The pandemic caused by Covid-19 (Coronavirus) has forced policy makers around the world to take actions by granting incentives and relief policies to mitigate economic risks. In this page, our consultants have highlighted key measures and aspects in different jurisdictions.

HONG KONG

PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

AUSTRALIA

DUBAI (UAE)

VIETNAM

SINGAPORE

FRANCE

SWITZERLAND

HONG KONG

On February 26th, 2020, the Hong Kong Government revealed its 2020-21 Budget, promising economic aid measures worth HK $ 120 Billion to support the city’s economy as a response to the COVID-19 outbreak. The Government has planned important measures including the implementation of a HK $10,000 cash payout to Hong Kong permanent resident aged 18 or above. This is accompanied by generous tax breaks and initiatives to resolutely fight the epidemic, with an expected impact on the tax deficit of around HK $ 139.1 Billion, equivalent to 4.8% of GDP.

  • Employment support scheme
  • Financial support and industry concessions
  • Public welfare measures
  • Healthcare system support
  • Multi-sector support

The Employment Support Scheme has recently been updated with a budget of over $80 billion, to fight unemployment consequences from COVID-19.

The central idea of the Employment Support Scheme is to provide wage subsidy that is equivalent to 50% of the wages of the employees up to a wage cap of $18,000 per month. The subsidy is given to the employers so that they can keep their staff for the coming six months. The employers will be required to have no redundancy or layoffs during the months that they receive wage subsidies from the Government.

• The Hong Kong Government has introduced special 100% Loan guarantee under the SME Financing Guarantee Scheme (SFGS). The maximum loan amount for the eligible businesses is based upon salary and rental costs for six months, with a maximum limit of HK $2 Million with repayment period up to 3 years with an optional moratorium for the first 6 months. The Hong Kong Government expect to provide HK $20 billion in guarantees under this SME loan scheme. An interest rate of the Prime Rate minus 2.5% per year (current interest rate at 2.75%) is charged. Moreover, all guarantee fees are waived.
• The taxation on profits for the 2019/20-year assessment shall be reduced by 100%. The measure is subject to a ceiling of HK $20,000.
• The registration fees for companies for 2020-21 shall be waived as well as the registration fees for company annual returns for two years.
• Rental costs for government properties shall be reduced by 50% for six months. This is in addition to a waiver of 75% of water and sewage costs (subject to a monthly cap of HK $20,000 and HK $12,500 respectively) and a subsidy of 75% of electricity utility bills (subject to a monthly cap of HK $5000) for each eligible non-residential account.

• The government proposed a one-off special allowance payable by the Anti-Epidemic Fund for approximately 200,000 low-income families and proposed that a cash payment of HK $ 10,000 be paid to each adult permanent resident of Hong Kong.
• The government has proposed to reduce personal and wage taxes by 100% in 2019/20, with a limit of HK $ 20,000 for the benefit of 1.95 million taxpayers and to waive residential property rates for the four quarters of 2020-21, with a limit of HK $ 1,500 per quarter for each taxable property (HK $ 5,000 per quarter in the first two quarters and HK $ 1,500 per quarter for the remaining two quarters, for each non-domestic taxable property).
• All eligible social security beneficiaries are to be granted additional benefits equal to the standard payment of one month of full social security assistance for old-age allowance or disability.
• For low-income tenants living in public rental units of the Hong Kong Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society, the authorities will provide an allowance of one month’s rent.

A commitment to ensure a recurring funding of HK $75 Billion to the Hospital Authority over the 2020-2021 period was given, which represents a 35% increase over the 2017-18 payment of HK $55.6 Billion.

The government has announced an intention to adopt an expansive fiscal position to implement counter-cyclical measures, in support of several sectors most affected by the Covid-19 epidemic, by introducing cash subsidies to different sectors. Notably:
• The Hong Kong Government allocated HK $700 Million to promote tourism in the city following the coronavirus epidemic and promised another HK $6.5 Billion for port development initiatives.
• On the innovation front, there will be an allocation of HK $3 billion for a possible phase 2 of the Science Park expansion program as well as a possible third InnoHK research cluster in the park.
• Regarding the Retail Sector, it placed around HK $5 Billion in subsidies on each eligible reseller (which sells goods in a physical location primarily to the public for personal / domestic consumption). Moreover, a one-off subsidy of HK $80,000 will be provided to each eligible retail store with a maximum amount (for a parent company that operates retail groups or chain stores under the same business registration) of HK $3 Million.
• In the food sector, it allocated about HK $4 Billion to support general catering, factory canteens, food factories, bakeries and fresh produce stores.

PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA

In order to provide a response to the COVID-19 outbreak, China’s central and local authorities have issued several measures to relief enterprises and individuals affected by the ongoing epidemic. The list of the following policies includes policies guiding businesses to resume production, measures to facilitate foreign trade, provision of tax and fee reductions and exemptions, financial support and social security benefits.

  • Tax and fee reductions and exemptions
  • Human resources and social contributions
  • Financial support to corporations

• On March 30th 2020, China’s State Taxation Administration (STA) has extended the deadline for tax filing in April from April 20, 2020 to April 24, 2020, nationwide. However, businesses who still have difficulty in meeting the new deadline due to the severe impact of the epidemic can apply for further extension.
• Previously, the STA had extended the tax filing deadline in February and March, as a response to ease businesses’ tax compliance burden under the COVID-19 outbreak.
• Many regions have also introduced further tax policies to assist local businesses during this period of coronavirus prevention and control. For example, in Beijing, small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can apply for deferred tax payments of up to three months if they have trouble in tax filing and payments.
• From March 20th 2020, China has increased export tax rebates on 1,464 products. Of the 1,464 products, 1084 are now qualify for 13% export tax rebate, including porcelain sanitary ware and petrochemicals while another 380 products have the rebate enhanced to 9%, including imported livestock and other food products.
• Qualified enterprises operating in the production of key materials could apply to receive a full refund of the incremental VAT from December 2019.
• Enterprises providing transportation services for key materials for prevention of the epidemic outbreak, essential living services and materials could be exempt from VAT and additional surcharges.
• Enterprises operating in certain industries greatly affected by the COVID-19 (i.e. transportation, catering, accommodation, tourism) can carry-forward the loss incurred in 2020 up to 8 years (instead of 5 years).
• Enterprises subject to real estate tax and urban land use tax could apply for the reduction or exemption of the above taxes.
• Reduction of the VAT applicable to small-scale tax payers from 3% to 1% from March to May 2020, and exemption for small-scale taxpayers in Hubei Province.

• SMEs may be exempted and large companies can halve the payment of some social insurance contributions (pension, unemployment and work-related injury contributions) for the period from February to June 2020.
• All the enterprises in Hubei Province would be exempted from the payment of some social insurance contributions (pension, unemployment and work-related injury contributions) for the period from February to June 2020.
• Reduction of the contribution rate (up to 50% reduction) for medical insurance for maximum five months (to be implemented according to local regulations).
• The yearly adjustment of the social contribution basis would be postponed by three months, from April 1st, 2020 to July 1st, 2020.

On March 1st 2020, The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission (CBIRC), National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Ministry of Finance (MOF), Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) jointly issued a Notice regarding the temporary delay in the repayment of principal and interest by SMEs. This is to direct banks to provide grace periods to SMEs in loan repayments.
• Qualified SMEs nationwide with principal or interest due between January 25th 2020 and June 30th 2020 can apply to delay repaying their debt. In Hubei province, the waiver applies to all companies, including large firms.
• Local PRC banks are encouraged to apply for funds from PBOC to provide loans at favorable interest rate to SMEs and private enterprises.
• The Notice directs banks not to downgrade loans with missed payments and not to downgrade the credit-rating of these borrowers.

Moreover, on March 19th 2020, the MIIT issued the policy guidelines to direct bank to provide additional re-loans, special credit loan to SMEs, local reduction in tax, utility charges, and property rents.

In addition, PBOC has indicated that it has freed up RMB 2.25 Trillion funds since February 2020 via cutting the reserve requirements for banks, encouraging the banks to lend to companies affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Another RMB 500 Billion through refinance and rediscount was offered to banks to finance businesses.

Lastly, in response to the Central Government, the provincial and municipal governments also released a string of policies to be implemented according to local regulations.

