Rules and regulations

Budget 2018 – and what it means for you

NEWS
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Planning your budget effectively will help you stay on top of your finances in 2018. Source: iStock.com/oatawa

At the beginning of the year, a series of new rules and regulations came into force. Some of them will have a direct impact on your wallet. comparis.ch has compiled an overview of the main changes, and advises on how to keep your expenses in check.

Easy on the wallet

Lower VAT

At the start of the year, the standard VAT rate was cut from 8 to 7.7 per cent. On a purchase of 1,000 francs, this represents a saving of 3 francs. Electronic versions of newspapers, magazines and books should also be cheaper, as a new rate of 2.5 per cent applies (previously 8 per cent).

Fewer postal charges

Previously, receiving a delivery from abroad could, if you were unlucky, entail a customs inspection fee of 13 francs, among other charges – a thorn in the side of many online shoppers. But the charge for customs carrying out these random spot checks on foreign parcels has been dropped as of this year. Saving tip: if you create your label for domestic parcels (now for 2, 10 and 30 kg parcels) using a Swiss Post login, you can save yourself up to 3 francs per parcel, depending on the weight. 

More good news for online shoppers: breakable or valuable parcels can be declared as such and be insured for an extra charge of around 7 francs. Swiss Post will pay out up to a maximum of 5,000 francs in the event of loss or damage.

More help for caregivers

Parents who care for their critically ill or severely disabled child at home will receive a higher critical care supplement from the disability insurance fund. The monthly benefit will increase to an amount ranging from 940 to 2,350 francs, depending on the extra daily workload.

Higher disability pension for part-time employees

As disability insurance treats health restrictions in the workplace in the same way as those in the home, people who work part-time will be better off. Now that the calculation is performed differently, those with a disability rate of less than 40 per cent who received no pension can now re-register. This affects some 16,000 people (including many women and mothers).

More money for clubs

Non-profit clubs, associations and other legal entities (such as sports and music clubs) no longer have to pay direct federal tax if they have a taxable annual profit of less than 20,000 francs. As far as cantonal tax is concerned, the allowances of the respective canton apply.

 

Pressure on the purse

Rising energy costs

Emissions in Switzerland are not decreasing in line with targets. In response, the government has increased the CO2 levy on fuel. One litre of heating oil now costs three centimes more. Electricity has also become more expensive, with the tax in support of renewable energy rising by 0.8 centimes to 2.3 centimes per kilowatt hour (kWh). For a typical household consuming 4,500 kWh of electricity per year, this translates into a cost increase of 2 per cent or 13 francs on average.

Higher health insurance premiums

The Federal Council has made a change to its tariff system for outpatient medical services (TARMED). Accordingly, for an initial consultation, doctors can now only bill for 20 minutes – 30 minutes for children and senior citizens. This measure should save around 470 million francs this year. Nevertheless, health insurance premiums have gone up by 4 per cent on average – and as much as 5 per cent for children and adolescents. You can check out comparis.ch for more information on this subject, and find the cheapest health insurer.

How to plan your household budget

It's a good idea to keep a record of all the other expenses you are likely to face this year. You can then check, month by month, whether you are on track with your spending or likely to go overdrawn. This will help you stay out of debt – and avoid sleepless nights.