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Frequently asked questions about the financial measures which the Dutch government is taking to maintain employment during the Corona crisis – Update 17 March 2020

What tax measures does the government take for entrepreneurs?  

It is possible to apply for special deferral of payment for tax debts . After the request has been received, the Tax Authorities will stop the recovery measures. Individual assessment of the request will take place later. The usual deferral requirements remain. However, a “third expert” statement does not have to be filed immediately when applying for deferral. The entrepreneur gets longer to do this. In order to accommodate entrepreneurs, the Tax Authorities will omit or reverse a default penalty for late or late payment.

To facilitate that entrepreneurs easily apply for deferment of payment, the Cabinet will temporarily reduce the collection interest from March 23, 2020 from 4% to 0.01%. This rate reduction will apply to all tax debts. 

In addition, the Cabinet also wants to temporarily lower the tax rate – which is calculated if an assessment can be determined too late – for all taxes to 0.01%. This will be adjusted as soon as this is technically possible. This means that the temporary reduction will take effect from 1 June 2020, except for income tax. For income tax, the reduction of the tax rate will take effect from July 1, 2020. (This rate is now 8% for corporate tax and 4% for other taxes).

I expect to make less profit because of the coronavirus, can I still change my preliminary tax declaration?  

Entrepreneurs who have received a provisional assessment for income tax or corporate tax for 2020 and now expect a lower profit can change it so that they immediately pay less tax. Entrepreneurs who no longer expect to make a profit this year will receive the tax they have already paid for this year. 

How do I apply for deferment of payment from the tax authorities?    

You can apply for special deferral of payment for all assessments of income tax, corporate tax, turnover tax / VAT and payroll tax . Send a letter to the tax authorities for this. In the letter you ask for a deferment of payment and explain how you got into payment problems due to the coronavirus outbreak. The recovery measures are then stopped. You do not have to pay a fine for not paying VAT or wage tax on time. You can read on the website of the tax authorities what other conditions apply to this.

How can I lower my provisional assessment? 

Do you expect a lower profit due to the corona outbreak and are you now paying a provisional income tax or corporate tax assessment? Then you can change your provisio/nal assessment so that you immediately pay less tax. Lower your income for this.

Which European and international financial measures are being taken?   

  • The European Commission has announced a Corona Response Investment Initiative (CRII) of EUR 37 billion for all EU Member States. This money will go to support healthcare, SMEs and the labor market.
  • Normally, a country’s budget deficit should not exceed 3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP), and its national debt should not exceed 60 percent of GDP. These European budgetary rules are now less strictly applied. This gives countries more room to take financial support measures. 
  • European state aid rules are temporarily relaxed so that countries can more easily support companies.
  • The European Central Bank (ECB) and other supervisors will take a more flexible approach to, for example, the financial buffer requirements that banks must meet. In this way, these banks can continue to play their role as financiers of the economy. Banks can borrow money from the ECB more cheaply, which they can then lend to their customers again.
  • Until the end of this year, the ECB will purchase an additional EUR 120 billion in bonds. These are largely corporate bonds. This makes it cheaper for companies to borrow money, so that they can continue to invest.
  • The European Investment Bank Group (EIB Group) will provide up to € 40 billion in financing to support companies affected by the corona virus.
  • The EIB will use existing resources to make money available to healthcare companies in need of emergency infrastructure or developing vaccines against the corona virus. 
  • The IMF has short-term funding of $ 50 billion available that can be quickly borrowed from countries affected by the corona virus.
  • The World Bank is making $ 14 billion available at an accelerated pace. This money is intended to support healthcare and business in affected countries. 
  • In addition, the IMF and the World Bank continue to monitor the global economic situation and stand ready to provide more assistance if needed.
  • The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Asian Development Bank are making resources available to help clients with financing. This mainly concerns producers and distributors of medicines and medical products. 

Do I have to continue to pay tourist tax as an entrepreneur?    

Municipalities levy tourist tax on entrepreneurs in the residential sector. Many municipalities collect this tax through a provisional assessment. Many municipalities are considering stopping the collection of tourist tax to accommodate entrepreneurs. This can lead to financial relief for entrepreneurs in these difficult times. The government is in consultation with the Association of Dutch Municipalities about how this measure can be implemented by municipalities. You can contact your municipality about the measures it is taking in this area or consult the website of your municipality. 

