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The coronavirus COVID-19, and the measures taken to restrict the spreading of the coronavirus in the Netherlands, have a huge impact on the Dutch economy, and will no doubt also affect your business and your employees. The measures announced on 12, 17 and 23 March, to curb the spreading of the coronavirus, mean significant loss of turnover for many businesses, some of which it may be impossible to recover. The Dutch government is taking measures to help entrepreneurs affected by the crisis. This article covers these measures, and tells you which Dutch national organisations you can turn to for more information and advice.
Questions and answers
On our FAQ page, we try to answer the most common questions business owners have right now. Also read the Government.nl FAQ about measures and enforcement. The Netherlands Chamber of Commerce KVK has published an article (in Dutch) that can help you deal with business risks. If you have other business questions, for instance concerning staff, events, transport of goods or inventory, call the KVK Advice Team on workdays between 8:30 and 17:00 hours: +31 (0) 800 2117.
Measures announced by the government
The government has announced extensive measures to help businesses that have been affected by the corona pandemic. Although the organisations involved in executing the measures are working their hardest to set up the necessary infrastructure, not all measures are available yet. On this page, we try to give up-to-date information as it becomes available.
The measures now in place are:
- The new temporary measure Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW,Noodfonds Overbrugging Werkgelegenheid) will provide financial help for employers to help pay their employees' wages. The unemployment benefit during short-time working scheme has been cancelled. You can apply for the NOW scheme from Monday 6 April through 31 May 2020.
- From 16 March 2020 to 1 April 2021, the SME credit guarantee (BMKB) scheme will be extended to help SMEs that are affected by the coronavirus secure bank guarantees and bridge financing. The extended scheme is referred to as BMKB-C.
- For agricultural entrepreneurs, the equivalent of the BMKB-C is the Credit Guarantee scheme for Agriculture (BL-C).
- The Business loan guarantee scheme (GO) has been extended.
- Self-employed professionals will be able to apply for an extra, temporary benefit for self-employed professionals (Tozo) to bridge the loss of income from 1 March onwards, in the municipality where they live.
- Entrepreneurs who have a loan from microcredit provider Qredits do not have to repay their loan for a period of 6 months. During this period, the interest will be reduced to 2%. The government supports Qredits with 6 million euros.
- The €4,000 Compensation for entrepreneurs in affected sectors scheme (TOGS) is now open for entrepreneurs in a number of specific sectors who have been affected by the coronavirus measures. You can apply to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (in Dutch). To find out if your business is eligible for the compensation, check the SBI code list (in Dutch). At the bottom of the page, there is a search tool (Zoektool SBI-codes) where you can enter your KVK number to find out your SBI code.
- The Incentive scheme eHealth at Home (SET). has been extended to make it easier for healthcare organisations that want to offer their clients eHealth solutions (such as video calls) to invest in apps, software or hardware. N.B.: As of 27 March, this subsidy is temporarily unavailable due to the unexpectedly large number of applications.
- The government will extend the export credit insurance facility. It will be possible for companies to get a short-term guarantee with a runtime of less than 2 years. Also, other conditions are being extended. Read the news article on Rijksoverheid.nl (in Dutch).
- The Dutch Trade and Investment Fund (DTIF) will be extended to include pre-delivery advances.
Tax options for entrepreneurs
Call the Tax Information Line
Since the information on the tax options offered to entrepreneurs during the coronavirus crisis is mostly only available 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.
It is also a good idea to ask someone - your accountant, for instance - to help you.
- You can apply for a payment extension for income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax, and turnover tax (VAT). The Dutch Tax Administration will put on hold any measures in place to collect payment immediately upon reception of your request.
- You will not have to pay any fines for late payment.
- The normal collection interest rate for paying after the payment term has passed has been decreased temporarily to nearly 0%. This applies to all tax debts. The tax interest rate will also temporarily be set to the lowest possible percentage for all entrepreneurs.
- The obligation for employers under the new Balance Employment Market Act, to report permanent employees' employment contracts before 1 April 2020, has been extended to 1 July 2020.
Read more about the Dutch Tax Administration measures to help entrepreneurs (in Dutch).
Apply for a reduction of your provisionary assessment
Do you expect lower profits due to the coronavirus, and are you currently paying a provisionary assessment for income tax or corporate income tax? You can change your provisionary assessment. If you want to change your income tax provisionary assessment, go to the online portal for individuals: MijnBelastingdienst (in Dutch); to change a corporate tax provisionary assessment go to the business portal: MijnBelastingdienst Zakelijk (in Dutch).
Regional Water Authority tax
Are you unable to pay the water authority tax in time? Most Regional Water Authorities allow you to apply for a temporary extension of payment. It has also been made easier to apply for a payment arrangement. See the article on Regional Water Authority tax for more information.
General measures to protect the public health
- All public events and meetings are cancelled until 1 June.
- All public places, like museums, concert halls, theatres, bars, restaurants, coffee shops, and sports clubs, are closed.
- Schools and universities are closed, at least until 6 April.
- People in so-called ‘vital professions’ may still go to work. Special arrangements are made for the schooling and daycare needs of the children of people in so-called ‘crucial professions’ (in Dutch). Contact your municipality or safety region for information, or check the RIVM and Rijksoverheid pages.
Travel restrictions during corona crisis
As of 19 March, there are travel restrictions in place for travel into the Netherlands. The restrictions apply to all non-EEA travellers without valid residence permits or visa, and will be in place for at least 30 days. Read the article on The Netherlands and you for full details on who is and who is not allowed to travel into the Netherlands.
To protect your employees, your clients, and yourself, follow the RIVM advice:
- Wash your hands regularly
- Cough and sneeze into the crook of your elbow
- Use paper tissues
- Don't shake hands
- Keep at least 6 feet distance from each other
Information and advice
You can turn to these organisations for further information and advice:
National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, RIVM
- National information phone: 0800-1351 (from abroad dial +312 0205 1351)
- Advice and information on the coronavirus
- Current information about the novel coronavirus COVID-19, including the map of its spread across the Netherlands
- Tackling new coronavirus in the Netherlands
- Frequently asked questions about coronavirus and health
- Frequently asked questions about measures and enforcement
Netherlands Chamber of Commerce (KVK)
- Advice and information on the coronavirus for entrepreneurs (in Dutch)
- Call the KVK Advice Team: +31 800 2117 (open Mon-Fri from 8:30-17:00 hours)
Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
World Health Organization (WHO)
FME, technology sector organisation