The measures taken by the Belgian government to contain the Corona virus have far-reaching consequences for our society and the economy. In order to minimise the impact on companies and the self-employed, the government has developed a number of support measures. Because the information is continuously updated, we provide you with links to the official sites below. This way you will always have the most up-to-date information at your disposal:
- Specific Covid-19 site government: https://www.info-coronavirus.be/en/
- FPS Finances Covid-19 support measures (only available in Dutch, French and German): https://financien.belgium.be/nl/ondernemingen/steunmaatregelen-betreffende-het-coronavirus-covid-19 or https://finances.belgium.be/fr/entreprises/mesures-de-soutien-dans-le-cadre-du-coronavirus-covid-19 or https://finanzen.belgium.be/de/unternehmen/unterst%c3%bctzungsma%c3%9fnahmen-im-rahmen-des-coronavirus-covid-19
- Voka Covid-19 FAQ (only available in Dutch): https://www.voka.be/nieuws/coronavirus-de-meest-gestelde-vragen-over-de-impact-op-je-onderneming
- Flemish government on bridging law for the self-employed (only available in Dutch): https://www.vlaio.be/nl/subsidies-financiering/subsidiedatabank/overbruggingsrecht-voor-zelfstandigen-coronavirus
In summary, there are 10 measures that have already been taken:
1. + 2. Temporary unemployment due to force majeure + benefit increase
Temporary unemployment for reasons of force majeure will be extended by 3 months, until 30 June 2020. Temporary unemployment due to force majeure may also be invoked pending recognition as a 'company in difficulty'. Companies need this recognition to be able to put white-collar workers on temporary unemployment for economic reasons. The recognition of temporary unemployment due to force majeure will take place within three to four days. It is your social secretariat that can apply for this and follow this up. We can certainly assist you in this process, thanks to our specialised HR department, which is used to playing fast and loose with social secretariats. Benefits are temporarily increased from 65% to 70% in order to limit the loss of income. Please note that an employee who is in temporary unemployment can give notice without any form of notice.
3. Payment plan for employers' social security contributions
With regards to social security contributions for the first and second quarters of 2020, the COVID-19 issue will be accepted as a factor allowing amicable payment periods.
4. VAT payment plan
It will be possible to spread VAT payments and be exempted from the usual fines. This is on condition that the debtor demonstrates that the payment difficulties are related to COVID-19.
5. Payment plan for salary tax
It will also be possible to spread payments and be exempted from fines. Under the same condition.
6. Payment plan personal income tax/corporate tax
To the extent that it is demonstrated that the taxpayer has payment difficulties due to COVID-19, it is possible to request deferral of payment for personal and corporate income tax.
7. Reduction of the advance payment for self-employed persons
If, during the course of the year, the self-employed notice that their income is lower than the amount used to calculate their contribution, they can request a reduction in the contribution.
8. Postponement or exemption from payment of social security contributions for self-employed workers
For social security contributions for the first two quarters of the year 2020, the postponement for one year without interest on arrears and the exemption from payment of social security contributions shall be granted. Again on condition that there is a demonstrable link with COVID-19.
9. Obtaining a replacement income for self-employed persons (bridging right)
Under the same condition, self-employed persons in their main occupation are eligible for the bridging right on the grounds of forced cessation of the activity as soon as it lasts longer than one week. The financial support amounts to € 1266.37 per month without dependants and € 1582.46 with dependants. This can be requested from the institution of your personal social security contributions.
10. Flexibility in the execution of federal public contracts.
For all federal public contracts for which it is demonstrated that the delay or non-implementation is due to COVID-19, the federal State will not impose fines or sanctions on service providers, businesses or the self-employed.
We also experience the consequences of Covid-19 and try assist our clients with quality service. It is however possible that the response time will be a little longer in the coming weeks because of the many questions about the measures. However, do not hesitate to contact us by phone. We are fully technologically equipped to carry out our work from anywhere and to be reachable.
In order to do our bit, we will limit our client meetings in our offices as much as possible. As a digital office, Skype, VOIP, Zoom and others have no secrets for us so we will certainly find a way that is workable.
We have already found some creative solutions with clients to solve the possible disadvantages and limitations, if there are any questions don't hesitate to contact us. We are happy to think along with you for the best solutions in the short term.
Success in the coming challenging period!