What does the cabinet do for freelancers?     

There will be a temporary provision for at least three months for income support for self-employed entrepreneurs with a viable company who are temporarily in trouble, including self-employed persons. This is based on the Decree on assistance for the self-employed (Bbz), but the conditions are temporarily relaxed on some points. Support may be requested in the form of an additional subsistence allowance and / or a working capital loan. The scheme is implemented by municipalities. Self-employed persons who want to appeal to the scheme can contact the municipality where they are registered for this. Due to the special situation, the scheme is relaxed on the following points:

  • The viability test is not applied, which means that applications can be processed quickly. 
  • This provides income support for living expenses within a period of 4 weeks for a maximum period of 3 months. In addition, advances can be used.
  • The income support for living expenses does not have to be paid back later. There is no asset or partner test in this temporary scheme. 
  • When a working capital loan is granted, the option to defer the repayment obligation is recognized. 
  • When providing a working capital loan, a lower interest rate is applied than applies in the Bbz.

The Working Time Reduction (wtv) scheme has been discontinued as a ‘corona measure’. What measure will replace it?    

The Cabinet is introducing the temporary measure Emergency Fund Bridging Employment (NOW). Consultations are currently being held with UWV about the implementation of this scheme. However, the main features of this scheme are already known (see below). 

Why has the Working Time Reduction scheme been discontinued as a measure?    

  • The outbreak of the Corona virus has led in recent weeks to an unprecedented appeal for the Reduction of working hours scheme for employers. 
  • This scheme is not tailored to the far-reaching consequences of the corona outbreak for Dutch companies and organizations. That is why the wtv has been withdrawn. 
  • The Cabinet would like to financially compensate more employers and do so more quickly than under the withdrawn WTV scheme, and it does this via the new allowance scheme.

Can I still request a working time reduction?    

No that is no longer possible.  

How long will my current Working Time Reduction remain in effect? And if I have to renew, how does that work if there is another arrangement in the meantime?    

If you have already received an assignment for working time reduction, this permit will remain in force. If you make use of the working time reduction permit and want an extension afterwards, you must use the new scheme.

I have applied for Working Time Reduction through the dedicated website, but have not yet received an answer. Do I have to wait for that, do I have to do something myself? How does it go?  

You will be notified of this. Your application for the withdrawn WTV scheme will be considered an application for the new allowance scheme. Additional information will be requested from you. 

What does the new scheme for compensation of labor costs entail?  

  • A new regulation will be introduced, apart from the exemption from short-time working hours and the unemployment benefit.
  • Employers can apply for a substantial contribution towards wage costs and receive an advance from UWV.
  • This allows them to continue to pay employees with a permanent and a flexible contract.
  • The allowance can in any case be applied for for 3 months, with the possibility of extension (possibly under other conditions) by another 3 months.

What conditions apply to qualifying for a compensation of labor costs?  

  • With the application, the employer commits in advance to the obligation not to apply for dismissal on grounds of economic reasons for his employees during the period for which the allowance is received.
  • The applicant expects at least a 20% expected loss of turnover;
  • The application applies for a period of 3 months, which can be extended once by another 3 months (further conditions may be imposed on the extension);
  • The scheme targets turnover decreases from 1 March 2020;
  • The amount of the wage costs allowance depends on the drop in turnover, up to 90% of the wage bill. Below are some examples of how the relationship between the decrease in turnover and the amount of the allowance works out:
    • if 100% of the turnover is lost, the allowance amounts to 90% of the salary of an employer;
    • if 50% of the turnover is lost, the allowance amounts to 45% of the salary of an employer;
    • if 25% of the turnover is lost, the allowance amounts to 22.5% of the employer’s salary.
  • On the basis of your application, UWV will provide an advance of 80% of the expected contribution.
  • It is subsequently determined what the actual decline in turnover has been. 
  • An audit report is required for applications exceeding the amount of the allowance to be determined.
  • When the allowance is finally determined, an adjustment will still be made if there has been a decrease in the wage bill.

When can I apply for the Temporary emergency measure bridging for job retention?  

