30 July 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.
July 29: Croatia to reduce the VAT rate to 13% on foodstuff
July 29: Greece to reduce the VAT rate on music books and sports event admission
July 29: Ireland to temporarily reduce the VAT rate from September 2020
23 March: 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.
17 April: The Australian Tax Office confirmed that they will offer Goods and Services Tax (GST) relief for GST registered companies importing goods into Australia. This measure will allow importers to apply for the GST deferral scheme, which will allow them to avoid making cash payments of GST when clearing goods into the country. Instead, the import GST amounts will be postponed to the GST returns and will be entered in the same way as a reverse charge transaction.
20 March: 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.
25 March: The Austrian tax authorities have extended the deadline for the submission of the 2019 annual VAT return until the 31 August 2020 for both paper and online submissions.
17 April: The Austrian Ministry of Finance announced that supplies of respirator masks shall be temporarily zero-rated. The reduction of the VAT rate from 20% to 0% shall be applicable to supplies carried out between 13 April 2020 and 1 August 2020.
30 April: The Austrian tax authorities confirmed that they will postpone all VAT audits during the coronavirus crisis.
20 March: 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.
15 April: The Belgium tax authorities have confirmed that the April VAT return payment deadline has been extended to 20 July 2020.
17 April: The Belgium tax authorities have confirmed that the April VAT return submission deadline has been extended to 5 June 2020. This follows the extension to the payment deadline to 20 July 2020.
11 May: The Belgian tax authorities have announced that the VAT rate on imports of face masks and hydro-alcoholic gels will be reduced from 21% to 6%. This will apply from 4 May 2020 to 31 December 2020.
24 March: 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.
30 March: The following measures have been implemented:
- The Canadian Revenue Agency confirmed that all monthly and quarterly Goods & Services Tax (GST) returns and payments for the periods of March, April and May are postponed until 30 June 2020. There will be no penalties or late interest charged for these late filings and payments.
- Quebec Sales Tax (QST) filings and payments for March, April and May will be postponed until 30 June 2020. There will be no penalties or late interest charged.
- The province of Ontario has waived interest and fines on a range of Provincial Sales Tax (PST) until 31 August 2020.
- The province of Manitoba has announced that small businesses may apply to postpone their retail sales tax payments by up to two months.
- The Canadian province of British Columbia will allow businesses to apply to postpone filings and payments of Provincial Sales Tax (PST) owed from 23 March.
9 April: Saskatchewan is allowing monthly and quarterly Provincial Sales Tax (PST) payers to delay paying their February, March and April tax payments until 31 July. This is on an automatic basis with no application required. PST returns must still be submitted on time.
26 March: 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.
17 April: The Croatian tax office has confirmed that businesses can only apply for deferral of their VAT payments if they have experienced a 20% drop in revenue or more.
20 March: 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.
30 March: The Cypriot government has confirmed the following VAT measures to help businesses cope with the COVID-19 epidemic, including:
- No penalties or interest applied on February, March and April VAT returns. However, these returns must still be filed on by the submission deadline of one month and 10 days after the period of the VAT return.
- A delay in sending out penalties for late VAT payments.
31 March: The Cypriot tax office has confirmed that VAT payments are delayed until 10 November 2020.
11 May: The Cypriot tax office has confirmed that businesses importing certain medical supplies used during the coronavirus outbreak can import these goods without paying import duty and VAT.
23 March: 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.
17 March: 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.
23 April: The Danish tax authorities confirmed that small taxpayers with a turnover of less than DKK 50 million (£5.8million) may request a refund of the VAT paid on 2019 VAT returns (with a deadline of 2 March 2020) as an interest-free loan.
24 March: The Estonian Tax and Customs Board have announced that they would offer businesses the possibility to delay VAT payments until 1 May 2020.
30 April: The Estonian tax authorities confirmed that there will be no late payment surcharges levied if taxes are paid late during the period of March and April 2020. They also announced that businesses can apply to make payments by instalment for any VAT liability owed over the next 18 months.
23 March: 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.
28 April: The Finnish tax authorities confirmed that businesses may request a refund of the VAT they paid during 2020 as a loan. The interest rate charged when paying back this loan will be 3%.
