Corona – Measures by the Belgian federal government
FEDERAL GOVERNMENT MEASURES (updated 24 March 2020 (12h))
Below is an overview of the financial support and compensation measures that have recently been adopted or announced by the federal government in Belgium.
1. Financial breathing space for companies: All companies, regardless of their economic activity, can request installments for withholding tax, VAT, personal income tax and corporate tax. Consequence:
- An automatic exoneration of late-payment interests
- A remission of fines arising from non-payment;
Applications must be filed before June 30 2020 by using a standard form. This form has to be addressed, by e-mail or post, to the competent Regional Recovery Centre, depending on the residence or registered office of the company.
2. Additional aid measures in regard to various tax liabilities:
The FPS Finance adopted the following measures for all companies
- Regarding the corporate tax, the legal entities tax and the tax non-resident corporations an additional term will be granted from March 16 until April 30.
- Regarding VAT and withholding intercommunitary declarations a deferral will be granted, depending on the original deadline for declaration
- Regarding VAT and withholding tax, a deferral will be granted, again depending on the original deadline for payment.
- Regarding personal income tax, corporate tax, tax non-resident corporations and legal entities tax for assessment year 2019, an automatic extension of term with two months will be granted for all tax assessments established after March 12 2020.
3. Measures with regard to social security contributions:
Self-employed workers for whom this is their main occupation and their assisting spouses can request several measures relating to their social security contributions:
– They can request a deferral of payment regarding the social security contributions of the first two quarters of 2020. The application must be filed with the Social Security Fund, no later than March 31 2020 (for the first quarter) or June 15 (for the second quarter) 2020.As a result the deadline for payment will be extended to March 31 2021 regarding the first quarter of 2020 and to June 2021 regarding the second quarter of 2020.
– They can request a reduction of the provisional social security contributions of 2020 if their professional income drops under one of the legal thresholds.
– They can request an exemption of the contributions for the first two quarters of 2020. Application forms are available at the Social Security Funds. However, the application must be filed directly with the Social Security Self-Employed Entrepreneurs.
Requests for waiver of increases have to be addressed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Requests for exemptions from contributions have to be addressed to email@example.com.
In any case, the Social Security Funds will no longer send out notice letters, nor will the announced enforcement orders be executed.
4. Measures regarding social employer contributions :
Employers who suffer financial difficulties following COVID-19 and who will not be able to pay their social employer contributions for the first two quarters of 2020, can request installments.
This request has to be addressed to the National Social Security Office using an online application form.
5. Transitional rights for self-employed workers :
Self-employed workers for whom it is their main occupation and their assisting spouses who are (fully or partially) obligated to discontinue their professional activities due to COVID-19, can call upon these transitional rights.
- Self-employed workers who fall under the scope of the national safety measures taken by the government, they are entitled to a full financial compensation for the months of March and April 2020.
- Self-employed workers who do not fall under the scope of these measures, but who are obligated to fully discontinue their professional activities for 7 consecutive calendar days during March or April, can also call upon this financial compensation.
The financial compensation amounts to 1.291,69 EUR for self-employed workers without families and to 1.614,10 EUR for self-employed workers with families. This transitional compensation is incompatible with other forms of replacement income.
Each application for a transitional compensation must be addressed to the Social Security Fund and must be filed by using a standard form.
6. Temporary unemployment due to force majeure:
All situations of temporary unemployment due to COVID-19 are now qualified as forms of temporary unemployment due to force majeure. The National Employment Office provides for a simplified procedure:
- The employer does not have to file an online communication to the competent department of the National Employment Office.
- The employer does have to fill out an ‘ASR scenario 5’ as fast as possible, in order for the National Employment Office to be able to calculate the allowance of the temporarily unemployed.
- The employee has to fill out a form C3.2 when applying for an allowance. Subsequently, the employee will without delay be admitted to the unemployment allowance for the period of February first 2020 until June 30 2020.
When admitted to temporary unemployment due to force majeure, the employee is entitled to a compensation of 70% of his average capped salary (capped at 2.754,76 EUR per month). Next to this allowance, the employee will receive a supplement of 5,63 EUR a day from the National Employment Office.
A withholding tax of 26,75% will be deducted from the allowance.
7. Flexibility in the execution of federal public contracts :
Concerning all federal public contracts, the Federal Government renounces its right to claim fines or impose penalties to service providers, companies and self-employed workers, if the delay or non-execution of a federal public contract is proven to be attributable to COVID-19.
8. Remote working:
On March 17, the National Security Council increased the safety measures previously taken. As a consequence, it became mandatory for companies to organise remote working for their employees for each function if possible, without exception.
- For employees using the tools provided by the employer for private purposes, this will be taxed as a benefit in kind.
- Employees using their own tools for professional purposes, are entitled to an expense allowance from their employer.
9. Measures within the banking support scheme:
The Federal Government, the Belgian National Bank and the banks operating in Belgium came to an agreement concerning all non-financial companies, SME’s and self-employed workers (whether or not organised in a corporation) who suffer financial difficulties following COVID-19.
– A deferral of payment was put in place for these entities regarding existing credits until September 30 2020, without extra cost. This measure was imposed to ensure liquidity within the affected companies.
– A new guarantee scheme is put into place for new credits opened before September 30 2020
- With a maximum duration of 12 months;
- For a maximum credit amount of 50 million euros per company;
– A system of monitoring will be put into place to verify the bank’s credit extensions and other commitments. Moreover, sanctions will be imposed upon banks that do not adhere to the agreements and the measures taken.
Would you like to know more?
The Racine team is at your disposal to answer your specific questions.
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