Notably, on February 8th Shanghai unveiled 28 measures to stabilize businesses in the COVID-19 epidemic. These measures will not expire until three months after the outbreak is officially declared over. Also, of note, foreign-funded companies enjoy the same treatment as local businesses.
• Shanghai Pudong Development Bank and Bank of Shanghai offer loans with preferential rates to companies that make, transport or sell medical supplies and daily necessities. The loan rate shall be lower than 1.6%.
• Industries and SMEs heavily impacted by the epidemic can ask for loans with interest rates at least 25 basis point lower than the benchmark, which is 4.05% at the moment.
• The imports of supplies for epidemic control will be exempted from tariffs and other related VAT or consumption tax.
• Any income from delivering supplies and providing public transportation in the epidemic will be exempted from value-added tax.
• In 2020, Shanghai will refund 50% of the total employment insurance premium paid in the previous year to enterprises that do not lay off employees or minimize the layoffs.
• State property owners were required to waive rentals in February and March for SMEs. Commercial property owners instead are encouraged to waive or reduce rentals for tenants.

Should you have any queries as to how your business may be impacted by the policies that China’s local authorities have issued, please do not hesitate to contact Fidinam professionals.

AUSTRALIA

On 23 March 2020, The Australian Federal Government, released a new tax stimulus package to help the economy withstand and recover from the economic impact of coronavirus.

  • Enhancing the instant asset write-off (IAWO)
  • Back to business incentives
  • Cash flow boost for employers
sydney

The IAWO threshold is increased to $150,000 AUD from $30,000 AUD, for businesses with aggregated annual turnover of less than $500 million AUD (uo from 50$ million AUD).

The Government is introducing a timed limited 15-month incentive to support business investment, by accelerating depreciation deductions for asset acquisitions of over $150,000 AUD. The first 50% will be depreciable 100% until June 2021, and the remaining 50% depreciated over its normal life.

Another measure introduced by the Government is boosting cash flow for employers which will provide up to $100,000 AUD back to business, with a minimum payment of $20,000 AUD. Eligible business, will receive a withholding tax benefit of up to $100,000 AUD.

DUBAI (UAE)

The Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, announced the new economic stimulus package which includes initiatives aimed to reduce the cost of doing business and boost the trade sector in Dubai. The measures have been decided came into force as of March 15th 2020.

  • Dubai customs will refund 1% of customs duty imposed on imported goods sold locally in the UAE markets, which are subject to customs duty rate of 5% and have been processed under Import Declaration during the period from March 15th 2020 to June 30th 2020.
  • The 50,000 AED bank or cash guarantee required to undertake customs broker activity will be revoked. Bank or cash guarantee deposited by existing customs brokers and clearing companies will be refunded.

As a consequence of this stimulus package from the UAE authority, many initiatives from the different free economic zones are being implemented in terms of discounts to start a new business. The DMCC is offering the following measures to promote the launch of new businesses.

  • Up to 50% reduction on the total company set up fee (80% if shareholders are residents of JLT (Jumeirah Lake Towers).
  • Flexible payment options for new DMCC Business Centre tenants and one-year flexi desk included.
  • The opportunity to complete the entire digital processes for business set up from home and to take advantages from one-year free flexi desk.

VIETNAM

Due to the critical and unpredictable developments of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Vietnamese government has taken various measure to combat the spread of the disease.

  • Governmental financial aid regulations
  • Ho Chi Minh City’s proposals
vietnam