11 May: The Finnish tax authorities have now confirmed that late VAT payments could incur reduced late interest charges of 4%. This is instead of the normal 7% rate and will be in place until 31 August 2020.
20 March: The French tax authorities announced that there is an automatic extension to the 30-day deadline to answer information requests made by the tax authorities.
9 April: France has confirmed that VAT incurred on certain medical goods given by French VAT registered businesses as gifts to medical facilities during the coronavirus crisis can be claimed back in full. This applies to masks, hand sanitizers, protective clothes and ventilators.
15 April: The French tax office is now offering the following discounts to businesses affected by the coronavirus outbreak, these apply on VAT payments owed for the next two months’ VAT returns:
- March 2020 VAT return due on 19 April 2020 - Businesses can apply to pay 80% of the VAT owed on the previously submitted February 2020 VAT return, instead of the amount owed on the March 2020 return. Severely affected businesses who can demonstrate a drop of 50% or more in revenue can apply for a further discount and only pay 50% of the VAT paid on the February 2020 VAT return.
- April 2020 VAT return due on 19 May – Businesses can apply for the above discounts to be applied, and again the calculations will be based on the February 2020 VAT return.
Once the coronavirus pandemic has ended, businesses who used the above discounts will need to submit adjustment returns to report the actual VAT due for the March and April periods.
11 May: France has extended the deadline for non-EU businesses to submit their non-EU (13 Directive) refund claims to 30 September 2020.
13 March: The German tax authorities announced that they would offer businesses the possibility to apply for delayed VAT payments.
24 March: 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.
9 April: The German tax office confirmed that the 2019 annual VAT return deadline is now postponed until 31 May 2020. They also confirmed that affected businesses can apply for the standard one month deferment of their VAT returns and payment deadlines in the country, without having to pay any deposit to the tax authorities.
11 May: The German tax authorities have confirmed the VAT rate on the supply of catering food services will be reduced from the standard rate of 19% to the reduced rate of 7%. This will apply from 1 July 2020 until 30 June 2021 and will only apply to the supply of food, not to the supply of beverages.
11 March: 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.
30 March: The Greek government has confirmed several further tax measures to help businesses cope with the COVID-19 epidemic, including:
- A VAT rate cut on critical medical products to be used during the epidemic, from 24% to 6%.
- The ability for Greek businesses with any VAT payments owed up until 30 April to apply to postpone these to 31 August 2020.
26 March: 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.
23 April: Subject to thresholds being met, the Hungarian tax office has implemented a special tax on retailers during the coronavirus crisis. This tax is applicable for all retailers selling and delivering goods in Hungary which includes retailers selling online.
28 April: The Hungarian tax office has confirmed that they accelerate the VAT refund process for small and medium-sized businesses in the country.
13 March: 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.
30 March: The Irish Revenue has announced that:
- No interest or penalties will be applied on late VAT payments made by small businesses (with an annual turnover of up to €3million) relating to the January-February VAT return. Larger companies may also be able to avoid penalties for the same period but will have to make an application to the Irish tax office to be considered.
- No enforced debt collection will be carried out during the coronavirus crisis.
- Businesses severely affected by the crisis can contact them to negotiate payment terms of any VAT amounts due.
23 April: The Irish tax office has confirmed that the zero rate of VAT can be applied to supplies of medical equipment (including personal protection equipment (PPE), thermometers, hand sanitizers, oxygen and medical ventilators) to medical facilities in the country.
11 May: The Irish Revenue have confirmed that they will freeze tax debts or implement long-term repayment plans with no interest charged for businesses that have been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
13 March: The Italian Ministry of Finance announced the following measure for resident businesses:
- 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.
Non-resident VAT payers have not been provided with delays on VAT returns or payments.
15 April: The Italian tax authorities have announced payment delays on VAT returns for the periods April and May 2020 until 30 June. Resident businesses that wish to take advantage of this deadline extension will need to apply to the tax office and demonstrate that they have been severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak.
11 May: Italy has extended the deadline for both periodic VAT returns and annual VAT returns to 30 June. This also applies to non-established businesses.
30 March: The Lithuanian tax office has announced that they will allow applications to postpone VAT payments for up to one year for any businesses affected by the coronavirus. There will be no penalties or late interest charges applied in regards to the deferred payments.
