Poland: Protection package for enterprises due to coronavirus

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published on 27 March 2020 | reading time approx. 3 minutes

 

The Ministry of Development announced on 10 March 2020 that it was working on a special bill introducing a protection package for enterprises due to the increased incidence of COVID-19 cases caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

 

 

 

Taxes

According to the information of the Ministry of Development, the proposed legislative changes should postpone the effective date of the new SAF-T (JPK) from 1 April 2020 to 1 July 2020, which would simplify VAT accounting. The new laws also envisage simplifications in the split payment procedure and the extension of the deadline for listing in the Central Register of Beneficial Owners until 1 July 2020. Other planned changes include shorter VAT refund deadlines, a simplified business suspension procedure, abolishing the extension fee and changes in the state aid scheme, including its broader application to SMEs and large enterprises. Additionally, industries affected by the cancellation of tourist trips will be allowed to include the related expenses in tax-deductible costs.
 

Business liquidity

The list of measures aimed to improve the liquidity of enterprises includes the support from Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego (loans and guarantees) and classifying epidemics as events eligible for the support from the disaster fund, which will allow the affected enterprises to receive loan interest subsidies and carry back their losses (i.e. losses for 2020 may be carried back to 2019). According to the Ministry’s announcement, operating losses for one year may be set off against profits within the next five years. Once the legislative amendments are enacted, the aid would be granted according to the de minimis aid rules. Currently, Bank Gospodarstwa Krajowego cannot issue de minimis guarantees above 60% of the loan amount and exceeding PLN 3.5 million per case. It is being proposed to increase the guarantee to 80% of the loan amount.    
 

Protection of the labour market

As communicated by the Ministry of Development, further measures should be implemented to protect and support the labour market. This will include the amendment to the Act on Special Measures to Protect Jobs. As part of facilitations for enterprises in crisis situation, the crisis duration eligible for support should be reduced from 6 to 3 months, whereas “crisis” should be defined as a decrease in the business turnover and the sale of goods or services by 15%. In the case of a downtime, employees will be entitled to benefits from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund of up to 100% of the unemployment benefit (PLN 823.60) plus social insurance contributions and the salary financed by the employer in the total amount equal to no less than the minimum wage.
 

Sickness and care allowance

The Ministry of Development has also announced that business owners covered by sickness insurance and unable to carry on business due to coronavirus will be entitled to the sickness allowance payable from the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS) according to general principles, i.e. upon presentation of a medical sick note or based on the decision on quarantine or isolation issued by the State Sanitary Inspector. Additionally, business owners will have the right to receive the care allowance if they personally take care of a sick child or another family member (medical sick note), a child placed in quarantine or isolation (based on the decision of the State Sanitary Inspection Office (Sanepid), or a child aged up to 8 years in the event of an unforeseen closure of the nursery, kid club, kindergarten or school (statement of the insured). If the childcare facility or school is closed due to coronavirus, the Act of 2 March 2020 on Specific Steps to Prevent and Combat COVID-19, Other Contagious Diseases and the Crises They Cause provides for an additional childcare allowance for a period of up to 14 days.

 
Relief regarding the payment of social security contributions

In the face of business difficulties such as delays in or failures to supply, payment bottlenecks, absence of employees due to the increased incidence of disease or actions undertaken to ensure the security of citizens, enterprises may use the following relief options currently made available by the Social Insurance Institution (ZUS):

  • postponement of the deadline for the payment of social security contributions – if there are problems with the payment of the current or future contributions within a statutory deadline which has not expired yet, the enterprise will only pay the extension fee, but no late payment interest,
  • instalment scheme – if the enterprise has social security liabilities and is not able to repay them at one time, it may apply for repayment in instalments and will only pay the extension fee, but no late payment interest. Moreover, signing an instalment scheme agreement will result in the suspension of any enforcement proceedings to which the enterprise may be subject in connection with the payment of social security contributions,
  • debt forgiveness – if a business incurs financial losses due to an unforeseen event and if this creates a risk that the payment of social security contributions will render it impossible for the business to continue operations, the business owner may be forgiven the social security debt, but only the part which is payable for himself. In such a case, the forgiven contributions and the period for which they were due are not taken into account when determining the entitlement to benefits.
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