SME credit guarantee scheme (BMKB)

If you have a business in the Netherlands and employ no more than 250 workers (you have an SME), you may be eligible for a guarantee for part of a loan through the SME credit guarantee scheme (BMKB). The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy stands as guarantor. This will enable you to borrow more than would otherwise be possible based on your collateral.

The bank and other possible funders are covered by the government’s SME credit guarantee scheme.

Corona crisis: Extension SME credit guarantee scheme

The SME credit guarantee scheme (BMKB) has been extended (in Dutch) to deal with the economic consequences of the corona crisis:

  • Businesses can use the BMKB for a bridging credit, or to increase their overdraft (how much they are allowed to be in the red) on their current account.
  • The credit guarantee has been increased from 50% to 75%. This enables banks to extend credit more easily and quickly, and businesses to lend more money faster.
  • The BMKB interest percentage is lowered from 3.9% to 2% for a maximum period of 8 quarters and 3% for a period of 9 to 16 quarters.
  • The BMKB guarantee budget is increased from €765 million to €1.5 billion.
  • Accreditation becomes available to financiers other than banks, to enable them to finance their clients using this extended BMKB scheme.

Dutch Caribbean

This measure is also open to agricultural entrepreneurs, including the fisheries and aquaculture sectors, in the Dutch Caribbean.

In the Netherlands agricultural and horticultural entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the fisheries and aquaculture sectors can apply to the – also extended – Credit Guarantee Scheme for Agriculture (BL).

PFAS and nitrogen

The government offers extra support within the BMKB scheme to SMEs whose turnover relies for at least 20% on activities affected by the PFAS and nitrogen developments (in Dutch). The government can be guarantor for a larger credit sum. You can make use of this extra support until and including 31 December 2020.

When do you qualify?

To be eligible for the SME credit guarantee scheme, you must fulfil various conditions, including the following:

  • Your business is established in the Netherlands, Bonaire, Saba or St. Eustatius.
  • Your business has up to 250 FTE employees.
  • Your business has an annual revenue of up to €50 million or has a balance sheet total of up to €43 million.
  • Your company has been established for over 3 years.

The scheme offers extra opportunities for innovative companies and startups (in Dutch). It is also open to entrepreneurs who want to start businesses in Bonaire, Saba and St. Eustatius.

How to apply?

Entrepreneurs do not apply for the SME Credit Guarantee themselves. They simply apply for a loan from one of the participating banks or other funders (in Dutch), which in turn submits an application for the SME credit guarantee from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO). A special webportal (partly in Dutch) is available for funders with all relevant information.

Business loan guarantee scheme (GO)

The Business loan guarantee scheme (Garantie Ondernemingsfinanciering, GO) makes it easier for large and medium-sized companies in the Netherlands to borrow substantial amounts of money. Capital providers receive a 50% guarantee from the government. The term for the Business loan guarantee scheme (in Dutch) is maximum 8 years.

Corona crisis: temporary extension of GO

The Business loan guarantee scheme has been extended (GO) to help businesses deal with the corona crisis. The amount for which the government stands as guarantor has been increased to €150 million. The maximum guarantee percentage has been increased from 50% to 80% for large companies (public limited companies, nv) and to 90% for SMEs. The GO guarantee ceiling has been raised to €10 billion.

When do you qualify?

To qualify for the GO Business loan guarantee scheme (in Dutch), the following criteria must be met:

  • Your company has its registered office in the Netherlands. The commercial activities are conducted primarily in the Netherlands.
  • You have a healthy company.
  • Your business has reasonable profitability and continuity prospects.
  • The financing qualifies as Fresh Money (in Dutch).
  • In the last 12 months, no excessive capital withdrawals from your company have taken place.
  • You are only requesting GO financing for your own company activities.

How to apply for the GO-scheme?

You don’t apply for the GO-scheme yourself. Your financier can apply for you if they participate in the GO-scheme (in Dutch). The financier submits the application to the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO).

Tax and Customs Administration corona measures for businesses and employers

The Dutch Tax and Customs Administration has implemented a number of measures to help businesses and employers with payment difficulties due to the corona crisis, and to avoid extra costs. This page lists measures for businesses in general and employers in particular, and gives information on the Customs measures for entrepreneurs during the corona crisis.

Tax measures as of 1 October

These tax measures will be extended after 1 October:

  • Businesses that have applied for payment extensions for taxes will have 2 years to pay their taxes after the extension period has ended;
  • The interest rate on tax collection will remain close to zero.

https://business.gov.nl/corona/financial-support-measures/tax-and-customs-administration-corona-measures-for-businesses-and-employers/

Tax and Customs Administration corona measures for businesses

Payment extension for several taxes

You can apply for a payment extension of 3 months for all your income tax, corporate tax, payroll tax, and turnover tax (VAT) assessements at once, by filling out an online form (in Dutch). You need a DigiD for this, but if you don’t have one, you can ask an employee or a financial advisor to login for you, using their DigiD. You will need to fill out your RSIN number or your citizen service number (BSN), so keep these ready. The Dutch Tax Administration will put on hold any measures in place to collect payment immediately upon reception of your request. You can also change your provisional assessment, to lower your financial obligations.

