10 measures to support companies and the self-employed impacted by Covid-19
On Friday 6 March, during the Council of Ministers, the Federal Government approved 10 measures to support businesses and the self-employed impacted by Covid-19.
The two main aims of these measures are to enable companies affected to grant their employees temporary unemployment in order to safeguard jobs, and to provide for arrangements for spreading, postponing and exempting the payment of contributions, withholding taxes and social and fiscal payments for companies and the self-employed.
1. Temporary unemployment due to force majeure
Temporary unemployment due to force majeure will be extended by 3 months, until 30 June 2020. Temporary unemployment due to force majeure may also be invoked pending recognition of the status of a “company in difficulty”. Companies need to obtain this status to be able to make their employees temporarily unemployed for economic reasons. Obtaining temporary unemployment due to force majeure is possible within three to four days. For more information, click here.
2. Temporary unemployment benefits increased
The benefits for temporary unemployment - both for economic reasons and force majeure - will be increased from 65 percent to 70 percent for a period of three months. The aim is to limit the loss of income for the affected employees.
3. Payment plan for employers' social security contributions
Regarding social security contributions for the first and second quarters of 2020, the Covid-19 issue will be accepted as a factor for allowing amicable payment periods. For more information, click here.
4. VAT payment plan
It will be possible to spread VAT payments and be exempted from the usual fines, provided that the debtor demonstrates that the payment difficulties are related to Covid-19. For more information, click here.
5. Payment plan for withholding tax
It will also be possible to spread withholding tax payments and be exempted from fines, subject to the same conditions. For more information, click here.
6. Personal income tax/corporate tax payment plan
Where it can be demonstrated that the taxpayer has payment difficulties due to Covid-19, it is possible to request postponement of personal income tax and corporate tax payments. For more information, click here.
7. Reduction of tax prepayment for the self-employed
If, during the course of the year, the self-employed notice that their income is lower than the amount used to calculate their contribution, they may request a reduction of the contribution. For more information, click here.
8. Postponement of or exemption from payment of social security contributions for the self-employed
For the social security contributions in the first two quarters of the year 2020, one year's postponement without interest on arrears or exemption from payment of social security contributions shall be granted. Again, this is provided that there is a demonstrable link with Covid-19. For more information, click here.
9. Replacement income for the self-employed (bridging right)
Under the same condition, persons who are self-employed as their main activity are eligible for the bridging right if they are forced to stop their the activity, as soon as this interruption lasts longer than one week. The financial support amounts to EUR 1,266.37 per month if they do not have dependant family members and EUR 1,582.46 if they have do. For more information, click here.
10. Flexibility in the performance of federal public contracts
For all federal government contracts where it is demonstrated that the delay or non-implementation is due to Covid-19, the federal state will not impose fines or penalties on service providers, companies or the self-employed.