Important tax questions related with COVID 19 – focus Switzerland

The current situation due to the extraordinary COVID measures may also have an impact on the tax situation of employees. One year after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and in view of the submission of the tax returns for the years 2020 and 2021, significant questions are increasingly arising regarding the imputation / deduction of individual costs. Below you will find an overview with current information that may also affect your tax return.

Many employees spent a significant portion of their working days in the home office last year or were even sent to short-time work. On the one hand, the effects can be seen in an increase in professional expenses as a result of home office activity (electricity, internet or work room), on the other hand, professional expenses decrease in the area of meals or commuting to work. It is important to note that the tax allowances for professional expenses will not be reduced in 2020. It is therefore important to check carefully whether it makes sense to claim the actual professional expenses.

It should also be noted that the regulations vary in the individual cantons. In the canton of St. Gallen, for example, the actual days/costs are decisive. The deduction for a private study is possible. In the canton of Zurich, professional expenses are granted as in a year without COVID-19. It should be noted here that no separate home office costs can be deducted. A deduction for a study is only possible if it is also granted in a year without COVID-19.

In the canton of Thurgau, the actual costs are generally to be imputed, but a deduction for a private study can be claimed. The handling is similar in the canton of Graubünden, but here the crediting of the workroom is limited to 85 days.

Below you will find a list of costs that are generally deductible in Switzerland:

Deduction for a workroom is possible if the use is essential and necessary. The business premises risk must be taken into account!
Electricity costs, costs for the Internet connection, printer or paper belong in principle to the lump-sum professional costs an effective deduction is however possible.
Costs for the use of private vehicles. Here, the reduction by the number of home office days must be taken into account. However, the maximum deduction is usually reached anyway.
There is no reduction of costs for public transport if an annual subscription is available.
Even in the case of short-time work and temporary unemployment, a contribution to pillar 3a is still possible.
If homeschooling is mandatory, acquisition costs in the area of IT can be claimed at 50%.
Third-party costs remain deductible if the necessary requirements are met.
Hygiene masks and disinfectants qualify as living expenses and are NOT deductible.
Key points at a glance:
The special situation leads to changes in professional expenses.
A claim for effective professional expenses must be examined.
The regulations in the individual cantons differ.