6 things expats in Switzerland need to know about in March 2023
From new parliamentary sessions to tax deadlines and holidays, there are plenty of important things happening in Switzerland this March. Here are six things expats in the alpine nation need to know about:
1. Swiss parliament returns for the spring session
March hails the start of one of Switzerland's political seasons: between February 27 and March 17 the National Council and Council of States in Bern will be debating, voting and amending federal policies from social security to environmental and foreign policy.
Perhaps the most pressing topic being discussed is the ongoing debate over the cost of childcare services in Switzerland. A recent study revealed that women in Switzerland lose around 60 percent of their income after the birth of their child, a phenomenon some blame on how scarce and expensive childcare services are. To help, the government will debate and vote on a plan to give childcare services more funding, although the idea does face fierce opposition.
Some of the other important topics under discussion are the ongoing efforts to supply Ukraine with Swiss-made weapons and ammunition, the expansion of renewable energy in Switzerland, and efforts to reform the pension system.
Want to find out more about what is being discussed? Check out our guide to the Swiss parliament’s spring session.
2. Daylight Savings Time returns to Switzerland
March also signals the return of Daylight Savings Time (DST) in Switzerland. Be aware that in the early morning of March 26, the clocks across all Swiss cities and cantons will be moving forward by an hour. While this will give us brighter evenings to enjoy as the days get longer, people waking up on March 26 will be a little groggier, as it also means one hour less sleep than usual.
3. Tax deadline in Switzerland looms large
There’s no way to avoid it: tax season is upon us. If you are not one of the lucky expats who have their taxes deducted directly from their salaries (Quellensteuer), the Swiss tax system requires that all citizens and long-term residents fill out a tax return.
By now, you should already have your federal and cantonal / local tax forms to fill out. While you can fill them out yourself, those with higher incomes or multiple income streams could benefit from employing a tax advisor to make sure you are paying what you should be.
Be sure to be quick about it though, as without an extension the deadline for sending your tax return in is March 31!
4. New timetable from Zurich and Basel airports gets underway
From March 26, airlines flying out of Swiss airports are expected to change their timetables. While this will mean a number of flights will disappear from the schedule, especially Lufthansa services, the new timetable for the summer of 2023 promises more flights to places that people in the alpine nation like to visit during the summer.
Want to find out what’s changing? Check out our article on the new flight timetable for Zurich and Basel.
5. End of the ski season for lower resorts
While Swiss ski resorts have reported a positive season this year, some lower altitude resorts will be ruing the fact that the weather didn’t allow them to start the season earlier. From March, resorts across the mountains will start to close up for another year, starting with the lower altitude resorts before moving to those deep in the Alps. Weather permitting, the last slopes will close at the end of April.
6. Spring has arrived!
Finally, March 20 will signal the end of winter and the official start of spring in Switzerland. From then, people will start to ditch the ski equipment and opt for a sturdy pair of shoes to go hiking to see the stunning flowers that bloom in Switzerland in the spring.
With Basel Fasnacht concluding on March 1, people’s attention will also turn from Carnival to Easter and beyond. What’s more, in some Swiss cantons, the end of March will see Swiss schools break up for the spring holidays.
Image: Shutterstock.com / Olha Solodenko
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