In order to support businesses, employees and self-employed workers by preserving as many jobs as possible and mitigating the economic impact of the corona-crisis to the maximum extent, the Dutch government presented the impressive Emergency package to protect jobs and the economy (Dutch). This emergency package will be in place for at least three months. The government will keep a close eye on the developments and modify the measures as and when necessary.
This article explains the most important of the measures. The details of many of them have yet to be given shape. Rutgers & Posch’s Corona Knowledge Team will keep you abreast of the latest developments, such as the details of or changes to the emergency measures.
Visit rutgersposch.com/corona for the latest updates. We will also post information that is relevant for day-to-day business on that website.
Allowance for payroll costs
The government announced the introduction of the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure to Preserve Employment (Tijdelijke noodmaatregel overbrugging voor werkbehoud (‘NOW’)). This measure provides more support than the Short-Time Working Scheme, which scheme stopped being available with immediate effect last Tuesday, and will subsidize 90% of employers’ total payroll for at least 3 months. To be eligible for this allowance, employers must satisfy the following conditions:
- By applying for this allowance, employers undertake not to apply for dismissal of their employees on commercial grounds during the period in which they receive a payroll subsidy;
- Applicants must expect at least a 20% drop in sales calculated from 1 March 2020;
- Applications are for a period of 3 months, which can be extended once only by another 3 months;
The extent of the payroll allowance will depend on the drop in sales:
- if sales are down 100%, the allowance will be 90% of the total payroll;
- if sales are down 50%, the allowance will be 45% of the total payroll;
- if sales are down 25%, the allowance will be 22.5% of the total payroll.
Based on the application, the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen, ‘UWV’) will pay an advance of 80% of the expected allowance. The actual drop in sales will be established later and, where necessary, any differences will be settled then.
At present, no applications can be filed, as the details of the new scheme are still being determined. As soon as more information becomes available, we will publish it on rutgersposch.com/corona.
Financial support for self-employed workers
Many self-employed workers, including the solo self-employed, are facing an acute drop in income. They can make use of an expedited procedure to apply for supplemental maintenance payments for a period of 3 months. Maintenance payments supplement their income up to the social minimum and need not be repaid. This temporary support for self-employed persons is not subject to an assets or partner test.
The temporary scheme also provides for loans for operating capital at reduced interest rates to enable self-employed workers to continue their businesses.
Responsibility for administering this scheme lies with the municipal authorities. At present, this scheme is being given further shape so that it can be introduced in the short term. As soon as more information on this scheme becomes available, we will publish it on rutgersposch.com/corona.
Businesses can apply for extensions of their deadlines for paying personal income tax, corporate income tax, wage tax and VAT. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) will immediately stop the collection process as soon as an application is submitted.
Any default penalties imposed for not paying taxes on time will be cancelled with immediate effect. Effective 23 March 2020, the late payment interest rate for all tax liabilities will be temporarily reduced from 4% to 0.01%. Effective 1 June 2020, the interest rate on all other taxes will be temporarily set at 0.01%. The reduction of the interest rate on personal income tax will not take effect until 1 July 2020.
Businesses that expect to generate less income than projected as a result of the corona crisis can submit an application requesting a reduction of their provisional personal income tax or corporate income tax assessment. The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration will approve all requests, which will result in an immediate reduction of the tax burden for businesses. Where a provisional assessment is lower than the amount of tax that the business has already paid in the first months of the year, the difference will be paid to the business.
For more information on the tax measures, visit the website of the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration.
For SMEs that are essentially healthy, increased loans under the government-guaranteed scheme from 50% to 75% will be permitted. This will make it easier and quicker for banks to extend credit limits, which will enable SMEs to better deal with liquidity problems.
Businesses that are having difficulty obtaining bank loans and bank guarantees can make use of the Business Finance Guarantee Scheme (Garantie-Ondernemersfinanciering-regeling, or GO-regeling). As an emergency measure, the guarantee ceiling has been increased from EUR 400 million to EUR 1.5 billion. The maximum per business has temporarily been increased from EUR 50 million to EUR 150 million. This increase in scope will take effect within 1 week.
Agricultural and horticultural businesses can rapidly face liquidity problems because they are unable to sell their products, which will put pressure on the prices, or because perishable goods cannot be sold at all. To facilitate financing for liquidity problems, the guarantee for operating capital provided under the Government-Guarantee Scheme for Agricultural Loans to SMEs (Borgstelling MKB landbouwkredieten) will be temporarily increased with effect from 18 March 2020.
Dutch central bank reduces buffer requirement for banks
The financial sector plays a crucial role in the Dutch economy. To give banks extra room to cushion potential losses and to maintain the level of credit granted to businesses, the Dutch central bank, De Nederlandsche Bank, has temporarily reduced the risk buffers they must maintain. In addition, the introduction of a minimum floor for risk weighting mortgage loans has been postponed. The measures addressed here will continue to apply for as long as is necessary.
Visit rutgersposch.com/corona (Dutch) for the latest updates. We will also post information that is relevant for day-to-day business on that website.
If you have any questions, please contact one of the members of the Corona Knowledge Team. They keep a close eye on developments.