You cannot submit it yet (situation on 24 March). The Dutch government is working hard to change this as soon as possible. The exact date will be announced as soon as possible. The period for which you can receive a contribution does not depend on this date. Loss of turnover from 1 March is eligible for compensation.

How do I submit an application for the new compensation scheme?  

You can submit the application to UWV.

Can I also apply for a wage costs allowance for employees with a flexible contract?  

Yes, that’s possible. The new allowance scheme also applies to the wage costs for employees for whom the employer has no obligation to continue to pay wages. Think of employees with an on-call contract. Temporary employment agencies can also apply for compensation for wage costs for temporary employees who work for them. This allows companies to bridge this tough period without having to let such personnel go. 

Can I submit a WTV application for circumstances other than Corona?    

No, the WTV scheme has been withdrawn. You will also have to make use of the new regulation in the event of loss of turnover due to causes other than the outbreak of the COVID-19 coranavirus. 

What does the BMKB scheme entail and what does the announced extension consist of?  

The Ministry of Economic Affairs guarantees the loans to entrepreneurs through the BMKB, so that they can borrow money more easily. Entrepreneurs can turn to lenders, such as banks. In the regular scheme, the guarantee loan concerns 50% of the credit that the financier (often a bank) provides. The government guarantee amounts to 90% of this guarantee credit. 

With this easing measure, the amount of the surety loan in the BMKB is increased from 50% to 75%. This makes it easier and faster for banks to extend credit and companies have the opportunity to borrow more money earlier. In addition, the scheme will be further expanded compared to the previous announcement (Thursday 12 March 2020) and will also be applicable to bridging loans and overdrafts with a term of up to two years.

What can the BMKB be used for?    

The BMKB can be used by companies for bridging credit or increasing their current account credit, or the amount that they are allowed to ‘overdraft’. The expansion is essential for the liquidity of smaller entrepreneurs who miss out on income or production due to the corona virus. Think of catering entrepreneurs and their suppliers, a travel agency, but also companies that can no longer source raw materials from abroad. Information can be obtained from the advisory team of the Chamber of Commerce, 0800 – 2117.

Where and how can I claim the BMKB scheme with my company?        

The BMKB application goes through the accredited financier, in this case mostly the bank. The accredited financiers are listed on the RVO website. Banks can submit applications for the expanded BMKB to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO.nl), the implementing organization of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate. Entrepreneurs report to their lender. Information can be obtained from the advisory team of the Chamber of Commerce, 0800 – 2117.

Does the extension of the Guarantee for SME loans (BMKB) also apply to freelancers?    

Yes. Self-employed persons can use the BMKB if they own a legal entity such as sole traders, VOFs and BVs. Self-employed people, however, usually have less need for financing and therefore make less use of it. Read more about the Cabinet’s economic measures with regard to the corona virus.

Do groups fall outside the BMKB scheme? If so, which arrangements can this claim be made of?    

The BMKB is accessible to companies that fall under the SME definition. Large companies are excluded, as are natural persons. Certain business groups and financing objectives are also excluded from the guarantee scheme, such as agriculture, fisheries, public health care, companies in the financial sector and real estate. For farmers and horticulturalists with liquidity problems, the Guarantee of SME Agricultural Credits (BL) can offer a solution. The Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality thus guarantees the credits of agricultural entrepreneurs.  

The other sectors have their own constellation of support agencies / schemes. You can obtain information about this from the Chamber of Commerce Advisory Team via the free telephone number 0800-2117.

Where can I apply for credit as a small business owner?  

The BMKB scheme has been adjusted and lender Qredits has also opened a temporary crisis measure in which lower interest is charged and deferment of repayment obligations is offered to small entrepreneurs. The government supports Qredits financially with an additional amount of up to € 6 million in order to be able to offer the lower interest rate. The opening of this crisis measure will run until the end of May 2020. 

What is Qredits?    

Qredits provides microcredits to start-ups and small businesses. As a foundation, it has an ideal goal and an approach that is fundamentally different from that of regular banks, including with special personal attention to entrepreneurs and the development of the business plan. 

What arrangements are there for (medium) large companies?    

Not only small companies are affected by the consequences of the coronavirus, but also large companies. They usually have more buffers to absorb the first effects, but they also run into limits. That is why they can appeal to the Guarantee Ondernemersfinancing (GO). The Cabinet provides all the guarantee space that is required, so that companies with a healthy future perspective can continue to obtain sufficient financing. 

