New rules on short-term work and the view on share dividend payments linked to the support measures
New rules on short-term work
– including a statement to the Government about lowering the interest rate on deferred tax payments.
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The government's additional budget amendments of 19 March 2020, proposed that an employer must make it probable that it has "serious and financial difficulties" that are temporary and that these difficulties ”could not reasonably be foreseen or be avoided” to be considered eligible for support for short-term work.
On March 30, the Finance Committee published its report concerning, inter alia, the state support for short-term work, which states, among other things, that “The Committee would like to emphasize that a prerequisite for support is that the employer has serious financial difficulties, i.e. in the absence of support would have to make extensive redundancies. The Committee considers that in such circumstances it cannot be considered justifiable that employers who receive support from the general public in the short-term work simultaneously carry out dividends and other similar payments.”
The report also explicitly states, among other things, the following about the total interest rate for deferred tax payments: "The Committee believes that the overall interest rate on deferred tax payment of about 6.6 percent is too high. This is particularly problematic for many small and medium-sized enterprises which are in crisis. The government should urgently return to the parliament with a proposal to reduce the total interest to be paid on deferred tax payment."
Since then, the parliament has on April 2 enacted the additional budget amendments with the adjustments suggested by the Finance Committee, resulting in changes in the interpretation and application of the rules on short-time work and deferral of tax payments as stated above.
The now enacted amendments, which were brought forward by the Finance Committee, raises several questions in regard to the application of the legislation. In order for employers to understand how to act on this issue and that the support for short-term work should be predictable, we believe further clarifications are needed from the government. The purpose of the support for short-term work is to save Swedish jobs. In a situation where a company due to low employment has low or non-existent income, it is difficult for a company financially to justify not dismissing its employees due to a labor shortage in order to reduce its costs, despite the financial possibility of retaining its employees.
KPMG continuously monitors the ongoing legislative work and the Swedish Agency's for Economic and Economic Growth (sw Tillväxtverket) guidance on this issue, as well as the further handling of the issue of the total interest rate for deferred tax payments.
The article in Swedish
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