You can also apply for payment extension of several other taxes and duties: excise dutylandlord levy, environmental taxes, insurance premium tax, and betting and lottery tax.

Lower tax interest rates

The tax collection interest rate was lowered from 4% to nearly 0% at the beginning of the corona crisis. It will remain nearly 0% until 1 December 2021. Tax collection interest is the interest you pay over a tax debt.

The tax interest rate was also lowered, from 8% (corporate income tax) or 4% (other taxes) to nearly 0%. From 1 October 2020, the tax interest rate will be increased to 4% for all taxes, including corporate income tax. Tax interest is the interest you pay if the Tax Administration cannot assess your tax return in time, for instance because you have filed your return too late or incorrectly.

No tax on TOGS and TVL

No tax will be levied on the funds you have received under the schemes Reimbursement for businesses affected by the corona measures (TOGS) and Reimbursement for Fixed Costs SMEs (TVL).

No VAT on face masks

You do not have to pay VAT on the supply of face masks in the period 26 May – 31 December 2020. If you sell face masks, you may continue to deduct pre-tax. The government takes this measure to make face masks more cheaply available, as the use of face masks has been mandatory in public transport since 1 June.

VAT rules eased to help the care sector

Businesses that second care personnel or donate medical equipment or devices will not have to deal with the usual VAT rules concerning these actions. This will ease the administrative and financial burden in the care sector.

Also, the low VAT tariff of 9% applies to cotton tips and bandaging materials used for medical purposes, such as COVID-19 testing. These measures are in place from 16 March through 31 December 2020.

Online sports lessons back to normal VAT tariff

On 1 July, sport schools re-opened. For that reason, the temporary low VAT tariff of 9% no longer applies to online lessons. The low tariff applied from 16 March – 1 July.

Hours criterion relaxed

Some tax deduction schemes such as private business ownership allowanceworking partner’s abatement and retirement reserve require a minimum number of 1,225 hours spent working in your company per year, or approximately 24 hours per week. The corona crisis may make it impossible for businesses to meet this criterion. For that reason, you are allowed to claim you have spent 24 hours a week on your business during the period 1 March – 1 September, even if you have not.

Corona reserve for corporate tax 2020

The Tax Administration will allow businesses to deduct losses from their profits in the 2019 corporate tax return. This way, businesses can build a corona reserve. This may help to keep your cash flow at an acceptable level.

Customary salary for DGA’s lowered

If you are a director or major shareholder (DGA) in your company, you have to meet a so-called customary salary (‘gebruikelijk loon’), over which your company levies payroll taxes. For 2020, it will be possible to lower your customary salary proportionate to your company’s turnover loss. This means you will have to levy less payroll tax.

More time for some changes in legal structure, mergers or divisions

In some cases, you can take more time to change your company’s legal structure or to arrange a company merger or division. See the conditions (in Dutch) on the Tax Administration website.

More information

See the Dutch Tax Administration website (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. 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).

Tax and Customs Administration corona measures for employers

No tax on reimbursement for face masks

As of 1 June, face masks are mandatory in public transport. If you reimburse your employees for the costs of these face masks, you may do so free of tax.

Measures to ensure low unemployment benefit premiums

The Tax Administration has extended the period during which employers can record permanent contracts, so that they avoid having to pay high unemployment benefit premiums under the Balance Employment-Market Act (Wab). Also, employers will not have to pay high unemployment benefit premiums for permanent staff who have worked more than 30% overtime in 2020.

Payroll taxes and travel allowance rules eased

These rules have been temporarily eased:

  • Payroll taxes for employees who live or work across the Belgian or German border;
  • Travel allowances for employees who have to work from home;
  • Payroll tax administration.

Extension of discretionary scope work-related cost scheme

The work-related cost scheme enables you to use part of the fiscal wages for tax-free allowances, benefits in kind and provisions for your employees. The percentage you can use (the discretionary scope or ‘vrije ruimte’) is increased from 1.7% to 3% for wages of up to €400,000. For fiscal wages of over €400,000 the scope remains 1.2%. You can use the extension to award your employees a courtesy gift, or home working equipment.

More information

See the Dutch Tax Administration website (in Dutch).

Customs and corona

Customs supports businesses with a set of measures. Read about these measures. Do you import or export face masks or other protective equipment? Read the Customs article on this subject.

Check the Corona – consequences for your customs affairs page regularly for updates.

Corona crisis: tax payment extension and repayments

Tax payment extension at the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration

To help entrepreneurs, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (Belastingdienst) has relaxed the options for payment extensions. Businesses can apply for tax payment extensions until 1 October, including the taxes they were already granted a 3 month extension for. You won’t have to pay all your taxes in one go. Also, the Tax Administration will not impose fines for late payments until that date.