• On March 4, 2020, the Prime Minister signed Directive No.11/CT-TTG on urgent actions to support business and social security. The most notable points of this directive are that the Prime Minister instructed the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) to launch a credit support package of VND 250 Trillion (approx. USD 10.5 Billion) for businesses, and instructed the Ministry of Finance to offer a support package of VND 30 Trillion (approx. USD 1.2 Billion) for solving business difficulties and ensuring social security.
• Under the Decision No. 418/QĐ-NHNN dated March 16th 2020, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) reduced the benchmark refinance rate to 5% per year (from 6%/year) and the discount rate to 3.4% per year (from 4%/year). The overnight lending rate in the inter-bank market was lowered to 6% per year (from 7%/year) and the open-market-operation (OMO) rate to 3.5% per year (from 4%/year).
• On February 7th 2020, the Ministry of Finance approved the issuance of Decision No. 155/QD-BTC on the list of goods eligible for import tax exemption for the prevention and control of COVID-19. The items concerned are surgical masks and material for manufacturing them, antiseptic hand sanitizer, antiseptic water and epidemic protection outfits.
• Under the Decision No. 419/QĐ-NHNN dated March 16th 2020, the maximum interest rate applied to demand deposits and deposits with the term of less than 1 month will be 0.5%/year (previously 0.8%/year). The maximum interest rate applied to deposits with the duration from at least 1 month to less than 6 months will be 4.75%/year (previously 5%/year). In particular, people’s credit funds and microfinance institutions will apply the maximum interest rate of 5.25%/year (previously 5.5%/year) to deposits with the term of at least 1 month to less than 6 months.
• Under the Decision No. 420/QĐ-NHNN dated March 16th 2020, the maximum interest rate for short-term loans in Vietnam Dong (for a number of sectors and economic sectors defined by credit institutions) is reduced to 5,5% per year (from 6%/year). The People’s Credit Funds and microfinance institutions also reduced this rate to 6.5% per year from 7.0% per year.
• Lastly, the State Bank of Vietnam (SBV) is crafting a circular which will support credit organizations to restructure debt payment deadlines and offer borrowing interest rate reduction and exemption among the group of customers heavily affected by the epidemic.

• Ho Chi Minh People’s Committee has submitted an official letter No.903/ to the Prime Minister, seeking for approval for its proposal to help businesses deal with difficulties. Notably, the Committee proposed to either exempt or halve value-added tax, halve corporate income tax and import tax for these enterprises. Furthermore, in order to support companies to maintain operations, the city proposed extending the deadline of tax payment to the third or fourth quarter of this year.
• In addition, the Ho Chi Minh City proposed the State Bank of Vietnam to direct local banks to issue loans with interest rates 30% lower than the existing interest regulation and to give access to the VND250 trillion ($10.87 trillion) credit support package, which was approved by the Prime Minister, to widen the timeline for paying debts and decrease interest rates on loans.

SINGAPORE

Following delivery of Budget Statement 2020 last February, the global COVID-19 crisis has further worsened, rapidly affecting, among others, the economy in Singapore and globally.
On March 26th 2020, the Singapore Government has released a supplementary budget, known as Resilience Budget, to address the severity of effects to the economy and providing additional measures to support Singapore companies and individuals. The Resilience Budget is therefore a supplement to the SGD 6.4 Billion Budget 2020 already in place and it aims to help enterprises overcome immediate challenges, support workers, and strengthen economic and social resilience, including:

  • Automatic Deferment of Corporate Income Tax (CIT) Payments;
  • Property Tax Rebates for Non-Residential Properties;
  • Rental Waivers for tenants in government-owned / managed non-residential facilities;
  • Double Tax Deduction for Internationalisation scheme
  • Enhanced Job Support Scheme;
  • Enhancements to Enterprise Development Grant (EDG).
CFO services

All companies with CIT payments due in the months of April, May and June 2020 are granted an automatic three-month deferment of payments. The CIT payments that are deferred from April, May and June 2020 will be collected in July, August and September 2020, respectively.

This relief measure is on top of automatic extension of two months interest-free instalments, and corporate income tax rebate of 25% of tax payable, capped at SGD 15,000 for Year of Assessment 2020, both announced in Budget 2020. No application is required: eligible companies may expect to receive a letter from IRAS by April 15th 2020.

Qualifying non-residential properties will be granted property tax rebate for the period January 1st 2020 to December 31st 2020, ranging from 30% to 100% of property tax payable for the said period. Commercial properties badly affected by COVID-19 like hotels, serviced apartments, tourist attractions, shops and restaurants will receive a 100% tax rebate (up from 30% tax rebate under Budget 2020); other non-residential properties, such as warehouse, will get a 30% tax rebate.

Owners are not required to submit any claims for the rebate: IRAS will inform owners of qualifying properties on their property tax rebates by May 31st 2020, and they can expect to receive their refunds by June 30th 2020, or no GIRO deduction for a certain period starting from May 2020.

