26 March 2020
Due to the negative financial impact that the Coronavirus pandemic is having on businesses all over the world, a number of tax authorities have implemented emergency VAT measures to try to help affected businesses. Please see below for a summary of these measures.
Last updated: 26/03/2020
The Australian tax office (ATO) have passed urgent Goods and Services Tax (GST) measures that will allow businesses:
- In a regular GST refund position to apply to switch from quarterly to monthly filings to accelerate GST refunds.
- With cash flow difficulties to apply for deferred payment schedules with the ATO, as well as relief from late GST payments, penalties and interest liabilities.
The Austrian tax authorities have announced that they will allow applications to postpone VAT payments or will accept payment via instalments. They also confirmed that they will allow companies to apply for reductions and waivers of late payment interest, if the payment was late due to the impact of the Coronavirus outbreak.
UPDATE: The Austrian tax authorities have extended the deadline for the submission of the 2019 annual VAT return until the 31st August 2020 for both paper and online submissions.
The Belgian tax authorities have introduced extensions to VAT return submission deadlines.
For companies in a payable position:
- The February 2020 VAT returns and EC Sales Listings – deadline postponed from 20 March 2020 to 6 April 2020.
- March 2020/Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar 2020) VAT returns and EC sales lists – deadline postponed from 20 April 2020 to 7 May 2020.
For companies who are in a refundable position, the extension of the VAT return filing deadline will be from the 20 to 24 of the month following the VAT return period.
The have also introduced extensions to the following VAT return payment deadlines:
- The February 2020 VAT returns and EC Sales Listings – deadline postponed from 20 March 2020 to 20 May 2020.
- March 2020/Quarter 1 (Jan to Mar 2020) VAT returns and EC sales lists – deadline postponed from 20 April 2020 to 20 June 2020.
As well as the above measures, they have also confirmed that businesses can also apply for a payment plan if they are struggling to settle VAT debts. This application will allow additional payment periods, and mean an exemption from default interest and/or fines for late payment.
The Canadian Revenue Agency announced that due to the Coronavirus crisis, they will suspend any ongoing investigations, assessments or audits with taxpayers and their agents.
The Croatian tax authorities announced that due to the Coronavirus crisis, they will allow VAT registered businesses to apply to delay their VAT liabilities due in April to July 2020. There will be no penalties or late interest charges applied in regards to the deferred payments, and the VAT return deadline of the 25 April will remain the same.
The Cypriot government has confirmed that it is likely to abandon the planned cut to its VAT rate from 19% to 17%. They are instead planning to introduce VAT payment holidays for small businesses.
The Czech tax authorities have passed urgent VAT measures that will:
- Allow businesses to apply for five-day delays on their VAT payments in the country.
- Delay the submission deadline for control statements until 1 July 2020.
- Automatically waive penalties up to a value of CZK 1,000, issued for the late filing of control statements during the period 1 March to 31 July 2020.
- Allow businesses to apply to waiver any other penalties incurred for the late submission of either the control statements or the VAT return as a result of the coronavirus.
On 17 March 2020, the Danish parliament announced:
- Monthly VAT payments due for VAT return periods between March and May 2020 will be postponed for one month.
- Quarterly VAT returns for the first and second quarter of 2020 can be merged into one VAT submission/payment due on 1 September 2020.
- Biannual VAT returns for the first and second half of 2020 can be merged into one VAT return due on 1 March 2021.
These changes apply to both non-established and established businesses, and it is still possible to submit VAT returns by the original deadline if companies are in a VAT refundable position.
The Estonian Tax and Customs Board have announced that they would offer businesses the possibility to delay VAT payments until 1 May 2020.
The Finnish tax office has passed urgent VAT measures that will allow businesses affected by the Coronavirus to apply:
- For late payment penalties and interest to be waived on overdue VAT payments.
- For VAT payment postponements and payment plans, where they are experiencing cash flow difficulties.
The French tax authorities announced that:
- Businesses can apply for a suspension of their tax payments due in March 2020.
- There is an automatic extension to the 30-day deadline to answer information requests made by the tax authorities.
On 13 March 2020, the German tax authorities announced that they would offer businesses the possibility to apply for delayed VAT payments.
UPDATE: Germany has updated its VAT deferment offer during the COVID-19 crisis, with businesses now being able to apply for delays on VAT payments until 31 December 2020.
On 11 March 2020, the Greek government introduced the following measures:
- Special extensions of the deadline for VAT payments.