The GO’s guarantee budget is substantially increased from € 400 million to € 1.5 billion. The maximum guarantee per company will also be substantially increased from € 50 million to € 150 million. These ceilings were equally high during the financial crisis. These increases create wider financing options for companies. Entrepreneurs can report to their financier in the usual way.

Who can I contact if I want to use the GO?     

The GO runs through accredited financiers, in this case the bank. The accredited financiers are listed on the RVO website. These expansions are carried out within a week.

Are there specific regulations for sectors that are more affected by the corona virus than others?    

There will be an emergency counter for the contribution in the form of a donation for the first emergency to entrepreneurs who have been directly taken by government measures to combat the corona crisis and who see their turnover wholly or largely disappear. In particular, this includes food and beverage outlets and other establishments that are forced to discontinue most of their activities, such as beauty salons and others who may run into difficulties due to the 1.5 meter distance requirement. They see their income largely decreasing, while their fixed expenses continue and in many cases their expenditure has already been incurred. Moreover, this income is difficult to catch up when the COVID-19 outbreak is over.

The allowance still needs to be worked out further. This is a one-off fixed amount of € 4,000 for the three-month period and only applies to companies that meet the above conditions in terms of type and sector. The conditions are currently being worked out. If necessary, these conditions are always updated.

Why only an amount of 4,000 euros per company? Isn’t much more needed per company?    

The emergency package consists first of all of generic measures in the field of labor costs and liquidity support. In addition to this, there is this emergency package for entrepreneurs directly affected by government measures to combat the corona crisis. Speed ​​is of the utmost importance, so I opted for a simple design with a fixed amount. 

Companies in which sectors receive this amount?    

It concerns sectors that have been taken by government measures to limit the corona virus. In particular, this concerns food and beverage outlets and other establishments that are forced to abandon most of their activities, such as beauty salons and others who may get into trouble due to the 1.5 meter distance requirement. The conditions are currently being worked out. If necessary, the conditions are updated. 

Where can companies submit an application and from when?    

As of tonight, an information desk at RvO has been opened with the following special telephone number: 088-0422500. Work is currently underway on the precise implementation.

What measures are being taken for the cultural sector?    

The government is in consultation with the cultural sector. The consequences of the corona virus for this sector are considerable. It is discussed which general measures can help the sector and where customization is required for self-employed persons and institutions, subsidized and commercial.

What does the SME Agricultural Loans Guarantee (BL) scheme entail for agricultural and horticultural businesses?   

The agricultural and horticultural sector is confronted both nationally and internationally with a decreasing demand for their products. As a result, prices are under pressure or (mostly perishable) products cannot be sold. As a result, agricultural and horticultural companies may run into financial difficulties. That is why there is a temporary more favorable guarantee for working capital under the Guarantee scheme for SME agricultural loans (BL).

When do you expect to be able to open the scheme?    

As of Wednesday March 18, 2020, agricultural entrepreneurs with liquidity problems as a result of the outbreak of Covid-19 can apply for working capital loans from their bank. 

Why was the SME Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme (BL) not opened simultaneously with the expansion of the BMKB for SMEs affected by corona issues?    

The Agricultural Loans Guarantee (BL) is another scheme that also falls under a different state aid framework. The necessary things had to be sorted out for this. 

What amount does the government make available for the SME Guarantee Loan Scheme (BL)?    

LNV guarantees and banks can provide several tens of millions of working capital with this. 

Who can use the scheme?     

The Agricultural Loans Guarantee (BL) is available for primary agricultural companies.

Is it also open to fishermen?    

The fishing sector is currently unable to use the Agricultural Loans Guarantee (BL). Together with the sectors, the Ministry closely monitors the consequences of the coronavirus, so that we can take necessary and appropriate measures in good time. 

Is this measure sufficient to prevent agricultural businesses from falling over?    

Based on the information now available, this scheme helps to bridge the liquidity problems of fundamentally healthy companies.

What other announced economic measures can farmers, horticulturists (and fishermen) use?    

The Cabinet has drawn up a package of measures, such as a request to shorten working hours and tax schemes. Agricultural entrepreneurs can also make use of this.  

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