They also confirmed that businesses experiencing extreme cash flow difficulties can also apply to write-off all outstanding VAT debts owed to the tax authorities.
20 March: The Luxembourg tax office has announced that there will be no penalties levied for the late filing of VAT returns until further notice.
9 April: The Luxembourg tax authorities have announced that due to the coronavirus crisis, they will grant VAT payment deadline extensions upon request.
17 April: The deadlines for the February to June 2020 Intrastat reports are being extended by up to two weeks.
28 April: The Luxembourg tax authorities have stated that due to the coronavirus crisis, they will suspend all penalties on delayed VAT filings in the country.
12 May: The Luxembourg tax authorities are now revoking the suspension of penalties for delayed VAT filings during the coronavirus crisis, and are contacting companies to ask that they submit any outstanding VAT returns as a matter of urgency.
23 March: 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.
26 March: 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.
20 March: 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.
24 March: 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.
30 March: The New Zealand tax office has announced that there will be no penalties levied for the late filing of Goods and Service Tax (GST) returns until further notice. They also stated that companies severely affected by the coronavirus outbreak can apply to cancel any late GST payment penalties received.
11 May: Companies can apply to the New Zealand tax office to change GST reporting periods, filing deadlines, payment deadlines or audits. This is only open to businesses who are severely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic and will be in effect until 30 September 2020.
20 March: 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.
30 March: The Norwegian government has confirmed a further cut of their reduced VAT rate of 12%, to 6%. This rate usually applies to public transport, cinema, sporting and cultural events.
9 April: The Norwegian tax authorities have confirmed that the new Standard Audit Files for Tax (SAF-T) file regime applicable to all businesses can be postponed upon application.
20 March: 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.
31 March: In addition to the VAT measures outlined previously, the Polish tax authorities have also confirmed that interest normally charged on the VAT debts will be temporarily abolished.
23 March: The Portuguese tax authorities have introduced a scheme for businesses with a turnover of less than €10million per annum. This scheme will allow businesses to apply to make payments of their monthly February and March VAT returns, or 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.
30 April: The February monthly VAT returns due on 10 April are now due on 17 April, with the associated payment deadline is extended by five days to 20 April. No late filing penalties or payment interest charges will be applied on these extensions.
11 May: The April and May monthly VAT returns due in the country on 12 June and 12 July respectively are now due on 18 June and the 18 July. The associated payment deadlines are extended to the 25 day of the month of delivery of the return. No late filing penalties or payment interest charges will be applied on these extensions.
16 March: 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.
30 March: The Slovak Ministry of Finance is proposing a two-month extension of the VAT payment deadline date for February, March and April payments. There will also be no interest or penalties issued for the late filing of VAT returns for these periods.
13 March: 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. These can be deferred for up to six months with the first three months being interest-free.
9 April: Companies with a turnover below €6million can apply to defer import VAT and customs duties for up to six months. The amounts that they can defer is capped at €30,000 and no interest charges will be applied on the deferred amounts.
24 March: 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.
9 April: The Swiss tax office has confirmed that businesses importing some medical goods including masks, examination gloves, protective clothing/glasses and some disinfectants during the coronavirus outbreak can import these goods without paying import duty and VAT.
United Kingdom (UK)
11 March: 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.
30 March: The UK tax authorities have confirmed the following additional measures:
- The postponement of all VAT payments due within the period 20 March to 30 June 2020. The deferred VAT for these periods must then be paid either on or before 31 March 2021. This deferment will also apply to non-resident (foreign) companies with UK VAT registrations and no interest will accrue on postponed VAT.
- The postponement of the “Making Tax Digital for VAT” electronic recordkeeping and digital links from 1 April 2020 to 1 April 2021.
- The setting up of a telephone support line for businesses concerned about meeting VAT payment deadlines due to the coronavirus COVID-19 outbreak.
1 April: The UK tax office has confirmed that businesses importing medical supplies, equipment and protective garments from non-EU countries during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak can import these goods without paying import duty and VAT. Please click here for further information on how affected businesses can apply.
15 April: Businesses can apply to HMRC to delay payment on monthly import VAT and duty payments using deferment accounts.