Landlords are expected to fully pass on the rebate to their tenants, by reducing rentals, to directly ease the cash flow and cost pressures faced by tenants. For properties that are eligible for 100% property tax rebate, this is equivalent to more than one month’s rental.

To help alleviate costs for businesses located in Government-owned / managed non-residential facilities, the following tenants will qualify for rental waivers:

I. Commercial Tenants. Commercial tenants who are qualified for the half-month rental waiver announced in Budget 2020 will not get three months’ worth of rental waiver in total (i.e., two months more), with a minimum waiver of SGD 200 per month. Eligible tenants may include those providing commercial accommodation, retail, F&B, recreation, entertainment, healthcare, and other services.

II. Other Non-Residential Tenants. Government agencies such as Jurong Town Corporation (JTC), Singapore Land Authority (SLA), Housing and Developing Board (HDB), Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Building Control Authority (BCA), National Parks Board (NParks), and People’s Association (PA) will provide half a month’s worth of rental waiver to eligible tenants/lessees of other non-residential premises who do not pay Property Tax. Eligible tenants/lessees may include those in premises used for industrial or agricultural purpose, or as an office, a business or science park, or a petrol station.

In addition, all government fees and charges will be frozen for one year, from 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021.

Under the current Double Tax Deduction for Internationalization Scheme (“DTDI”), businesses are allowed a deduction up to 200% of qualifying expenses incurred for certain market expansion and investment development activities. The DTDI scheme, which was to expire on 31 March 2020, has been extended to 31 December 2025 and enhanced to include a wider list of eligible costs.

Companies that incur capital expenditure for purchase of plant and machinery (not for resale) in the basis period for YA 2021 (i.e., financial year 2020) shall have the option to accelerate the write-off of the expenditure over two years, i.e. 75% write-off in YA2021 and 25% in YA2022.

Automatic double tax deduction can be claimed up to SGD 150,000; for qualifying expenditure exceeding the mentioned threshold, approval must be sought with the Singapore Tourism Board.

The EGD provides customised support to local enterprises which undertake projects in the following three areas: (i) Core Capabilities; (ii) Innovation and Productivity; and (iii) Market Access.

The current maximum support level was up to 70%; Resilience Budget has raised such a level up to 80%, from 1 April 2020 to 31 December 2020, with a further raise up to 90% for enterprises that are most severely impacted by COVID19, on a case-by-case basis. Enhanced support will be granted to eligible enterprises that plan to refresh their business models and find new opportunities.

To qualify for the EDG, enterprises will need to fulfil the following criteria:

  1. be registered and operating in Singapore;
  2. have a minimum of 30% local shareholding; and
  • be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project.

In addition, in order to qualify for the enhanced EDG effecting from 1 April 2020, companies must commit that the benefits of enterprise transformation are passed on to the employees by  improving staff outcomes, such as wage increment, job creation, job re-design, or training for existing staff.

The EGD provides customized support to local enterprises which undertake projects in the following three areas: (i) Core Capabilities, (ii) Innovation and Productivity, and (iii) Market Access.
The current maximum support level was up to 70%. Resilience Budget has raised such a level up to 80%, from April 1st 2020 to December 31st 2020, with a further raise up to 90% for enterprises that are most severely impacted by COVID19, on a case-by-case basis. Enhanced support will be granted to enterprises that plan to refresh their business models and find new opportunities.
To qualify for the EDG, enterprises will need to fulfil the following criteria:
I. be registered and operating in Singapore;
II. have a minimum of 30% local shareholding; and
III. be in a financially viable position to start and complete the project.

In addition, in order to qualify for the enhanced EDG effecting from April 1st 2020, companies must commit that the benefits of enterprise transformation are passed on to the employees by improving staff outcomes, such as wage increment, job creation, job re-design, or training for existing staff.

Should you have any queries as to how your business may benefit from the Resilience Budget 2020 may impact your business, please do not hesitate to contact Fidinam Singapore.

