23 March 2020

Financial difficulties due to coronavirus? The Belgian government offers several support measures

In these difficult times, the Belgian government is making a variety of support measures available to entrepreneurs. We briefly address the key support measures below.

Tax measures: general deferment

To give companies the financial breathing space they need, the Belgian federal government has provided for several additional measures.

Corporate income tax, personal income tax, non-resident income tax and legal entity taxation

Deferment of filing deadline

The filing deadline has been extended through Thursday 30 April 2020 for tax returns to be filed between 16/03/2020 and 30/04/2020 pertaining to:

  • Corporate income tax
  • Legal entity taxation
  • Non-resident income tax (companies)

 

Deferment of payment

An additional period of two months, on top of the standard payment period, will automatically be granted for payment of personal income tax, corporate income tax, non-resident income tax and legal entity taxation, and this without incurring late payment interest. This measure applies to tax settlements pertaining to the tax year 2019, assessed as from 12 March 2020.

No automatic payment deferral applies to assessments assessed prior to 12 March 2020. A repayment plan can be requested for these assessments from the Regionaal Invorderingscentrum (RIC) – see below.

 

VAT

Deferment of filing deadline

The deferment below has been granted for periodic VAT returns as well as for European Sales Listings

Return schedule

Deadline extension

February 2020

6 April 2020

March 2020

7 May 2020

First quarter 2020

7 May 2020

 

Starters and holders of a monthly reimbursement license benefiting from monthly reimbursement of their VAT credit have also been granted a deferment; however, this has only been extended until the 24th of the month following the filing period.

The period has been extended by one month to 30 April 2020 for the Annual Sales Listing.  For taxable parties that have terminated their activities, an annual sales listing must be submitted no later than the end of the 4th month following the cessation of their VAT-subject activity.

Deferment of payment

An automatic two-month deferment of payment will enter into force, incurring no penalties or late payment interests :

Payment type

Deadline extension

Monthly return – February 2020

20 May 2020

Monthly return – March 2020

20 June 2020

Quarterly return – 1st quarter 2020

20 June 2020

 

Withholding tax

Deferment of payment

An automatic two-month deferment of payment will enter into force, incurring no penalties or late payment interests:

Payment type

Deadline extension

Monthly return – February 2020

13 May 2020

Monthly return – March 2020

15 June 2020

Quarterly return – 1st quarter 2020

15 June 2020

 

Postponement of non-essential tax audits

The Belgian tax authority is postponing its non-essential and/or less urgent on-site tax audits. Only audits required to protect the financial interests of the Belgian State will be retained.

The retained on-site audits shall be performed in accordance with the specific hygiene standards in force due to the coronavirus crisis.

Tax audits that can be conducted remotely with the support of tax applications and based on files, will continue to move forward.

Temporary unemployment

The Council of Ministers decided on 20 March that force majeure will be accepted for all employers affected by the coronavirus.

This implies that there is no longer a distinction made between temporary unemployment for reasons of force majeure or for economic reasons.

The procedure temporary unemployment for economic reasons will be fully replaced by temporary unemployment for reasons of force majeure. This force majeure temporary unemployment procedure can be applied retroactively as from 13 March.

The force majeure procedure has also been greatly simplified for both employer and employee: 

No electronic declaration has to be made to the National Employment Office and no control cards C3.2.A have to be filled in for the months March, April, May and June.

The National Employment Office will be notified of temporary unemployment due to force majeure by means of the wage codes that your social secretariat will pass on. It is therefore important to inform your social secretariat sufficiently.

Employees must request the document C3.2. from their trade union or social security office and return it duly completed in order for the payment to be made correctly. This document can be downloaded here.

An additional alleviation includes the possibility of part-time temporary unemployment due to force majeure. It is thus possible to alternate days worked with days of force majeure. Employees receive their usual salary for the days worked.

There is also good news for the employees, because in addition to the increased benefit of 70 percent of the average salary (capped at 2.754,76 euro) they also receive a supplement of 5,63 euro per day. Both amounts will be paid out by the payment institution, i.e. the trade union or the unemployment benefit fund.

In addition, all these days will count towards the calculation of the right to holidays in 2021.

Employer's social security contributions

Employers may apply for a repayment plan for their 1st and 2nd quarter 2020 employer's social security contributions, which facilitates debt settlement via monthly instalments.   Applications can be made using the link below:

https://www.socialsecurity.be/site_nl/employer/applics/paymentplan/index.htm

 

Tax measures: repayment plan

A repayment plan can be obtained (until 30 June 2020) by companies for the payment of various taxes (withholding tax, VAT, personal income tax, corporate income tax and legal entity taxation), along with an exemption from interest on late payment and a waiver of fines.

The debts may not be a product of fraud or due to structural payment difficulties, and the conditions for filing the returns must be complied with.

An application must be submitted for each debt at the time of receipt of the assessment or payment notice. The application must be submitted to the Regionaal Invorderingscentrum (RIC), which acts as a contact point for all tax measures. Naturally, we can take care of what is required to this end.

 

Deferment or exemption from payment of social security contributions for self-employed persons

Self-employed persons are entitled to apply for deferred payment of their social security contributions. In this case, the application must be made:

  • before 31/03/2020 for the quarterly contributions of the first and second quarters of 2020 and,
  • before 15/06/2020 for the second quarter contributions of 2020.

In addition, self-employed persons may also request a reduction to their provisional social security contributions for the year 2020 should their professional income be below one of the legal thresholds. Lastly, an exemption may also be requested where social security contributions can no longer be paid due to COVID-19.

Stop-gap assistance right of the self-employed

Self-employed persons forced to cease their activities for over a week due to COVID-19 are eligible for replacement income under certain conditions. If you are unable to carry out any (economic) activity, please contact your social insurance fund to find out whether you are eligible for a benefit.

Single one-off premium (Flemish government)

A single, one-off premium is also being provided to companies faced with mandatory closure (period until 3 April):

  • Full closure:         EUR 4,000

Should the mandatory closure be extended, the measures will be sustained at a compensation rate of EUR 160/day.

Crisis guarantee (Flemish government)

Companies suffering financial difficulties will be able to apply to their banks for a new debt settlement plan. The Flemish government will act as guarantor for 75% of this new debt settlement plan.

Deferment of property tax (Flemish government)

The property tax assessment will be postponed until September 2020.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any additional questions, troubles or concerns. We will follow this up on your behalf to ensure that you get the best possible guidance and advice. Please contact our advisors at corona@vgd.eu

Accountancy

Do you have any further questions about this? Then be sure to contact our advisors! Let's talk!

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