Overview of VAT measures in Europe against Coronavirus

Most European countries are introducing some form of tax simplifications against the financial disadvantages of Coronavirus.

13 March, 2020

Several countries introduced simplification VAT measures to alleviate businesses from the financial consequences of Coronavirus. These simplifications range from deadline extensions to submit and pay VAT returns, postponed legislative changes and flexibility on administrative obligations.

Country by country VAT measures against Coronavirus

Here is a list of simplifications announced to date:

  • Austria: The measures published do not specifically refer to VAT, however, Austrian tax authorities announced a potential cancellation of penalties in the area of tax if a valid reason is provided.
  • Belgium: Last 18 March the Belgian tax authorities announced an automatic delay of VAT deadlines for all businesses, irrespective of being impacted by the virus or not. There is no need to submit an application. This simplification is granted ex officio.
  • Cyprus: A temporary reduction of VAT rates will apply for a period of 2 months. The standard VAT rate will be reduced from 19% to 17% and the reduced rate will go from 7% to 3.5%. These changes are expected to become official soon.
  • Czech Republic: Deadlines for filing tax have been extended. However, VAT payments should still be made on time.
  • Denmark: All VAT deadlines of monthly VAT returns corresponding to March, April or May are automatically extended for a period of 30 days. Those filing quarterly VAT returns can submit the first quarter 2020 VAT return together with the second quarter VAT return. More information available in this notice.
  • France:  French authorities published delays on all tax payments for those applications who provide evidence of being financially impacted by Coronavirus. The application can be submitted via this form. It is not clear if these delays apply also to VAT or only to Corporate taxes.
  • Greece: VAT payments have been temporarily suspended. Such payments to the tax authorities will not be due and interest will not arise for those businesses who are impacted by the Coronavirus crisis. Greek authorities also extended the initial scheme for businesses affected by the Thomas Cook´s bankruptcy.
  • Italy: Tax reliefs and tax payment deferrals were introduced for SME. We understand this applies only to established businesses, although no further information has been published yet.
  • Ireland: Green light in customs clearance is available for pharmaceutical products. Further information will be published ahead of the March-April VAT return due date. The Covid-19 announcement is available in the website of the Irish tax authorities.
  • Poland: The new SAF-T return has been postponed until 1 July 2020. The earlier deadline was 1 April, which is no longer applicable. Also deadlines for UBO registration are extended.
  • Portugal: Penalties are not expected to apply in Portugal to those businesses impacted by the measures against the virus. The authorities are also encouraging the use of their e-portal and telephone when contacting with them.
  • Spain: All Spanish VAT due dates from 13 March to 30 May may be extended by submitting an application to the Spanish tax authorities. The extension will be for 6 months. It is not applicable to large businesses (turnover above 6,000,000 €) and VAT amounts due above 30,000 €. The instructions to submit the application are published here. Also, VAT registrations will not be processed as all tax offices are closed to the public.
  • Sweden: An application can be submitted to extend the payment deadline if businesses provide evidence of being impacted by the Coronavirus. The extended period would range between 2 to 4 months. Businesses should explain why the VAT funds collected from their customers are no longer available. You can find more information in this link.
  • The Netherlands: Businesses impacted by the Coronavirus in The Netherlands will also have the option to submit an application to the tax authorities to extend the deadline for paying VAT. Penalties will also be cancelled during this time. The application should be submitted in writing to the tax office in charge of the VAT registered business.

In addition to the above, you should also expect delays on VAT registrations, postponed meetings with the tax authorities, late VAT refunds and other negative consequences across all European countries. Many tax authorities are not capable of working remotely, so it is likely that all work expected from these tax offices will be blocked until further notice.

If you have an urgent application or tax inspection opened, contact us so we can involve one of our local delegates to help you in these difficult times.

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