Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.
Government and institution measures in response to COVID-19.
(e.g. state compensation schemes, training…)
- In the Jobs and Economy emergency package presented on March 17, 2020 the government announced the ‘Temporary emergency bridging measure to retain jobs’ (Tijdelijke noodmaatregel overbrugging voor behoud van werkgelegenheid; NOW).
- In short, the NOW scheme means that companies that during a self-elected period of three consecutive months during the period March 1, 2020 through July 31, 2020 (turnover reference period) suffer a loss of turnover of at least 20% in comparison with their turnover for 2019 divided by four, can obtain compensation for a maximum of 90% of the payroll in proportion to the decline in turnover. The compensation covers the payroll costs during the period March 1 through May 31, 2020 regardless of the turnover reference period. If the subsidy is granted, 80% will be paid in advance. Two variables thus play an important role in the NOW scheme: the loss of turnover and the payroll.
- If the decline in turnover at the group level is less than 20%, the decline in turnover of an individual operating company may be considered. If the decline in turnover of the individual operating company is at least 20%, then the operating company can, in principle, rely on the NOW, provided that certain conditions are met. Among others, these conditions determine that the head company of the group or the parent company of the applicant operating company must state that it will not distribute any dividends or award any bonuses to the board of directors or management for the year 2020, nor will it redeem any own shares through to the date of the shareholders’ meeting in which the financial statements for 2020 are approved.
- In the final determination of the subsidy the decline in turnover used for the advance payment is compared to the actual decline in turnover in the turnover reference period. If the actual decline in turnover reference period is lower, the subsidy will be reduced.
- With regard to companies that did not yet exist on January 1, 2019 and companies that have acquired (part of) another company, a different method for calculating decline in turnover applies. Start-up companies can base the reference period for the turnover on the full calendar months as of the first calendar month after the day on which the company commenced its operations in 2019 through to February 2020. This turnover will be translated to a three-month period. Likewise, for companies that acquire part of another company, the turnover comparison can take place as of the first calendar month after the day of the transfer, for all full calendar months in 2019 through February 2020, translated to a three-month period.
- In principle, the salary for the purposes of payroll tax/national insurance contributions (“SV salary”) for January 2020, without additional periodic salaries, acts as the NOW payroll tax base for the advance payment. This SV salary is multiplied by three and increased by 30%, being the fixed amount of employer contributions; the result is the payroll. Employee salaries exceeding € 9,538 per month are not included in the payroll calculation for the excess. In the final determination of the subsidy, the payroll used for the advance payment is compared to the actual payroll in the subsidy period. If the payroll in the subsidy period is lower, the subsidy will be reduced by 90% of the difference in the payroll, regardless of the decline in turnover. However, if redundancy on economic grounds is applied during the subsidy period a reduction of 150% of the payroll of the relevant employees applies.
- To accommodate businesses with a (too) low and unrepresentative payroll in January, an alternative calculation method applies in which the payroll for the month March 2020 will be decisive. This is subject to the condition that the payroll for the period March through May 2020 exceeds three times the payroll for January 2020. The payroll for the months April and May 2020 is thereby set at a maximum of the payroll for March 2020.
Temporary emergency bridging measure to retain jobs (NOW 2.0 for the period June 1, 2020 through to October 1, 2020)
- The government has decided to extend NOW by another four months. The second NOW tranche (NOW 2.0) applies to the period commencing on June 1, 2020 and ending on October 1, 2020. The application process for NOW 2.0 has started as of July 6, 2020
- In short, the purpose and structure of NOW 2.0 is the same as that of NOW 1.0. In order to retain jobs, employers with a decline in turnover of at least 20% in comparison with their turnover for 2019 divided by three, can receive compensation for their payroll costs. This compensation is related to the loss of turnover and is for the payroll costs for the months June, July, August and September 2020.
- The turnover period for calculating the decline in turnover is four months. This period starts on June 1, July 1, or August 1, 2020. If a subsidy application has also been filed for the period March-May 2020 (NOW 1.0), then the turnover period for the extended application (NOW 2.0) must directly follow after the period chosen in the earlier application.
- The reference month for the payroll has been moved from January 2020 to March 2020. This can offer a solution for organizations with peak seasonal activities.
