Overview of aid measures for businesses: Federal Government

Updated on Tuesday 31 March 2020 - 5pm 

1. Temporary corona unemployment regime based on force majeure: The Federal Government decided on Friday 20 March to implement one temporary corona unemployment regime based on force majeure. If an employer is faced with temporary unemployment due to the corona breakout, this is automatically considered as “force majeure. The“RVA” / “Onem” also simplified the administrative procedure. This exceptional regime is applicable until 5 April (but this can be extended if the government measures would be prolonged). More practical information can be found in our Q&A.

2. Social security contributions: A company can apply for an amicable repayment plan to the NSSO for the first and second quarter of 2020 (for a maximum period of 24 months) if the company is demonstrably affected economically by the COVID-19 virus and so it is difficult to pay social security contributions on time.

Such an application is made by means of an online application form (in Dutch or French).

Affected companies can also benefit from a postponement of payments due to the NSSO. More information can be found here.

Self-employed persons experiencing difficulties due to the coronavirus may have recourse to various measures that can be found here.

3. Fiscal measures: Companies and self-employed persons that can demonstrate that they are economically affected by the coronavirus can benefit from a repayment plan in the field of personal, corporate and legal person income tax, VAT and withholding tax, without any fines or interest on late payment.

Applications must be submitted by 30 June 2020 using the form available on the FPS FINANCE’s website. One application may be submitted per debt, which applies to all measures at the time of receipt of a notice of assessment or payment.

For the self-employed person, a reduction in advance payments may also be requested.

It is allowed to submit VAT, corporate and legal person tax declarations until 30 April 2020.

Automatic deferment of two months is granted for the payment of VAT and withholding tax to all companies, without conditions, penalties or interest on late payment.

Also for the payment of personal, corporate and legal person income tax, an additional period of 2 months will automatically be granted without charging late payment interests.

More information (in Dutch or French) can be found on the website of FPS Finance.

Finally, all those submitting VAT monthly returns - including those who do not have a monthly refund authorisation and who are not considered to be a 'starter' either - will, under certain conditions, be able to benefit from an accelerated refund of the VAT credit on their current account. More details are available here.

4. Replacement income for self-employed persons in their main occupation, as soon as the forced termination lasts more than one week. The financial assistance amounts to EUR 1,291.69 (without dependents) or EUR 1,614.10 (with dependents) per month.

Self-employed persons in a secondary occupation who owe provisional contributions that are at least equal to the minimum contributions for self-employed persons in their main occupation can also benefit.

More details are available here.

5. Flexibility in the execution of Federal government contracts: no fines or penalties for service providers/companies/independent workers if it is demonstrated that the delay/non-execution of such contracts is due to COVID-19.

6. Service providers to whom federal public procurement contracts have been awarded do not receive fines for delays in the execution of these contracts if they are affected by Covid-19. In addition, the authorities undertake to speed up the payment deadline for these contracts.

7. As far as the travel sector is concerned, in the event of cancellation of a package holiday, a voucher of equal value, valid for at least one year, will be granted.

8. As far as the hospitality sector is concerned, there will be flexibility in the application of "take away" (fiscal and FASFC - no new licence required for restaurants). Brasseries, in turn, will not be penalised in the event of under-consumption.

9. As far as the event sector is concerned, the tickets purchased are still valid if the event is postponed. If the consumer is unable to attend the event, sufficient time is provided for the refund.

  • As far as the agricultural and horticultural sector is concerned, the period of seasonal work will be doubled.

Do not hesitate to contact Hanne Baeyens for further information.

The above information is merely intended as comment on relevant issues of Belgian law and is not intended as legal advice. Before taking action or relying on the comments and the information given, please seek specific advice on the matters that are of concern to you.

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