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COVID-19 (Coronavirus): Country Updates

Due to COVID-19, government authorities across the globe are introducing new measures relevant to employers and employees. It’s vital to stay informed of changes during these times.

We at Immedis are here to support in sharing relevant information as we all navigate this ever changing situation.

Country specific information has been arranged alphabetically by country name below so you can easily find the information that is relevant to you. The following updates relate to Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Netherlands, Sweden, UK and USA.

 

Denmark

Update: 03 April  2020
  • Companies who do not pay their A-tax or labor market contributions on 31 March 2020 and 14 April 2020 as a result of the current COVID-19 situation, and who arrange the payment immediately after it ceases, can apply to the Tax Board for exemption from interest payments and fees charged to A-tax and am-contributions. The application can be made along with the payment. 
  • Company’s disclosure deadlines for 2019 have been extended. More detailed information can be found HERE.

 

Update: 27 March 2020

The Danish Government announced the measures they will be taking to help businesses cope with COVID-19. Some key information points to note include:

  • April, May and June 2020 payment deadlines for A-tax and Labor Market Contributions is postponed by 4 months
  • April and May 2020 payment deadlines for B-tax is also postponed to 22 June 2020 and 21 December 2020 respectively.
  • VAT payments for March, April and May 2020 are also postponed with 30 days

 

CLICK HERE to see all information available in relation to Denmark.

 

Germany

Update: 26 March 2020

The Federal Ministry of Finance in Germany has announced a number of measures to assist businesses effected by COVID-19. These include:

  • Tax payment deferrals are in place for 2020 and can be applied for up until 31 December 2020
  • Adjustments to tax prepayments such as income tax and corporation tax can be requested
  • Enforcement measures for overdue tax payments will be suspended to the end of 2020

 

To read more on measures introduced, CLICK HERE.

 

Ireland

Update: 27 March 2020

Revenue have published a guide to assist employers, payroll operators, agents and other parties on how to operate the measures introduced in the Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme. CLICK HERE to view the complete guide.

 

Update: 26 March 2020

On March 24, Irish Revenue issued new measures to assist employers and employees who are experiencing difficulties due to the impact of COVID-19, including the following:

 

Temporary COVID-19 Wage Subsidy Scheme

Aiming at financially supporting employees whose income has been adversely effected, the scheme enables employees, whose employers are affected by the pandemic, to receive significant support directly from their employer through the payroll system. The scheme is expected to last 12 weeks from 26 March 2020.

The scheme will be available to employers who are in a position to keep employees on the payroll at this time, meaning employers can retain links with employees for when business picks up. In addition, the operation of the scheme will reduce the burden on the Department of Employment Affairs & Social Protection as they deal with other incoming COVID-19 related payments.

Some important points to note:

  • This replaces the previous COVID-19 Refund Scheme and significantly increases the support payment from the original support of €203 per employee per week
  • In general, the subsidy refunds qualifying employers up to 70% of the employee’s average net weekly pay (or equivalent for monthly or fortnightly pay frequencies) to a maximum of €410 per week, per employee
  • Employers should not pay more than the normal take-home pay
  • Employers should use the normal payroll processing to make payment to employees
  • The scheme is confined to employees who were on the employer’s payroll as at 29 February 2020, and for whom a payroll submission has already been made to Revenue in the period from 1 February 2020 to 15 March 2020

Employers must meet a number of criteria in order to qualify for the scheme including:

  • Be experiencing significant negative economic disruption due to COVID-19
  • Be able to demonstrate to Revenue a minimum of 25% decline in turnover
  • Be unable to pay normal wages and outgoings in full
  • Will retain employees on the payroll
  • Make best efforts to maintain a significant, or 100%, income for the period of the subsidy.

To read more about the scheme CLICK HERE.

 

Compliance of reporting and filing obligations and the satisfaction of other tax related conditions (Particularly relevant for companies with globally mobile workforce)

Guidance has been released in relation to compliance of certain reporting and filing obligations and the satisfaction of other tax related conditions. In all cases where restrictions imposed by COVID-19 affect the applicability of Irish tax legislation on an employee/employer’s tax position, records should be maintained outlining the circumstances and be made available to Revenue on request. Revenue guidance is available on the following:

  • Real-time foreign tax credit (FTC) for Restricted Stock Unit (RSU) cases
  • Share schemes filing obligations
  • Special Assignee Relief Programme (SARP)
  • Trans-Border Workers Relief
  • PAYE Dispensation Applications
  • Foreign Employments – Operation of PAYE
  • PAYE Exclusion Order – Irish Contract of Employment
  • Residence rules – Force Majeure circumstances
  • Benefit in Kind (BIK) including provision of working equipment and e-Working & Tax

Full details can be found HERE.

 

For all organizations with operations in Ireland, CLICK HERE to see all COVID-19 related information and advice available from the Irish Revenue.

 

Netherlands

Update: 26 March 2020

Moving to the Netherlands a number of measures have been put in place as stated by Business.gov.nl.

Most notably, the Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW-Scheme), which is aimed at supporting employers in paying their employees. This scheme replaces the unemployment benefit during short-time working (wtv) and wage claim compensation will be dependent on the turnover loss. At the moment, this scheme will be available for a 3-month period and may be extended upon review.

Specific to tax, a number of measures have also been introduced including an extension in relation to the payment of income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax, and turnover tax (VAT) as well as no late payment fines for late payment.

 

CLICK HERE to find more information on measures in place in the Netherlands.

