Tax implications of the coronavirus crisis
Published on 30th Apr 2020
The Belgian tax authorities--mainly on the Federal level but also on Regional level--are acting quickly to support enterprises and individuals with their tax burden in the framework of the covid-19 crisis.
Support measures that apply automatically (i.e. without filing any request)
- VAT – automatic deferral of deadlines for for filing returns and deferral of payment deadlines by two months. Accelerated VAT refunds are available where certain conditions are met.
- Payroll/wage tax – automatic deferral of payment deadlines by two months.
- Other taxes – For taxes relating to the tax year 2019 - income 2018, established as of 12 March 2020, an additional payment period of two months is automatically granted beyond the normal payment deadline, for the payment of personal income tax, corporate income tax, legal entity income tax and non-resident income tax.
Support measures that can be applied for
- Requests for payment plans (excluding interest on arrears and fines) may be granted by the Belgian tax authorities in relation to payment of certain taxes owed as at 12 March 2020 (comprising withholding tax, VAT, personal income tax, corporate income tax and legal entities income tax).
- Applications can be submitted by any individual or legal entity having a business number with the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises, which is able to demonstrate that it is experiencing financial difficulties as a result of the coronavirus crisis. This measure is not available for undertakings which are in financial difficulty which is not due to the virus.
Impairment of trade receivables
The Belgian tax authority has confirmed that the COVID-19 crisis is a "special circumstance" which justifies the exemption of reductions in value on commercial receivables held on companies that are in arrears with payment of these receivables, resulting directly or indirectly from measures taken by the Federal Government.
Measures at the employer's expense
The Belgian tax authorities have permitted a (tax free) allowance of €126.94/month (at the employer's expense) all workers required to work from home as a consequence of measures taken against COVID-19.
Miscellaneous tax measures
- The Belgian tax authority has postponed non-essential on-site tax audits;
- The application of double taxation conventions between Belgium, France and Luxembourg has been temporally relaxed for cross-border workers;
- Enterprises will not have to pay VAT on donations of stocks of medical equipment to hospitals and health care institutions;
- Companies experiencing cash flow issues due to the crisis may be granted increased rates for advanced tax payments;
- Miscellaneous measures have been taken regarding customs and excise duties;
- Various measures have also been taken by the three Belgian Regions.