Last Friday, 13 March, Royal Decree-Law 7/2020 was published in the Official State Gazette (BOE), adopting urgent measures to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19.
In addition to measures to improve the financing of healthcare spending, support for families, employment, aid for the tourism sector and efficient management of public administrations, it also includes a measure to make tax debt deferrals and instalments more flexible for SMEs.
In relation to this issue, Article 14 of this Royal Decree-Law establishes certain measures to facilitate the deferral of tax debts in the sphere of the State tax administration, such that:
- Only small companies can benefit from this measure, which for these purposes are those whose turnover in 2019 does not exceed €6,010,121.04.
- Tax debts that are in the voluntary payment period from 13 March to 30 May may be subject to deferral.
- The deferral must be requested, without the need to provide guarantees and up to a maximum of €30,000.
- The Royal Decree Law allows the deferral of withholdings, payments on account, instalments and VAT. It should be remembered that, as a general rule, requests for deferral of these items are not accepted.
- The deferral period will be 6 months without accrual of late payment interest in the first 3 months.
As for the rest of the measures, the following should be highlighted:
- Tourism sectors, as well as the commerce and hotel and catering sectors, provided that they are linked to the tourism sector: Extension of the rebate to permanent discontinuous contracts to the months of February to June. Private companies engaged in the aforementioned activities, which generate productive activity in the months of February, March, April, May and June and which start or maintain the employment of workers on permanent contracts during these months, may apply a rebate in these months of 50% of the employer’s Social Security contributions for common contingencies, as well as for the joint collection of Unemployment, FOGASA and Vocational Training. These provisions shall apply from 1 January 2020 until 31 December 2020.
- Companies and self-employed workers in the tourism sector, as well as related activities: The line of financing opened through the ICO is extended for an amount of 200 million euros to meet the liquidity needs of companies affected by the current situation. This amount is in addition to that approved by Royal Decree-Law 12/2019 for those affected by the insolvency of the Thomas Cook group, which was also EUR 200 million.
- Loans granted by the General Secretariat for Industry and SMEs: Extraordinary postponement of the repayment schedule for the beneficiaries of financial support instruments for industrial projects who may request the postponement of the payment of the principal in addition to the interest for the current year, provided that its maturity is less than six months from 13 March. This deferral is justified provided that the health crisis causes the borrowers periods of inactivity, a reduction in the volume of sales or interruptions in supply in the value chain that make it difficult or impossible for them to attend to the payment of the same.
For its part, Royal Decree 463/2020, of 14 March, which declares a state of alarm, in its Third Additional Provision establishes the suspension of terms and interrupts the deadlines for the processing of procedures of public sector entities.
It is also relevant that the Fourth Additional Provision of this provision establishes the interruption of the statute of limitations and the expiry of all actions and rights during the state of alarm and its extensions.
In addition, we would like to inform you that the AEAT offices will be temporarily closed as a result of the state of alarm, and therefore it will not be possible to appear in person.
However, the website will continue to be active, so the usual online procedures can be carried out without any problems. Along the same lines, the different Autonomous Communities and City Councils are approving different measures for the implementation of the regulation and for the physical closure of their offices for face-to-face assistance, as well as in other areas.
In this regard, the Catalan Tax Agency has issued a communiqué in which it expressly states the suspension and interruption of management, inspection and collection procedures, prescription and expiry periods and face-to-face assistance.
In addition, Decree Law 6/2020 of the Generalitat de Catalunya has approved an exceptional period for the presentation and payment of settlements of the tax on stays in tourist establishments for the period from 1 October 2019 to 31 March 2020, which must be made between 1 and 20 October.
It is also important to note that the AEAT has posted a notice on its website that opens up the possibility of changes to tax deadlines by stating that: “The deadlines in tax procedures are going to be extended by means of an imminent regulatory change.
Do not worry if you have a pending procedure. Pending the regulatory change, the Agency is aware of the situation and will not consider the deadline to be missed.
Your appointment can be postponed and we will call you to let you know the new date.
Finally, we will keep you informed of the new measures that are expected to be approved tomorrow, Tuesday, by the Council of Ministers.
We remain at your disposal for any further clarification or information.