 

Sweden

Update: 03 April 2020

The government will shortly present the proposals in the Sprint Update of the Budget. These are expected to include:  

  • As it is anticipated that unemployment will rise significantly, unemployment insurance will be adapted meaning that the criteria as to who would be entitled to unemployment benefits will be temporarily relaxed. In addition, the amounts payable will be increased 
  • Increased funding to be paid to the Swedish public employment service and labor market policy programs
  • The income cap for student aid will be temporarily waived so that health and medical students specifically can assist in the health care without their student aid being reduced.  

 CLICK HERE to read more. 

 

Update: 27 March 2020

The Government Offices of Sweden has announced the following to support employers and employees during this time:

 

Crisis package for Swedish businesses and jobs:

The Government intends to cover a major part from the employers’ costs in their aim to ensure employees retain their jobs and the employers remain in business. They will also be covering the entire cost of all sick pay during April and May. You can read more about the crisis package HERE.

Small and medium-sized businesses:

Temporary reduction of employers’ social security contributions and individual contributions has been proposed for the period from 01 March to 30 June 2020 provided that the employee and employer meet relevant conditions. You can read more about support in place for SME’s HERE.

Riksbank

In addition to the Government’s measures, the Riksbank has announced that it is loaning up to SEK 500 billion to companies via the banks to preserve credit supply. Finansinspektionen, the Swedish financial supervisory authority, has announced that it is lowering the counter-cyclical capital buffer to zero to uphold a well-functioning credit supply.

 

 

United Kingdom

Update: 03 April 2020

Employee expenses 

This information is relevant both for employees who are working from home because their usual workplace has closed, and for those who are following advice to self-isolate. However, it is not relevant to those workers eligible for the Job Retention Scheme.

HMRC has advised that the following will be treated as non-taxable benefits for employees: 

  • Provision of a single mobile phone and SIM card per employee (even where there is no restriction on private use)
  • Provision of laptops, tablets, computers and office supplies where they are mainly used for business purposes with no significant private use
  • Payment of up to £4 a week (£6 a week from 6 April 2020) to cover additional household expenses whilst working from home
  • Payment of approved mileage allowance payments
  • Reimbursement of broadband costs, but only where:
    – a broadband connection is needed
    – the employee did not have one already; and
    – private use is limited.

The guidance also sets out that: 

  • Reimbursement of expenses for office equipment that an employee has bought, or hotel and subsistence costs if an employee needs to self-isolate away from their home, are taxable 
  • A salary advance or loan to an employee count 

 

Update: 27 March 2020

Support for self-employed through self employment income support scheme 

Self-employed individuals will be able to claim a taxable grant worth 80% of their trading income subject to a cap at £2,500 per month for the coming three months. The period might be extended depending on the development of the current situation. 

 

Update: 26 March 2020

The UK’s Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy have released guidance on GOV.UK pertaining to support in place for employers and employees effected by COVID-19. Key information shared includes:

  • Deferral of VAT payment until 30 June 2020 and Income Tax payments due 31 July 2020 deferred until 31 January 2021. Both are automatically instated with no application required.
  • The Bank of England is supporting larger organizations and will buy short-term debt dependent on business eligibility as determined by the bank.
  • The time to pay scheme offers support for a business or individual currently unable to pay their tax bill due to COVID-19. You should contact HMRC at 0800 0159 559 to discuss such situations.

 

Situations that are considered as “exceptional circumstances” for UK tax residence purposes

The guidance states that the following will be considered “exceptional circumstances” for UK residence purposes:

  • If the individual is quarantined or advised by a health professional or public health guidance to self-isolate in the UK as a result of the virus
  • If the individual is advised by official Government advice not to travel from the UK as a result of the virus
  • If the individual is unable to leave the UK as a result of the closure of international borders
  • If the individual is asked by their employer to return to the UK temporarily as a result of the virus

It should be noted, however, that “exceptional circumstances” days can be disregarded for certain parts of the UK Statutory Residency Test only.

For more detailed information, please refer to HMRC’s guidance HERE

 

For full information on all support available to UK businesses CLICK HERE.

 

United States of America 

Update: 26 March 2020

Moving over to the USA, there has been a number of measures put in place to support business through these unforeseen circumstances. Notable updates include:

 

The IRS is to provide COVID-19 relief by postponing the April 15 2020 tax return filing and balance due payment deadline by 90 days for all taxpayers

On March 20, 2020, the IRS issued Notice 2019-18 that superseded and expanded the scope of previously issued Notice 2018-17. The effect of the notice is that all income tax returns that are usually due on April 15 can be filed by July 15 without being subject to late filing penalties. The notice also removed the previously announced balance due threshold of $1,000,000 for individual and $10,000,000 for corporate taxpayers.

Application to individual and corporate taxpayers:

The federal relief applies to individual and corporate taxpayers whose 2019 income tax returns are typically due on April 15. In addition to filing their tax returns by July 15, the taxpayers are also allowed to delay until July 15 the payment of their 2019 income tax liability as well as the 2020 1st quarterly estimated tax payment. The delay applies to all taxpayers regardless of their balance due.

However, at this stage there is no specific guidance that the 90-day delay applies to the 2020 2nd quarterly instalment payment which is still due on June 15 2020.

Further clarification of the filing and payment deadlines:

The tax preparers’ community raised a number of questions since the announcement of IRS Notice 2019-18. In response to those questions, the IRS created a Questions and Answers webpage on their website where they clarified a number of details. CLICK HERE to view.

State tax conformity:

It is expected that most States will conform to the federal legislation. However, currently only a handful of States have actually announced their position. The American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) is actively monitoring the States’ formal position on conformity.  An up-to-date chart detailing each individual State’s position can be found HERE.

 

Country specific information is changing in line with this ever evolving situation and the team here at Immedis are updating this information as much as is possible. Be sure to check back for the latest information available to us.

 

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