reduce your premium.

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Switzerland – a definition of middle class

A recent survey calculates 60.1% of Switzerland’s population was middle class in 2015, a figure that has remained broadly stable since 1998, reaching its highest in 2009 (61.3%) and lowest in 2013 (56.8%). But what is middle class in Switzerland? According to Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office, it is anyone living in a household with a gross income between 70% and 150% of the gross median income.

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Swiss politicians with links to health sector can still fully participate in health commissions

Lukas Reimann, a parliamentarian and member of the Swiss Peoples Party (UDC/SVP), fought to have parliamentarians paid by health companies partially excluded from government commissions dealing with health issues. He thinks vested interests are behind high health premiums and that cartels must be broken.

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Swiss federal finances – surplus of billions in 2017

While many national governments, such as the US and UK, regularly spend more than they collect, Switzerland managed a CHF 2.8 billion surplus in 2017. In addition, CHF 2 billion of withholding tax is expected, which would push the surplus up to CHF 4.8 billion.

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Vaud – vote on divisive dental tax and care plan

On 4 March 2018, voters in Vaud will vote on a plan to provide basic universal dental care funded by a tax on salaries. The initiative entitled: Reimbursement of dental care, Pour le remboursement des soins dentaires in French, claims that 10% of the population avoid the dentist because of the cost. They also claim links between poor dental health and cancer, diabetes and premature births. Their plan envisages the creation of a network of...

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Switzerland tops latest financial secrecy index

While Switzerland isn’t the most financially secretive nation in the Tax Justice Network’s recently published report, its combination of size and secrecy pushed it into first place, the worst rank in the Financial Secrecy Index 2018. Size is factored in because it measures the damage a nation’s financial secrecy has on the world, says The Tax Justice Network.

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Ticket cheats in Switzerland soon to be listed in a national register

Tickets cannot be bought on public transport in Switzerland. Passengers are required to have a ticket before boarding. Those caught on public transport without one will soon have their names put into a national register. This will ensure progressively higher fines are issued to repeat offenders.

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Swiss cross-border shopping not always worth it, says study

In 2015, Swiss residents made 24 million shopping trips abroad. The average Swiss-based cross-border shopper travelled 69 kilometres to shop in a neighbouring country, 55 kilometres further than they did when shopping in Switzerland, according to a study published by Credit Suisse.

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Push to extend shop opening hours to 8pm in Geneva

The Swiss People’s Party (UDC/SVP) in Geneva wants shopping hours in Geneva to be standardized and extended. In general, French-speaking Switzerland has stricter laws on opening hours that the rest of Switzerland. For example a Migros store in Zurich is open until 9pm every night except Sunday. A similar store in Geneva is only open until 9pm one day a week. The rest of the week it shuts between 6pm and 7:30pm.

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Income inequality in Switzerland remains stable after redistribution

Income inequality in Switzerland has remained stable according to a report published by Switzerland’s Federal Statistical Office. A key measure of inequality involves dividing the income share of the top 20% by that of the bottom 20%, a measure known as S80/S20. 1 is complete equality.

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New poll on vote to axe Swiss broadcast fee suggests rejection

A poll run by the media group Tamedia shows a clear majority in favour of rejecting the initiative, dubbed “No Billag”, which aims to end Switzerland’s broadcasting fee. This poll follows one done in December 2017, which showed a majority in favour of the initiative.

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Swiss fact: health insurance premiums cover only 37percent of Swiss healthcare costs

Figures published in 2017 show that only 37% of Swiss healthcare costs were covered by basic compulsory health insurance premiums. The remaining cost was covered by the government (20%), accident and social insurance (10%), private complementary health insurance (7%), charity (1%) and out-of-pocket spending by individuals (26%).

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Swiss rents could fall 10%, says UBS

In a report published today entitled: rents losing altitude, UBS says asking rents for apartments will probably drop by up to 10% over the next three years. Competition in the rental market is getting even fiercer. By mid-2017, 2.4% of all rental apartments were vacant. This level was last exceeded in 1998, when 2.8% of rental apartments stood empty, says the bank.

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Swiss VAT rate to fall in 2018

The current rate of 8% is set to drop on 1 January 2018. Temporarily increased by 0.4% in 2011 to shore up funding for disability welfare, the rate will revert to 7.7%. The 0.1% difference between the new rate and pre 2011 rate of 7.6% is a new increase that will be used to help finance rail infrastructure.

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How much more you need to earn in Switzerland to breakeven

Recently published international price comparison numbers show just how expensive life is in Switzerland. The price of a standard basket of items, including food, clothing, accommodation, healthcare, transport, education and other regular expenses, was far higher in Switzerland than in the rest of Europe.

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