- The fixed increment (as compensation for other employer expenses) has been increased from 30% to 40%.
- The NOW 2.0 also includes a provision that reduces the subsidy if redundancy on economic grounds is applied for during the subsidy period. Under NOW 1.0, a reduction of 150% of the payroll of the relevant employees applies, under NOW 2.0 the reduction will, in principle, be 100%. However, if 20 or more employees are made redundant on economic grounds and the Collective Redundancy Notification Act (Wet Melding Collectief Ontslag; WMCO) applies, the final NOW subsidy will, in principle, be reduced by another 5%. This reduction, which will thus apply in addition to the above reduction of 100%, will not apply if i) the employer and the relevant employee representative body reach agreement on the redundancy application or ii) these parties request mediation by a committee to be appointed by the Labor Foundation (Stichting van de Arbeid).
- NOW 2.0 applications are, among others and exceptions aside, subject to the condition that a company or group must not distribute dividends or award bonuses for 2020, or redeem own shares, through to the date of the shareholders’ meeting in which the financial statements for 2020 are approved
Additional measures to support self-employed
- Self-employed can, under conditions, get non reimbursable income support until 1 October, 2020 through a fast track procedure and/or a 2% interest loan for working capital to a maximum amount of € 10,157 (TOZO) for a maximum term of three years.
Economic stimulus measures
(e.g. loans, moratorium on debt repayments…)
- BMBK-C: SMEs affected by the outbreak are supported via an extended credit guarantee scheme for SMEs (Borgstelling MKB-kredieten; BMKB(-C)). The credit guarantee has been increased up to 90% of 75% of a line of credit and the percentage for the premium due is lowered from 3.9% to 2% for a maximum period of 8 quarters and 3% for a period of 9 to 16 quarters. The BMKB(-C) guarantee ceiling is € 1.5 billion.
- BL-C: Temporary opening of BMKB guarantee instrument for agricultural and horticultural companies (Borgstellingskrediet Landbouw; BL-C). The credit guarantee is 70% of a loan, with a loan maximum of € 1.5 million per business.
- COL: Startups and scale-ups can, under conditions, apply for the Corona Bridging Loan (Corona-Overbruggingslening; COL). The Regional Development Companies (ROMs) supply the 3% interest bearing loans, which vary between € 50,000 and € 2 million. Depending on the amount of the loan, a yearly premium of 2% is payable and/or 25% of the loan needs to be co-financed by, for example, investors or shareholders. The ceiling of this measure is € 200 million.
- GO-C: Enlargement of the Corporate Financing Guarantee Scheme (Garantie Ondernemersfinanciering; GO-C) for SMEs and larger firms. The amount for which the government stands as guarantor has been increased up to € 150 million. The maximum guarantee percentage has been increased from 50% up to 80% for large companies (public limited companies, nv) and up to 90% for SMEs. The GO(-C) guarantee ceiling has been raised up to € 10 billion.
- Qredits: Small firms are offered a six month delay in repayments of micro loans through Qredits, with interest rates lowered down to 2%.
- KKC: SMEs with relatively small financial needs are, under conditions, eligible for a bridging loan of up to € 50,000 under the Small Credits for Corona Guarantee Scheme (Klein Krediet Corona garantieregeling; KKC) with the State as guarantor for 95% of loan. The term of the loan is at most 5 years against an interest rate of max. 4%, with a one-time premium of 2%. This measure has a guarantee ceiling of € 713 million.
- Growth Facility Scheme: The Growth Facility Scheme, which makes it easier for SMEs to raise capital, will be extended by one year, to 1 July 2021.
- VVF and IK: Businesses who are using of the Proof-of-concept funding scheme (Vroegefasefinanciering; VFF) or the Innovation credit scheme (Innovatiekrediet; IK) are eligible for a suspension of repayments and interest payments. Loan and interest (re)payments start again on October 1, 2020.
- Export credit insurance: The government has extended the export credit insurance facility until the end of 2020.
- DTIF: The Dutch Trade and Investment Fund (DTIF) offers loans, guarantees and export financing, helping businesses take the next step towards achieving their international ambitions. Foreign companies are eligible when they meet various conditions.
