SME Credit Guarantee Scheme (BMKB)
The latest news is that the SME credit guarantee scheme (BMKB) has been extended. This extension takes immediate effect. BMKB concerns the suretyship of small to medium-sized enterprises. The regulation allows entrepreneurs to borrow larger amounts of money more quickly from e.g. banks as from 16 March. Businesses can use the BMKB scheme for a bridge loan, or to increase the overdraft limit (how much they are allowed to be ‘in the red’) on their current account. The guarantee runs to 75% of the credit given by the financing party, instead of 50%. Entrepreneurs who miss income or production due to the coronavirus get 300 million euros at their disposal because of this regulation, according to cabinet. More information, e.g. on application, can be found here.
What can businesses with staff do? If you have little work for your employees due to the coronavirus, you could, in some cases, apply for a short-time working permit (werktijdverkorting, WTV). This is because the coronavirus outbreak does not fall within the regular business risk. At least 20% of your employees should have no work at all in order to be entitled to this regulation. Employers should apply via the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. A WTV permit is granted for a maximum of 6 weeks. It may be extended a maximum of 3 times if a return to normal operating conditions is expected. Many businesses, both small and big, have already made use of this regulation. More information can be found here.
Some other important facts may be that businesses cannot apply for some sort of special corona-remittance for their employees. The usual rules with regard to reporting illness apply to employees in quarantine. For personnel that is to stay at home because of a mild cold, a sickness benefit can be arranged in some instances.
Self-Employed Professionals (zzp-ers)
The regulations concerning short-time working do not apply to self-employed professionals. If they get into financial difficulties, they could make an appeal to financial support for self-employed professionals (Bbz). This only applies when income from your own company does not suffice to provide for subsistence. Income is then complemented to social security level. Bbz is executed by the municipalities, more information can be found here.
Whoever gets into financial difficulties due to the coronavirus can apply for postponement of certain tax payments. This goes for businesses with and without staff. Income tax, corporate tax, sales tax/VAT and tax on wages fall within this regulation. The entrepreneur should confirm in writing that they experience difficulties due to the corona crisis. If you are expecting lower profits because of the outbreak of corona, it may be a good idea to alter your estimated tax assessment. More information can be found on the website of the Dutch tax authorities. Since both the information on the tax options offered to entrepreneurs during the coronavirus and the actual application processes are in Dutch, it would be wise to consult the Tax Information Line if Dutch isn’t your primary language. The number for resident entrepreneurs is +31 (0)800 0543; non-residents can call +31(0)55 538 53 85.
Will more measures be taken? Cabinet has announced that it will come up with new regulations for entrepreneurs in specific sectors or otherwise on 17 March. Ministers Eric Wiebes (Economic Affairs) and Wouter Koolmees (Social Affairs) have already discussed possibilities to provide self-employed professionals (zzp-ers) with financial assistance.
Information on the impact of corona
Where can you find information and who can you turn to with the questions you might have?
The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce has a special telephone number for entrepreneurs who have questions as a result of the coronavirus: 0800-2117.
The website of the Dutch government offers elaborate information for entrepreneurs.