FRANCE

On March 12th 2020, the French President Emmanuel Macron announced certain measures to support the French economy and to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • Tax and fee reductions and exemptions
  • Economic and social measures
  • Financial support to corporations
  • The tax relief measures allow all companies to defer, without penalty, the payment of corporate income tax (CIT), payroll taxes, business tax (CVAE) and property taxes, which were due on March 16th The measure applies automatically, and allows for a deferral of direct taxes for a period of three months.
  • The extension does not apply for value added taxes (VAT), assimilated taxes or withholdings of employees’ individual income taxes by employers.
  • The French Government may grant tax debates to certain companies facing extreme difficulties as a result of the coronavirus situation. Requests for tax rebates must be justified by proper documentation since they will be considered individually after examining the situation of each taxpayer. This measure concerns the payment of all direct taxes, except for VAT, assimilated taxes, and withholdings taxes on employment income.
  • Companies entitled to tax credit receivables that are refundable in 2020 may request an immediate refund. This mechanism applies to all refundable tax credits in 2020, including the Research tax credit (CIR) and the Competitiveness and Employment tax credit (CICE).

The French Government has also adopted the following measures to support the economic survival of companies and the maintenance of employment.

A simplified and reinforced use of the partial activity system, also called partial unemployment (chômage partiel), is available to companies experiencing economic difficulties.
• This system enables companies to receive financial aid to offset the loss of income caused by the reduction in the working time of the concerned employees.
• During partial activity, impacted employees are paid 70% of their gross salary (i.e. approximately 84% of the net salary) capped to 4.5 the French minimum wage (i.e. EUR 6,927.39 per month) and which cannot be lower than EUR 8.03 per hour, by employers.
• Eligible Companies are those that (i) are required by law to shut down activities or (ii) face a drop-in activity, (iii) face supply chain difficulties or (iv) cannot guarantee the employees’ health.
• The request to benefit from this scheme has retroactive effect.

The government has also decided to strengthen the compensation paid to employees undergoing partial employment. The Minister of Labor announced on March 13th 2020 that partial unemployment, normally compensated up to the minimum wage, will be fully supported by the Government, in the context of the COVID-19 epidemic.

Moreover, the Government has also announced the possibility to request support for the treatment of a conflict with customers or suppliers by the Business Mediator (médiateur des entreprise).

The Banque Publique d’Investissement (BPI) has announced several measures designed to support the French economy.
• Granting of guarantees in the context of eligible additional third-party lending. The eligibility conditions are the following: (i) those loans should be in the form of either amortizable mid/long-term financings (taking the form of loans, financial leases or movable/immovable asset lending) or short-term confirmed working capital facilities, invoice discounting or overdrafts; (ii) the maximum amount of such eligible loans cannot represent more than 25% of the turnover (VAT excluded) in France of each relevant borrower for the year 2019; (iii) such guarantees are meant to cover up to 90% of the amount of loans (3 to 7 years) or short-term loans or overdrafts (from 12 to 18 months) to be granted by French banks to companies hit by the COVID-19 crisis.
• Constitution of a EUR 300 Billion-state guarantee (Amended Finance Law No. 2020-289 of March 23rd 2020) in respect of all loans granted by French credit institutions/financing companies to French non-financial incorporated in France between March 16th 2020 and December 31st 2020. This guarantee mechanism (i) applies to the principal, interest and ancillary costs, (ii) secures the loan until its contractual maturity date or its early repayment date in case of acceleration and (iii) is also subject to limitations and conditions in terms of repayment, etc.
• Companies are able to request the support of the government and Banque de France (credit mediation – médiation du crédit) when requesting a rescheduling or moratorium of credits with their banks, for the next 6 months.
• On March 25th 2020, the Government issued the Legislative order n.2020-316 regarding the deferral of payment of rent, electricity and gas invoices. This order provides, for SMEs (i.e. companies with a turnover of less than EUR 1 Million and an annual taxable profit of less than EUR 600K) and which are either subject to administrative closure or to a loss of turnover of 70% in March 2020 compared to March 2019, the possibility to defer the payment of rent and of electricity and gas invoices.

ITALY

Legislative Decree no. 18 of 17.3.2020 (“Cura Italia”) and Legislative Decree no. 23 of 8.4.2020 (“Liquidity”) provided for a series of benefits for individuals, professionals and businesses, with the aim to mitigate economic risks caused by COVID-19.

