Tag Archive: Editor’s Choice

Question of the week: do we still need a standard retirement age?

Reaching the official retirement age1 is an important milestone for many people. Some look forward to it while others dread it. Some dreading it would prefer to continue working either because they enjoy their work or would like the extra income. Some feel they are being systematically and unfairly labelled too old to work.

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VAT now applied to most foreign online shopping from 1 January 2019

In 2016, Switzerland’s government decided to tighten the VAT exemption on imported purchases, a move that affects most online orders from foreign retailers. The new rules took effect on 1 January 2019 – they were originally planned for 1 January 2018 but systems and processes were not ready.

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Police Warn of fake Swiss Franc Notes

Since the beginning of December 2018 more and more counterfeit 100 Swiss franc notes have been appearing in the Swiss canton of Valais in and around Sion and Conthey. The fake notes, which the local Police say can be spotted if compared to real ones, have been making their way into circulation via shopping centres, kiosks and service stations in the Sion and Conthey region.

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No Relief for Swiss Renters as Mortgage Rates Barely Move

Every three months the rate of interest used to set Swiss rents is reviewed. If it goes down some renters have the right to request a decrease in rent. This time it remained at 1.50%. The last time it dropped was 2 June 2017 when it fell to 1.5%, its lowest level since 2008.

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Switzerland’s electronic motorway vignette to be optional

This week, Switzerland’s Federal Council decided the planned electronic motorway vignette will be optional. Drivers will be able to choose. Anyone wanting to drive on Switzerland’s motorway network must first buy a vignette, a road tax sticker introduced in 1985, which must be displayed on the windscreen. It currently costs CHF 40.

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Swiss Unemployment Benefits Cut for a one-day filing delay

Switzerland’s unemployment benefits might be generous but they are strictly policed, as one recipient recently discovered. For a period of up to approximately two years after losing a job, most workers in Switzerland receive 70% of their former salary up to a maximum of CHF 88,200 a year – the amount paid varies depending on circumstances1.

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New Swiss broadcasting fee starts next year

After a referendum in March 2018 threatened to axe Switzerland’s costly broadcasting fee, the government put forward a counter proposal, which was adopted when 71.6% of voters voted to keep the fee. On 1 January 2019, the lower fee contained in the government’s plan will come into force. Next year, instead of CHF 451, each household will need to cough up CHF 365.

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Investigating suspected welfare cheats – where to draw the line

On 25 November 2018, Swiss will vote on whether to accept laws allowing detectives to uncover welfare fraud. Currently, there is nothing specific in Swiss law covering the practice. In the past, investigators have been used to gather evidence on disability and accident beneficiaries. Between 2009 and 2016, detectives were used on around 220 investigations a year, of which around two thirds were found guilty of fraud.

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Swiss Divorce Rates Continue to Climb

By 2017, 40.5% of those married in 1987 were divorced, compared to 33.2% of those married in 1977 and 24.7% of those married in 1967. Divorce in Switzerland starts early. 9.4% of those married in 1987 were divorced after five years, as were 8.1% of those married in 1977 and 4.8% of those who tied the knot in 1967.

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Swiss Health Insurance Costs to Rise Further in 2019

More bad news for Swiss household budgets was released today for residents of all but three Swiss cantons. Health insurance premiums in 2019 will be on average 1.2% higher than in 2018 across Switzerland as a whole. However, within this figure there are significant cantonal variations.

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Swiss Housing – the hardest and easiest places to find a home

Recent government figures show a 13% rise in the number of vacant homes over the 12 months to June 2018. The number has more than doubled since 2009 when there were close to 35,000 vacant dwellings. By 1 June 2018, there were more than 72,000, a vacancy rate of 1.62%.

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Vaud to cap health insurance premiums at 12 percent of income

Starting in September 2018, health insurance premiums in excess of 12% of income in the canton of Vaud will be covered by the government. From the beginning of 2019, this percentage will be reduced to 10%, increasing the number of people who qualify and the size of the subsidies, according to the newspaper Le Matin.

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Costs of owning a home in Switzerland set to rise for some

Currently, home owners in Switzerland must pay tax on fictional rent, calculated based on a home’s size and location. At the same time home owners get to deduct mortgage interest and home maintenance costs from their taxable income.

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Swiss study recommends 38 weeks of parental leave

This week, a government commission gave its verdict on the vote, recommending two weeks of paternity leave instead of the four set out in the referendum’s text. Their commission’s main concerns are centred on the impact on companies and the cost of funding it.

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The secrets of the new 200 Swiss franc note

Switzerland began updating its notes starting with the 50 franc note in April 2016. It then issued the new 20 franc note in May 2017, and the new 10 in October 2017. The newest note to grace Swiss wallets, pockets and purses is the 200 franc note, which was launched on 22 August 2018.

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Swiss Health Insurance Companies Aim to Make it Easier to Break Contracts

Swiss health insurance companies are aiming to change laws to make it easier for them to unilaterally end complementary insurance contracts, according to the newspaper Le Matin.

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Geneva set to vote on maintaining public spending in the face of company tax reform

An initiative entitled: zero losses, was filed this week in Geneva. It aims to ring fence current public spending in the face of future company tax reform. The initiative gathered 9,147 signatures, more than the 7,840 required.

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Majority favours later retirement for women, according to survey

In Switzerland, the official retirement age for women is 64, a year earlier than it is for men. A poll by gfs.bern shows that around two thirds are in favour of raising the retirement age of women to 65. Only 16% are against the idea, with a further 18% somewhat against it. Men (78%) are more in favour of the change than women (54%), according to the newspaper 20 Minutes.

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TV Recording could be under threat in Switzerland

With TV recording there’s no need to miss programmes just because they’re on at the wrong time. And, when it’s time to watch them, it’s easy to fast forward through the adverts, something that can’t be done when watching live. In Switzerland, television recording is offered by big distributers, such as Swisscom, Sunrise and UPC. Broadcasters don’t provide it.

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Swiss VAT might rise to fund lower company tax rates

Historically, Switzerland has offered certain foreign companies special preferential tax deals in order to attract them. In response to international pressure, the current system is to be phased out replacing preferential tax rates with lower universal ones in the hope that these companies will stay.

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