- Suspension of the collection of VAT debts for businesses affected by the Coronavirus pandemic.
More details and measures are expected to be announced shortly.
The Hungarian tax authorities announced that due to the Coronavirus crisis, they will allow businesses to apply for VAT payment deferrals. However, there will be a HUF10,000 (approx. £25) administrative fee for the tax office to process this application.
On 13 March 2020, the Irish Revenue announced that small and medium-sized businesses experiencing cash flow difficulties would not have interest applied on late VAT payments, for the current VAT return period of January and February 2020. Please click here for the full Irish Revenue press release.
On 13 March 2020, the Italian Ministry of Finance announced:
- All VAT payments due by 16 March 2020 will be postponed to 20 March 2020. It is not yet confirmed if this will apply to non-resident businesses registered in Italy.
- Small businesses with an annual turnover of less than €2million will be able to postpone their VAT payments until 31 May 2020.
- All annual VAT declarations will be postponed until the 31 May 2020.
- Businesses can apply for a five-month payment plan.
The Luxembourg tax office has announced that there will be no penalties levied for the late filing of VAT returns until further notice.
The Maltese tax office has announced that they will allow businesses to apply for a VAT payment holiday relating to the payments owed for March and April 2020 VAT returns. They also confirmed that the VAT refund process in the country will be accelerated.
Update: The Maltese Commission of Revenue has now also delayed the filing and payment deadlines for VAT. Most taxpayers have been given an additional month for the next two VAT reporting quarters.
The Netherlands government confirmed that any business experiencing cash flow difficulties as a result of the Coronavirus can apply to tax authorities to defer their VAT payment. The application should be made in writing and once received, the collection of any VAT due will be put on hold.
Update: The Dutch tax authorities have also confirmed that extra VAT relief on customer bad debts will be granted if related to the crisis, and they will allow businesses in a regular VAT refund position to move from quarterly VAT returns to monthly returns to improve cash flow.
The Norwegian government has announced an extension to the VAT payment deadline for the term one (Jan to Feb) 2020 VAT return. The deadline has now been extended from 10 April to 10 June 2020. The VAT return submission deadline remains the same.
The Norwegian government also confirms the reduced VAT rate of 12% will be cut to 8%. This usually applies to public transport, cinema, sporting and cultural events.
The Polish Ministry of Finance has announced that they will allow applications to postpone VAT payments or would accept payment via instalments for any businesses affected by the Coronavirus. They also stated that further details will be announced in due course.
The Portuguese tax authorities have introduced a scheme for businesses with a turnover of less than €10million per annum. This scheme will allow businesses with either a monthly or quarterly VAT return period to apply to make payments of their second-quarter VAT return ( April to June 2020) in either:
- Three-monthly payments without interest charge; or
- Six-monthly payments, including late interest on the final three instalments.
The Romanian Ministry of Finance has announced VAT and other tax easements as a result of the Coronavirus outbreak. These include:
- All VAT and tax audits postponed.
- The 25 March 2020 deadline for the February 2020 VAT return has been delayed until 25 April 2020.
On 16 March 2020, the Slovakian Ministry of Finance proposed the following measures:
- Extension of the filing deadline for VAT returns for all taxpayers from 25 March 2020 to 30 June 2020.
- Extension of deadline for VAT payments.
- Exemption from penalties for late payments of taxes.
On 13 March 2020, the Spanish government announced that:
- All tax office deadlines relating to enquiries, information requests, appeals and audits will be postponed until further notice. Delays will also apply to VAT and company number registrations in the country.
- Small to medium-sized businesses with a turnover of up to €6million will be able to apply for deferral of VAT return payments owed between 13 March and 30 May 2020. This will only apply to VAT payments below an amount of €30,000 and these can be deferred for up to six months with the first three months being interest-free.
Details on the tax office announcement and how to apply for the deferral can be found here.
The Swiss tax authorities will allow businesses affected by the Coronavirus to apply for:
- Deferral of their VAT payments with no interest charged.
- Late penalty interest relief for VAT and customs duty payments.
The Swedish government have announced that they intend to offer businesses the possibility to apply for delayed VAT payments. This should be introduced by 7 April 2020, and the deferral period may last up to one year.
United Kingdom (UK)
On 11 March 2020, the UK Government included a COVID-19: Support for Business section on their website. This introduces a number of temporary measures, including the ability to apply for special payment arrangements for VAT owed. Please click here to see HMRC’s guidance in full.
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