Coronavirus (Covid-19): Overview of VAT measures in Europe

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

-- This article has been updated on 4 May 2020 with the latest changes to date --

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, faster VAT refunds and flexibility on administrative obligations.

Country by country VAT measures against Coronavirus

Here is a list of simplifications announced to date:

  • Country
    VAT action against Covid-19
  • Austria
    Deadline fo Annual VAT returns has been postponed to 31 August 2020.
  • Belgium
    The filing of April VAT returns and April ECSL returns are now due on 5 June 2020 (instead of 20 May). The payment of April VAT returns is extended to 20 July.
  • Bulgaria
    No automatic extension of deadlines, but businesses may request an extension individually where valid reasons are provided in connection to the Coronavirus consequences.
  • Croatia
    No automatic extension, but businesses in the cash accounting method can apply for VAT deferral. 13th Directive refund claims can be submitted up to 30 September 2020.
  • Cyprus
    Filing deadlines are automatically extended for certain taxpayers. These deadlines are moved from the 10th day of the second month to the 27th of the second month following the reporting period. Also monthly returns get a filing extension. All taxpayers can benefit from a temporary reduction of the VAT due, which amounts to 30% of the total amount that would have been paid.
  • Czech Republic
    Relief measures apply mostly on direct taxes. No VAT compliance simplifications.
  • 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. 13th Directive refund claims can be submitted up to 30 September 2020.
  • Estonia
    No interest in late payment will be applied between 1 March and 1 May 2020. The following period, late interest would be reduced by 50%. VAT rates on e-books were reduced.
  • Finland
    No late payment penalties will apply on VAT payments transfered late to the tax authorities.
  • 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. Businesses may also request a faster VAT refund of any outstanding amounts. The due date for 13th Directive refunds has been postponed until 30 September.
  • Germany
    Temporary VAT rate reduction on food and beverages. An application for an extension on VAT payments may also be submitted.
  • 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.
  • Hungary
    Deadlines on all financial reporting obligations have been extended. Also, VAT refunds will not be processed quicker (in 30 days instead of 75 days) in case of SME businesses. The implementation of the new RTR schema has also been delayed from 1 April to 1 July.
  • 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.
  • Italy
    Tax reliefs and tax payment deferrals were introduced for established SME until the end of June and for large established taxpayers until the end of March 2020. Non-established businesses can also benefit from the due date extensions.
  • Latvia
    Faster VAT refunds will be processed as from 1 April 2020 (to be repaid within 30 days from the submission of VAT returns). Possible deadline extension on certain industry activities.
  • Lithuania
    VAT payment extension and cancellation of penalties is allowed for certain taxpayers. A list has been published by the Lithuanian authorities including all businesses who can benefit from this simplification.
  • Luxembourg
    Intrastat deadlines have been extended for all periods from February to May 2020. VAT penalties have been suspended also.
  • Malta
    Faster VAT refunds and extended deadlines have been announced in Malta. No applications required.
  • 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. New extended deadlines were recently published for submission and payment of VAT returns. These deadlines have been extended from 7 to 10 days in average. Also the Annual VAT return is postponed until 7 August (previously 15 July).
  • Romania
    No penalties will apply during the state of emergency. Accelerated VAT refunds will be processed (although a tax audit will still take place).
  • Slovakia
    Tax audits are suspended and deadlines have been extended on payments and filings.
  • Slovenia
    Only certain VAT payment simplifications were introduced.
  • Spain
    One month extension for VAT returns submitted by small businesses (turnover below €600,000). VAT payments may be postponed up to 6 months if the amount is below €30,000 and an application is submitted and approved. VAT registrations are now accepted online.
  • 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.
  • United Kingdom
    Automatic 3 month extension on all VAT payments. No application is required. However, businesses should cancel their direct debit to delay the payment as otherwise HMRC would charge the relevant amount automatically. Payments on account also benefit from this extension. MTD "digital links" requirements has also been delayed.

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.

Additional resources

Contact our team if you need help accelerating your VAT refunds or submitting an application to defer your VAT filings and payments.

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