  • Employee bonus: a 100 euro bonus for holders of employee income who continued to work at the workplace in March 2020 despite the Coronavirus emergency.
  • Shop and shop lease bonus: subjects carrying out business activities are granted a tax credit of 60% of the amount of the rent for the month of March 2020, limited to specific properties.
  • Suspension of the terms relating to VAT payments due in March, April and May 2020 and to tax obligations expiring in the period between 8.3.2020 and 31.5.2020 which may be made by 30.6.2020, without the application of penalties.
  • Corporate financing – SACE Guarantee: Large companies and SMEs, including the self-employed and the liberal professions, may be granted until 31.12.2020 a SACE guarantee on bank financing granted under the following conditions:

-duration not exceeding 6 years;
– beneficiary company not included in the category of companies in difficulty and not having impaired exposures;
– guaranteed amount not exceeding the greater of 25% of the company’s annual turnover in 2019 and twice the company’s personnel costs in 2019;
– commitment by the beneficiary company not to approve the distribution of dividends in the twelve months following the disbursement of the loan and to manage employment levels through trade union agreements.

  • First home loans are extended to self-employed and professional workers: suspension of payment when a situation of temporary difficulty arise, for the holders of a first home loan. The owner of a property used as a main house, holder of a loan contract for the purchase of the same property not exceeding 250,000 euros, can apply. In order to access the Fund, self-employed workers and freelancers must have recorded a decrease in their turnover of more than 33% compared to the last quarter of 2019, as a result of the closure or restriction of their business due to the Coronavirus emergency.
  • Suspension of courthouse hearings, postponed after 11.5.2020, and procedural deadlines suspended from 9.3.2020 to 11.5.2020.
  • Suspension of control, clearance and collection activities of the offices of the tax authorities for the period from 8.3.2020 to 31.5.2020.

For more information about Italian measures, please feel free to contact Fidinam Italia experts or visit the following page.

SWITZERLAND

Coronavirus emergency has led the Swiss Confederation, cantons and municipalities to take further restrictive and supportive measures for the economy.

In particular, the Federal Council has allocated CHF 32 billion, in order to avoid precarious situations as far as possible and to support the people and sectors affected with timely and targeted, unbureaucratic action.

The measures provided for can be summarised as follows:

Transitional credits with federal guarantees of up to CHF 20 billion in particular:

  • COVID-19 credits: short-term, unbureaucratic, bridging loans of up to CHF 500,000 at 0%, guaranteed by the Confederation at 100%.
  • COVID-19 Plus loans: disbursement, after detailed examination by the bank, of loans of up to CHF 500,000 to CHF 20,000 per company, guaranteed at 85% by the Confederation and 15% by the Bank; the rate on the amount guaranteed by the Confederation is currently 0.5%.
  • Extension for the payment of social security contributions (AHV/IV/AI/IPG/AD) and adjustment of the corresponding periodic advances, including for self-employed persons;
  • Extension of payment terms without interest on arrears until 31 December 2020 for direct federal tax, VAT, customs duties, certain consumer taxes and incentive taxes;
  • Faster settlement of invoices from federal suppliers;
  • Suspension of enforcement actions and impossibility of proceeding against a debtor from 19 March 2020 until 4 April 2020.
  • Extension of the allowance to employees on fixed-term contracts, temporary employment agencies and apprentices;
  • Extension of the allowance to those who occupy positions similar to employers, such as associates of Sagl who work in the company and are paid as employees or persons working in the company of the spouse / registered partner;
  • Abolition of the one-day waiting period for allowances;
  • Abolition of the need for overtime compensation in advance;
  • Further simplifications for claims and payment of allowances.

Self-employed persons who have suffered loss of earnings as a result of official measures to combat the coronavirus are entitled to this compensation. Specifically, workers who fall within the following categories are entitled to it:

  • Self-employed persons who have interrupted their gainful employment because they have been placed in quarantine;
  • Self-employed persons who have suffered a loss of earnings due to the closure of activities or the ban on demonstrations ordered by the Federal Council;
  • Self-employed artists whose engagements have been cancelled or who have had to cancel their own demonstrations;
  • Parents with children under the age of 12 who have to stop their gainful employment because custody of their children by third parties is no longer guaranteed.

For more information about Swiss measures, please visit the following page.