Swiss politicians want to cut tax breaks for drivers
As other European nations like Germany begin to abolish commuter deductions, politicians are calling for an expansion of vehicle taxes in Switzerland and abolishing tax breaks for drivers. The move is part of an effort to curb carbon emissions and push people to use public transport.
Current vehicle tax break encourages longer commutes
Under the current rules, people who use vehicles to get to work can deduct 3.000 Swiss francs a year from their tax return. The policy was originally established to help people in rural areas commute to Swiss cities for higher-paid jobs. Now, politicians want to scrap the current system of taxation to reduce carbon emissions.
Speaking to 20 minuten, National Councillor for the Social Democratic Party, Gabriela Suter, said the “commuter deduction for drivers should be cancelled.” She noted that the scheme rewarded those who commuted the furthest and therefore emitted the most.
Abolishing the vehicle tax deduction a "bourgeois demand"
Suter called on the government to abolish the tax break so that more people would take public transport. She suggested that the government could instead provide a special "commuting allowance" to low-income groups that rely on their cars for transport. Kurt Egger, from the Green Party, echoed the comments, saying the "public transport network is so well developed that most people have the opportunity to switch to public transport if they want."
The discussions started after the German Environment Agency called for their own commuting allowance to be phased out from 2027. Despite the recent push by some politicians, reactions in Switzerland have been mixed. National Councillor for the Swiss People’s Party, Christian Imark, claimed that only the wealthy population wanted the tax break to be scrapped, and that “once your attack drivers and the rural population, these bourgeois demands will fall through.”