Tax and financial measures associated with COVID-19
27 April 2020
The first COVID-19 case in Greece was confirmed on 26th February. Annual carnival celebrations were the next day. While virus outbreak at 89 confirmed cases and zero deaths, on 10th schools and universities were closed. Until 14th March all shops and public venues were closed except for grocery stores and pharmacies. Circulation since is allowed only for specific purposes (i.e. professional, exercise etc.) and under procedure. As of 25th April, number of confirmed cases is 2,506 and number of deaths 130, which is approximately 11 deaths per population million.
The country performed very well to protect public health from the virus outbreak. However, it has taken very strict virus containment measures and has a great dependence from tourism. The economic impact is expected to be severe. IMF projections for 2020 are 10% GDP decrease and unemployment rise from 17% currently to 22%. The aftermath of the debt crisis finds Greece with a weak banking system and limited fiscal space. The virus confrontation from the also weakened healthcare system was successful and a best practice worldwide. Can it set the tone for the country’s economic rebound?
Job retention is a precondition for submission to support measures one, two and three below.
- Tax liabilities payable from 11th March to 30th April are postponed until 31st August 31st 2020.
- Tax relief equal to 25% of March VAT payable amount, if March VAT liability is paid in full and timely by end of April. Measure applies only to entities affected by virus outbreak as specified by activity tax code. Tax relief applies to tax liabilities payable from May 1st, 2020 and onwards. For single entry bookkeeping entities, tax relief applies to first quarter of financial year 2020 VAT instead of March VAT, which is applicable to double entry bookkeeping entities.
- Tax relief of 25% to all instalments of tax liabilities, except for withheld tax and VAT, payable from 30th March to 30th April, if paid in full and timely by 21st April 2020.
- Acceleration of tax refund for outstanding income tax or VAT claims, whereas the claim does not exceed €30k per case and per entity. Applicable to all taxpayers (individuals or legal entities).
- Applicable VAT rate is reduced at 6%, from 24% previously, until 31st December 2020, for personal hygiene goods such as masks, gloves, antiseptic liquid, antiseptic wipes and soap.
- Donations to public, intended for the pandemic confrontation, are exempt of VAT under the condition of previous government acceptance.
- Two months payment suspension of capital tax and stamp duty liabilities due during March and April 2020.
- Submission deadlines of inheritance, gambling gain and donation tax returns dated March and April 2020 are suspended until 29th May 2020.
- Tax authorities’ assessment of additional taxes and penalties are suspended until 30th April 2020.
- Deadlines for the submission of tax inspection requirements are suspended until 31st May 2020. This measure is applicable to deadlines not expired before 11th March 2020.
- For tax cases appeal deadlines expiring from 11th March to 31st May 2020 are suspended by 60 days.
Social security measures
Job retention is a precondition for submission to any of the following support measures.
- February and March 2020, social security contributions payable by March 31st, 2020 and April 30th, 2020 are postponed to September 30th, 2020 and October 31st, 2020 equivalently.
- Payment deadline of social security contributions settled under an instalment scheme and due by March 31st, 2020 is postponed by three months. The three months payment extension applies to instalments due after March 2020.
- Payment of all social security liabilities is suspended until August 31st, 2020.
- 25% discount on freelancers’, February and March 2020, social security contributions under the condition of timely payment by April 10th, 2020.
Employee and employer supportive measures
Job retention is a precondition for employer submission to any of the following support measures.
- Employee subsidy of €800 and full social security coverage per actual salary, for employment contracts under temporary suspension and for businesses specified by tax code activity under relevant ministerial decision.
- Subsidy of €600 to selected freelancers (accountants, lawyers, doctors, researchers, engineers, architects) for participating to remote training programs for professional development.
- Under Greek labor law employees are entitled to 12 monthly salaries plus two additional monthly salaries in total as Christmas, Easter and annual leave bonus. Payment of Easter bonus, which is due before Orthodox Easter date, is postponed until June 30th, 2020.
- Specified by tax code activity businesses and during time affected, are eligible to operate with a minimum 50% of their staff under the condition of at least two weeks of total work time per employee and per month.
- Specified by tax code activity group of companies and during time affected, are eligible to transfer employees between them.
Job retention is a precondition for submission to measure four below.
- Long-term, low interest and long grace period loans to affected businesses with up to 500 employees that will apply for between April 2nd, 2020 to April 21st, 2020.
- Debt payment suspension until September 30th, 2020 of all performing loans until December 31st, 2019. Further details and conditions are applicable per bank.
- Subsidy of performing loans interest for the periods April to June 2020, with potential extension for another two months. Application can be submitted from April 15th, 2020 to June 30th, 2020.
- Payment of bank cheques dated from March 30th, 2020 to May 31st, 2020 can be suspended for 75 days.
- For specified affected businesses a 40% relief is granted to professional building rent of the periods March and April 2020. The relief is also applicable to all (not just buildings) financial leases and for same period installments.
Deadline for the publication of financial statements of Athens Stock Exchange listed entities is prolonged until June 30th, 2020.
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