Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium are all taking different measures to deal with the corona crisis. Entrepreneurs living in the Netherlands and working in Belgium or Germany, or vice versa, may be entitled to some financial measures from the Netherlands and some from Belgium or Germany. This article lists the main support measures per country, plus border control rules.
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Dutch corona measures in the border region
Temporary bridging measure for self-employed professionals (Tozo)
The Dutch government offers self-employed professionals the Temporary bridging measure for self-employed professionals (Tozo). Tozo offers two kinds of help: support for the cost of living, and a business capital loan. The scheme is for self-employed professionals living AND working in the Netherlands. In order to help entrepreneurs who live OR work in the Netherlands, the government has devised additional conditions:
- If you live in the EER or Switzerland, but run your business in the Netherlands, you can apply for a business capital loan under Tozo conditions. Applications must be sent to the municipality of Maastricht. You cannot apply for Tozo support for the cost of living.
- If you live in the Netherlands, but run your business in Belgium or Germany, you can apply for Tozo support for the cost of living. You cannot apply for a Tozo business capital loan.
It is not possible to apply for Tozo yet if you live OR work in the border region. The Dutch government is still working out the exact conditions for the border regions.
Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW)
In the Netherlands, employers can use the NOW to apply for a substantial compensation of the wage costs. Does your business have a Dutch business address? Then you can apply for NOW. If your business is located in Belgium or Germany, and you have one or more employees for whom you pay social security premiums in the Netherlands, you can apply for NOW for them.
Reimbursement for Business Sectors Affected by corona measures (TOGS)
If you live in Belgium or Germany and run a business that is in trouble due to the government measures against the virus spreading, and that has its address in the Netherlands , you may be eligible for the €4,000 reimbursement for business sectors affected scheme (TOGS).
If you live across the border, but pay taxes in the Netherlands, you can make use of the tax measures that are in place. Payment extensions for several taxes, for instance, and lower tax interest rates. See the article Tax measures.
Payroll tax and cross-border workers
The corona crisis forces many employees to work from their homes. Or they are forced to remain at home. If you employ workers who live in Germany and have to work from or stay at home, you can still withhold Dutch wage tax from their pay.
Support measures in Belgium
If you live in the Netherlands and work as a self-employed professional in the Flanders region of Belgium, you can apply for a bridging benefit from the social insurance fund – provided you pay your main occupation (hoofdberoep) social insurance premiums to the Belgian social insurance fund. You are not eligible for this benefit if you already have a different source of income.
Under normal conditions, the benefit is only available for entrepreneurs who live and work in Belgium. This extension for self-employed professionals living in the Netherlands and working in Belgium is temporary.
Read more about the conditions for the bridging benefit (in Dutch). You can also apply for a reduction of or exemption for paying social insurance contributions.
’Corona hinderpremie’, compensation for affected businesses
If your business in Flanders has had to close due to the corona measures, you may be eligible for the so-called ‘Corona hinderpremie’. This is a one-time compensation of
- €4,000 for businesses that have had to close completely due to federal measures, or
- €2,000 for businesses have to close during weekends due to federal measures
Some businesses are entitled to an extra €160 compensation per day that they have to remain closed. You can apply for the .
Corona turnover compensation
Entrepreneurs with a business in Flanders that has not had to close, but has suffered a turnover loss of over 60% will be able to apply for a turnover compensation (compensatiepremie). The scheme is not open yet. Check the Flemish government website for more information.
Wages for living – Leefloon
Do you live in Belgium, and work in the Netherlands as a self-employed professional? Then you may be eligible for wages for living – so-called Leefloon. Whether or not you are eligible depends on your situation. You can find out by contacting the Public Center for Social Welfare (OCMW) in the municipality where you live.
More measures in Flanders, Brussels and Wallonia
The several administrations in Belgium have more measures in place to help businesses cope with the corona crisis, such as tax payment extensions, short-time working benefits. You can find a full list of all measures on the following websites. This information is also relevant for Dutch entrepreneurs who run their business from a fixed place in Belgium.
- Flanders: Agentschap Innoveren & Ondernemen (VLAIO, in Dutch)
- Brussels region: 1819, FAQ for entrepreneurs
- Wallonia: 1890 (in French), FAQ (in German)
Belgium has closed its borders with the Netherlands for non-essential travel. Work travel is allowed. Business travellers are advised to reconsider whether they really need to make their trip at this time.
Travelling for vital professions
Is your profession one that is considered vital? You can apply for a vignette, to pass the border checks more quickly. The Belgian list of vital professions can be found in this pdf (page 16040 and onwards). The Dutch list of vital professions and sectors can be found here (in Dutch).
You can apply for the vignette online. You are not allowed to bring passengers, but you are allowed to travel together with persons who can prove they have to cross the border for their work.
Abuse of the vignette is an offense, just as violating the ban on non-essential travel is. The Belgian authorities are checking vigorously. In some places, the border checks have been intensified (in Dutch) to prevent fraud. Check the Rijksoverheid website (in Dutch) for more information on crossing the Dutch-Belgian border.
Travelling for a non-vital profession
If your profession is not a vital one, your employees will need an employer’s statement. You can apply for one here (in Dutch). Persons who want to cross the border for work purposes will have to show this employer’s statement plus ID. Expect queues.
As yet, there are no restrictions on goods transports between the Netherlands and Belgium.
Read the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) information on international trade with Belgium.
Support measures in Germany
In Germany, the government is taking extensive support measures to help entrepreneurs through the crisis. You can find an overview (in German) on the German government website. If you have questions concerning your German business and speak German, you can call the special coronavirus hotlines for entrepreneurs.
The Border info point can give you the latest updates on German measures, and what they mean for businesses in the border region.
The SVB, the organisation responsible for the execution of Dutch national insurance schemes, has published an article listing the measures in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany for cross-border workers and entrepreneurs.
The Robert Koch Institut – the German RIVM – proclaimed the Netherlands a risk area on 2 April. On 6 April, the German government decided not yet to close the German-Dutch border. However, persons who travel to the Netherlands from Germany for several days will have to self-isolate for 14 days upon their return. The German Federal States have yet to approve this measure, but it will not apply to goods transport or cross-border workers. The implications for the German-Dutch border traffic are not entirely clear yet.
Germany has closed the borders to several other countries, but the German-Dutch border is still open. To pass the German-French or the German-Luxembourg border, you need a 'Pendlerbescheinigung'. If you are planning to travel from the Netherlands to France or Luxembourg via Germany, prepare such a statement beforehand (at the German-Dutch border, for instance). You can find more information on the 'Pendlerbescheinigung' (in German) on the Bundespolizei website.
Read the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) information on international trade with Germany.