When it comes to the tax return, it is always important to know which deductions may be made. One of the most relevant deductions is the professional expenses. Basically, costs that a person bears in order to be able to pursue their work activity are tax deductible. In the following blog article we will deal with the deduction for travel expenses between home and work.
What exactly are travel expenses between home and work?
This refers to the costs incurred when traveling, or commuting, between the place of residence and the place of work. It is important that this is the regular place of work. Isolated trips to other locations are not meant here.
What deductions are available?
There are basically three different deduction options:
Bicycle: If you have a place of work very close by, for example less than two kilometers from your home, you will probably not buy a public transport subscription. For such purposes, there is the flat-rate bicycle deduction. This amounts to CHF 700/year. It is important to mention that this deduction can also be claimed if the bicycle is used to travel between the place of residence and the nearest bus stop or train station.
Public transport: The "regular" and for most the most relevant option is public transport (ÖV). Those who travel to work by bus, streetcar or train may claim the monthly subscription costs. However, only what is necessary may be claimed. Thus, if you live in Schlieren and work at Zurich HB, you cannot claim the cost of a general season ticket, even if you can prove that you bought it.
Tip: If you have bought an annual subscription, the SBB will give you one month free. Make sure that you enter the price for the monthly subscription x12 in your tax return and not the annual price you paid.
Car: The deduction for the car is 70 centimes per kilometer driven. This can best be explained with a short example:
Let's assume that the distance between home and work is 17 kilometers. This distance is driven twice a day, and this for the whole year (220 working days). So the calculation is as follows: 17 km x 2 = 34km per day x 220 days = 7'480km total x 0.7 (70 centimes) = 5'236 Fr. deduction travel expenses total.
Unfortunately, the requirements to be allowed to deduct the car are quite strict and they differ depending on the canton. However, here are the most common ones:
- Time savings compared to public transport of more than one hour per day.
- Medically necessary
- Required by employer's certificate
- The car is used regularly during the working day
Cost of purchasing a vehicle cannot be deducted. Similarly, vehicles provided by the employer are not deductible.