We would like to inform you on the various measures covering employers, employees and self-employed persons in light of the recent outbreak of the COVID-19 (Corona) virus in The Netherlands. Our overview is based on the information the Dutch government provided in the evening of 17 March 2020
(refer to: https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/actueel/nieuws/2020/03/17/coronavirus-kabinet-neemt-pakket-nieuwe-maatregelen-voor-banen-en-economie and https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/onderwerpen/coronavirus-covid-19/veelgestelde-vragen-over-coronavirus-voor-werkgevers/financiele-maatregelen in Dutch).
We highlight some of the measures below.
We also refer to the travel restrictions introduced.
This news alert is intended to provide general information.
To protect the health of our clients and our colleagues, all our staff will work from home as much as possible for the next few weeks, with a view to ensuring the continuity of our services to you, our valued clients. Appointments with customers are carried out remotely where possible, or rescheduled for a later time. If a personal appointment with you was made for the period up to 6 April 2020, we will contact you shortly to agree on an alternative.
Social Security Measures
Reduction of working time (Tijdelijke Noodmaatregel Overbrugging voor Werkbehoud, or NOW).
As per 17 March 2020, a new regulation is implemented for a duration of 3 months. Companies that have a lower workload for all, or part of their employees due to circumstances beyond normal business risks, can apply for a reduction of working time. Businesses should prove that they expect a loss of at least 20% turnover. If this is the case, they can apply for a grant of up to 90% of the sum of the total wages (depending the loss of turnover). The Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) will make an advance payment of 80% of the requested amount. The conditions for this measure are as follows:
The prior reduction of working time regulation is replaced as per today. Pending applications for the prior regulation will automatically be carried over to this new one. Witscraft will be pleased to assist you in filing a request for the reduction, as well as a proper implementation of the measure.
Self-employed professionals (ZZP’ers) can make use of the SME credit guarantee scheme (BMKB), provided their legal business entity is a sole trader/proprietor, a general partnership (VoF) or a private limited company (BV). Generally speaking however, self-employed professionals have lower financing needs, and therefore do not often use the BMKB scheme.
Self-Employed Assistance Decree
Self-employed persons can also apply for the Self-Employed Assistance Decree (Besluit Bijstandsverlening Zelfstandigen), for instance if their turnover is reduced and they need support for regular necessities of life.
Temporary measure for 3 months
Self-employed persons may request for an additional amount if their income will still not be sufficient. It is the intention that they receive an amount of up to a social minimum swiftly. They will not need to repay any such amount, and the amount granted will not depend on the income of their partner, or on their wealth. There is also the opportunity to request for a loan for working capital at a low interest percentage.
Compensation for specific sectors
The COVID-19 measures of the Government (such as the mandatory closure of food and drink establishments and cancellations in the travel industry) have enormous repercussions for the affected industries. The Government recognises that the ensuing loss of revenue will be difficult to recover once the crisis is over. Therefore, a compensation scheme will be implemented containing specific measures for companies in the industries in question. This legislation is now being drafted, and will be submitted to the European Commission shortly to verify whether the EU rules governing State aid are met.
Deferral of tax payments
For Dutch wage taxes, personal income tax, corporate income tax and value added tax (BTW), a deferral of payment can be obtained, provided certain conditions are met. To help businesses cope with liquidity problems, the Dutch government has decided to grant them a special deferral of payment upon request. The levy of these taxes shall be halted soon after the request is made. Supporting proof can be provided in later stage. The interest for not paying timely will be reduced to almost zero percent. Again, we would be pleased to assist you with request for such payment deferral, if requested.
No levy of default penalties
The Dutch tax authorities indicated that no default penalties will be levied for delayed or non-payment, and that such fines will be reversed if already levied. This measure accompanies the deferral of tax payments described above.
Reduction of preliminary assessments
A preliminary personal income tax or corporate income tax assessment may be reduced. The Dutch tax authorities levy the expected 2020 amounts due for personal income tax or corporate income tax purposes in instalments throughout the year, via preliminary personal and corporate income tax assessments. If necessary, this preliminary tax is subsequently corrected once a final tax assessment is imposed. If a business expects to make a lower, or even no profit because of the COVID-19 virus, the company may request a reduction of the preliminary personal, or corporate income tax assessment. As a result, the amount of such tax due will decrease directly upon grant of such request. Please note that the Dutch tax authorities may still charge interest on amounts due. However, we understand that such interest percentages will also be reduced to almost zero.
Witscraft would be pleased to draft and submit an application for the reduction of preliminary personal or corporate income tax assessments on your behalf. Please feel free to reach out to your regular Witscraft contact person for more information. We will then review the possibilities in consultation with you.
Global Mobility and travel
A travel ban is introduced to travel into Schengen countries from outside the EU. Exceptions applies for certain persons (e.g. residency permit holders, family members of EU, lorry drivers). The Netherlands also advise not to travel abroad (code orange).
Governmental service measures
The following government services have published how they will operate during the current crisis:
In these challenging times, we wish you and your loved ones all the best.