- ETS: Due to the corona crisis the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (Rijksdienst voor Ondernemend Nederland; RVO) will start payments under the Indirect Emission Costs Subsidy Scheme ETS Emissions Trading Scheme) sooner than initially planned.
- TOGS: Under conditions and until June 26, 2020 a € 4,000 tax exempt reimbursement was granted to entrepreneurs in a number of specific sectors which have been hit by the coronavirus measures (TOGS). This measure has been replaced by the measure ‘Overhead Compensation SMEs’ (see below).
Overhead Compensation SMEs
- Because overhead is also a problem for many companies and organizations, the Government has introduced a new scheme, the Overhead Compensation SMEs (Tegemoetkoming Vaste Lasten mkb; TVL).
- This new compensation can be applied for by SME entrepreneurs working in sectors that qualify for the current TOGS scheme (Tax-exempt compensation for Entrepreneurs in Affected Sectors COVID-19; Tegemoetkoming Ondernemers Getroffen Sectoren COVID-19; TOGS).
- Depending on the size of the company, the amount of overhead and the degree of lost turnover (which must be at least 30%), eligible entrepreneurs will be compensated for their overhead up to a maximum of € 50,000 for four months. As is the case under the current TOGS scheme, this compensation will also be tax-exempt.
- The amount of fixed costs is formula based and, generally speaking, will be calculated on the basis of a fixed percentage of the turnover in the period June through September 2019.
- Applications for the TVL can be filed as of June 30, 2020 until October 30, 2020.
- The Dutch Customs has postponed its pending change that as of April 1, 2020, it will no longer be possible for a person not established in the European Union to be listed in Box 2 of the export declaration. As a result, a non-Union company is currently still allowed to be listed as exporter in the export declaration. This measure is effective until 15 days following the month in which the overall corona measures in the Netherlands are terminated.
- Dutch Customs will grant a postponement of payment on request, subject to certain conditions. This concerns import duties, including turnover tax, excise duties, consumption tax on alcohol-free beverages and coal tax (insofar as these taxes are levied in application of the customs regulations concerning imports). For customs debts incurred in June, tax payers can apply for a deferral until July 15, 2020.
- Further extension and/or phasing out of the abovementioned deferral arrangement will in part depend on agreement from the European Commission on legal possibilities and the feasibility of the deferral policy by Customs.
- Dutch Customs will show leniency toward companies that do not comply with customs obligations on time as a result of the corona crisis. If there is no violation, misdemeanor, willful misconduct and/or gross negligence, the Customs authorities will not impose a penalty.
- Companies can request for tailor-made solutions if they are unable to meet the solvency requirements of an AEO authorisation, the customs representative authorisation or the reduction or waiver of the guarantee under a comprehensive guarantee authorisation.
- The deadline for current applications for authorisations that cannot be properly completed due to the coronavirus will be suspended. If a company has applied for the authorisation electronically, it should register the extension in the European Application System ‘CDS’ (Customs Decisions System).
- Tailor-made solutions are available for companies that are in urgent need of a specific customs authorisation.
- As of May 26, 2020 an export authorisation is no longer needed for certain items of personal protection equipment (nose protection equipment, protective garments, and spectacles and visors for the protection of the eyes).
- Under certain conditions, a special exemption for the import of personal protective equipment applies.
- Companies can request for tailor-made solutions if they cannot meet the strict statutory deadlines, such as the submission of supplementary customs declarations (monthly declaration).
- Companies are advised to submit administrative appeals or refunds and emission requests on a pro-forma basis. Circumstances will be taken into account when statutory deadlines are missed.
- The failure to meet the statutory deadline for transit procedures as a result of the corona measures will be treated as an excusable delay.
Other measures and sources
- The Netherlands Enterprise agency offers a link with a FAQ section. It contains health-related information, but also information for employers on shortening working hours.
- Overall information provision to companies on the outbreak takes place via Chambers of Commerce.
Main sources of information
- Netherlands: Tax relief measures for businesses, response to coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Coronavirus: financial arrangements
- Apply online for special deferral of payment for 3 months
- Association of banks
- The coronavirus and your company: Dutch government measures to help businesses
Tax: Arco Verhulst – email@example.com
Restructuring: Ewald Van Hamersveld – firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal: Marieke Enneman – Enneman.Marieke@meijburglegal.com