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Tax Insights April 2020 - Corona: Regional support premiums for companies

Due to the current COVID-19 outbreak (coronavirus), several support measures were put into place, and this on a federal, as well as on a regional level. 

We hereby wish to inform you with regards to the corona support premiums that the different regions have implemented. Here below you can find the measures as applicable in the Flemish Region, the Walloon Region and Brussels Region. 

FLEMISH REGION  

Within the Flemish Region, companies can benefit from a nuisance premium or a compensation premium, in case certain conditions are met.  

1. Nuisance premium 

Are you entitled to the Flemish nuisance premium? 

Companies located in the Flemish Region that are obliged to shut down due to the imposed restrictions by the Belgian government, can benefit from the corona nuisance premium. 

An overview of the companies that are obliged to close, can be found here. For the hospitality sector (restaurants, cafes, etc.), it is sufficient that the consumption area has been closed, even if the business still provides take-away service, to benefit from the nuisance premium. 

Companies that have been forced to shut down but proceed with, or start setting-up online sales, are also entitled to this premium. 

Note that businesses that have decided to shut down voluntarily, are not entitled to this premium.

In order to benefit from this premium, certain conditions must be met:

  • It should concern a company with legal personality, or a foreign company registered in Belgium with a similar status, with at least 1 active associate or employing at least 1 FTE registered for social security purposes. 
  • It concerns self-employed workers with a main profession, or with a secondary profession in case social security payments are contributed as in a main profession, based on the net taxable income.   
  • It concerns a (non-profit) organization that employs at least 1 FTE registered for social security purposes.
  • The company should have an active status within the Crossroad bank for Enterprises (therefore the premium is not applicable in case of bankruptcy, liquidation, dissolution, etc.). 
  • The company has an active place of exploitation or business within the Flemish Region. In order to benefit from the corona nuisance premium, it is necessary that it concerns a shop or a physical place of business, which is accessible for the public and where clients were already welcomed, before the mandatory closing obligations. For instance, a personal trainer that offers his services remotely and does not exploit his own accommodation, is not entitled to the nuisance premium.  

In principle each company is entitled to one premium based on the company number. In case the company has multiple places of exploitation or business, the number of premiums is limited to five premiums per company, to the extent that at least 1 FTE (registered for social security purposes) is employed per additional place of exploitation or business. Should the company be entitled to multiple nuisance premiums, only one application must be registered. 

What is the amount of the premium and which application procedure should be followed?

For the mandatory shutdown period until 5 April 2020 a one-off premium amounting to 4.000 EUR is granted. From 6 April 2020 onwards, until the end of the mandatory shutdown measures, a fixed amount of 160 EUR per shutdown day is applicable, for each day that coincides with a regular opening day. Note that for said daily premium no additional application must be registered in case the company was already entitled to the nuisance premium. 

The corona nuisance premium can only be applied for via an online application. A manual can be found here. Before starting with the registration, you should have the following information at your disposal: 

  • Belgian e-ID, card-reader and code or other digital key. 
  • Belgian bank account number. 
  • Regular opening days of the company, as they were before the corona measures. 
  • A link to the website of the company. 

The application should be filed within 30 calendar days following the mandatory closing period. Subject to changes, this implies that the application should be registered, by 19 May 2020 at the very latest. 

The competent Minister of Finance has confirmed that the corona nuisance premium will be exempt from corporate income tax. 

Is it possible to combine the nuisance premium with other support measures? 

The nuisance premium can be combined with other support measures, as the bridging allowance for independents. 

2. Compensation premium

Are you entitled to the Flemish compensation premium? 

Companies located in the Flemish Region that are not obliged to shut down following the imposed corona restrictions, and are suffering heavy losses, can benefit from this compensation premium.

The companies must prove that they are experiencing a decrease in revenue of at least -60%, during the timeframe from 14 March 2020 until 30 April 2020, in comparison with the same period last year. Companies in various business branches are eligible to this premium, a.o. event sector, service providers, painters or plumbers that can only perform urgent repairs. 

Companies that are obliged to shut down, are not entitled to the compensation premium, however for said companies we refer to the nuisance premium as described above.   

In order to benefit from this premium, certain conditions must be met:

  • The company should be located in the Flemish Region and not obliged to shut down. 
  • Should concern independents in a main profession or with a secondary profession, who contribute social security payments similar to a main profession.
  • Independents with a secondary profession who have an income between 6.996,89 EUR and 13.993,78 EUR are eligible to a reduced premium (see below for more details). This reduced premium also applies to independents with a secondary profession who are forced to shut down, however is not applicable for independents who combine their secondary profession, with a job as an employee with a contract of 80% or more. 
  • A reduced revenue of at least -60% in comparison to the same period last year should be proven, with the reference period being 14 March 2020 – 30 April 2020. Most likely, the authorities will accept a sworn declaration with regards to the -60% revenue decrease – and verify this decrease in a later stage.
  • For start-ups the -60% revenue decrease will be compared to the drafted financial plan. 
  • Non-profit organizations that employ at least 1 FTE are also eligible to the premium. 
  • It is not necessary to have a physical place of business. 

In principle each company is entitled to one premium based on the company number. In case the company has multiple places of exploitation or business, the number of premiums is limited to five premiums per company. 

What is the amount of the premium and which application procedure should be followed?

The compensation premium amounts to 3.000 EUR for independents in a main profession, or independents with a secondary profession that contribute social security payments similar to a main profession. The compensation premium is a one-off premium.

For independents with a secondary profession a reduced premium of 1.500 EUR is applicable.

The compensation premium can only be applied for via an online application, that is currently being developed. As a result, it is also not clear yet which supporting documents should be included in the application. 

WALLOON REGION

Similar to the Flemish Government, the Walloon Government has decided to grant, under certain conditions, a lump-sum allowance to self-employed workers and companies that are completely closed or that have stopped their activities as a result of the measures taken against the spread of COVID-19.  

Are you entitled to the lump-sum allowance?

Certain conditions must be respected in order to benefit from the lump-sum allowance: 

  • You are a natural person who carries out a professional activity as a main activity or in a secondary profession, who pays social contributions as independent, or, 
  • You are a small company or a very small company. This implies the following:  
    • The workforce does not exceed 50 full time employees.
    • The annual turnover or the balance sheet total does not exceed 10.000.000 EUR.
    • The company cannot be held at 25% or more than 25% by another company or by several companies. 
  • You belong to the following sectors : catering (NACE code 56, except for 56.102), accommodation (NACE code 55), travel agencies, tour operators, booking offices and related activities (NACE code 79), retail trade (NACE code 47, except for 47.20, 47.62 and 47.73 – the code 47.62 is eligible however excluding the press-shops), personal services (NACE code 96), occasional bus transport (NACE code 49.390), tourist attractions (within the meaning of Articles 110 and seq. of the Walloon Tourism Code), fairground activities (NACE code93.211), the events sector (partially) (NACE Code 82.300, 74.109, 90.023, 77.392, 77.293), urban and suburban travelers transports (NACE code 49.310), car wash (NACE code 45.206), driving schools (NACE code 85.531).
  • The registered office of your company, or its place of business is located in Wallonia (according to the information available on the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises).

What is the amount of the allowance and which application procedure should be followed?

The amount of the lump-sum allowance is 5.000,00 EUR. The indemnity can only be granted once, per company registered in the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises. Note that the payment of this premium should take place mid-April 2020.

In order to obtain this allowance, companies and self-employed workers must file a request via an online platform www.indemnitecovid.wallonie.be. within 60 days following the closing of the company (totally or partially) in application of the measures adopted against COVID-19.

Finally, please note that the sectors that were not obliged to close their business could in principle also benefit from this allowance. However, they are obliged to motivate the reason(s) why they have decided to stop their activities, with supporting documents. This concerns coach operators, tourist attractions, fairground activities, carwash, driving schools and the events sector.

Is it possible to combine the allowance with other support measures?  

We would like to remind you that, besides the fixed lump-sum allowance, several other economic measures are applicable from a federal and regional perspective. This in order to support companies and self-employed workers, who have been severely affected by the measures adopted by the Belgian government.   
In principle, the other support measures can be combined with the lump-sum allowance.

BRUSSELS-CAPITAL REGION

Similar to the other regions, the Brussels-Capital region has decided to grant, under certain conditions, a fixed allowance to self-employed workers and to enterprises that are completely closed or that have stopped their activities as a result of the measures taken against the spread of COVID-19.  

Are you entitled to the lump-sum allowance?

Certain conditions must be respected in order to benefit from the fixed allowance: 

  • You are a natural person who carries out a professional activity as self-employed, or, 
  • Your company has a workforce that does not exceed 50 full-time employees. 
  • You belong to one of the following sectors: wholesale and retail trade, repairs of cars, motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE code 45), retail trade excepted motor vehicles and motorcycles (NACE code 47), accommodation (NACE code 55), restaurants (NACE code 56), motion pictures, video and television programs production, sound records and music edition (NACE code 59), travel agencies, tour operators, booking offices and related activities (NACE code 79), administrative office services and other business support activities (NACE code 82), education (NACE code 85), lotteries and gambling activities (NACE code 92), recreation, leisure and sport activities (NACE code 93), repair of computers, personal and household goods (NACE code 95) and other personal services (NACE code 96).
  • The registered office of your company, or its place of business is located in Brussels (according to the information available on the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises).

What is the amount of the allowance and which application procedure should be followed?

The amount of the lump-sum allowance is 4.000,00 EUR per seat of exploitation located in the Brussels-Capital Region, with a maximum of 20.000,00 EUR per enterprise. 

The indemnity can only be granted once, per company registered in the Crossroads Bank for Enterprises. 

In order to obtain this allowance, companies and self-employed workers must file a request via an online platform www.primecovid.brussels at least by May 18th, 2020. Please note that the platform is not yet available but should be operational in April 2020.

Is it possible to combine the allowance with other support measures?

We would like to remind you that, besides the fixed lump-sum allowance, several other economic measures are applicable from a federal and regional perspective. This in order to support companies and self-employed workers, who have been severely affected by the measures adopted by the Belgian government. 
In principle, the other support measures can be combined with the lump-sum allowance.

If you would like to receive additional information on this matter, the tax team of RSM Belgium is at your disposal: [email protected]

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