After 1 October

You can apply for the special corona-related tax payment extension until 1 October. This extension will be for 3 months. After that, so 1 January 2021 at the latest, you will have to start paying the taxes you are due. You will be given a 2-year period to do so. On the Tax and Customs Administration website, you will find more information (in Dutch) on what happens after the special tax payment extension ends.

Request tax payment extension for multiple taxes at once

You can apply for postponement of payment for the following tax assessments at once:

  • Income tax
  • Healthcare Insurance Act
  • Corporation tax
  • Payroll taxes
  • VAT (Turnover tax)

You can choose if you want to apply for a deferral of other taxes. You must continue to file a tax return for all your taxes.

You can request a 3-month extension online and in writing.

Apply online for a special 3-month extension of payment

You need your DigiD to apply for postponement online. As a self-employed professional, sole trader or partner in a partnership, you also need your citizen service number (BSN).

For other legal structures you must use your RSIN (Legal Entities and Partnerships Information Number). The RSIN is, for example, stated on the extract from the Netherlands Chamber of Commerce. This is a number you have received when you registered your business with the KVK.

Request a tax payment extension for more than €20,000

If you want to request a postponement for a total tax debt of over €20,000, you must send a letter to the Dutch Tax and Customs Authorities. In the letter, you provide information about the impact of the corona crisis on your company and enclose a statement from a third-party expert. A third-party expert is someone from outside your organisation who declares that you have payment problems of due to the corona crisis. Your tax advisor or accountant are examples of third-party experts.

Request postponement

Read how to request postponement on Belastingdienst.nl (in Dutch).

Decrease provisional assessment

If you pay a monthly provisional assessment for income or corporate tax, you can lower it if you expect less income in the near future. Are your earnings increasing again? Make sure that you change your provisional assessment. This prevents you from having to pay additional costs with your final assessment.

Decrease provisional assessment

Read on Belastingdienst.nl how you can change your provisional assessment (in Dutch).

Unblocking the g-account for payroll taxes and VAT

Companies that post, lend or second employees and use g-accounts, can ask the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration to have these accounts unlocked. Due to the corona crisis, the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration can also temporarily release amounts that are reserved for (additional) assessments of payroll taxes or VAT.

Unblocking the g-account

Read on Belastingdienst.nl how to unblock the g-account (in Dutch).

Deferral of other taxes

Municipal taxes and water board taxes

You can request postponement for the regional water authority taxes at most water authorities. There are also several extensions for municipal taxes if you are experiencing financial problems due to the coronavirus. Examples are tourist tax, waste tax and sewerage charge. Ask your municipality about the conditions.

Request postponement

You apply for deferment of payment from your regional water authorities.

Energy tax and ODE

Participating energy suppliers can delay your monthly energy tax (EB), sustainable energy surcharge (ODE) and VAT payments. This is only possible if you receive a monthly final invoice from your energy supplier on which the actual consumption of the electricity and /or gas is stated. You will be granted a postponement for the months of April, May and June. The deferred tax will be charged in October 2020.

Request a postponement

Your energy supplier can grant this extension. Keep an eye on your supplier’s communication. Read more about the postponement of Energy Tax and ODE.

Postpone your payments

Banks

Do you have a business loan from the bank? Several banks grant their customers postponement of 6 months on loans of up to €2.5 million.

Request a postponement

Ask your bank what the arrangements and options are.

Mortgage repayments

  • Your bank can grant you a mortgage payment break of 6 months, which will unburden you both in interest and repayments. Normally, you would have to catch up the repayments before 31 December 2021. Given the exceptional circumstances, it will be made possible for you to spread the eventual repayments over alonger period (for instance, over the entire mortgage period, or over a period of a few years). Discuss your options with your bank.

Microcredit

Qredits provides microcredits to small businesses and self-employed professionals. Entrepreneurs who have a loan will receive a 6 month repayment extension for their loan. Qredits also reduces interest to 2% over this period.

Request a postponement

Contact Qredits to apply for postponement.

Proof-of-concept funding (VFF) and Innovation credit

Do you use proof-of-concept funding or an Innovation Credit? If you have financial problems as a result of the corona crisis, you can receive postponement of repayment and interest for the period from 1 April to 1 October. The interest for VVF is temporarily discontinued for this period.

Request a postponement

You will receive a letter from the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) explaining how to apply for postponement.

Sector organisations

Are you a member of a sector organisation? Several sector organisations have prepared templates for requests for extensions of payment for rent, loans and other financial obligations. Or they offer advice and help to businesses that encounter difficulties when asking for payment extensions. Contact your sector organisations to find out how they can help you.

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.

Debt restructuring

If you are no longer able to pay your debts and you are a sole trader, partner in a partnership (maatschap or vennootschap) or a freelancer/self-employed professional, then you are personally liable for your business’s debts.

There are two ways to apply for debt restructuring:

  • You can appeal to your municipality for debt restructuring.
  • If this fails you can appeal to court for debt restructuring.

If your inability to pay your debts is temporary, you can apply for suspension of payment.

Voluntary debt restructuring

When you appeal for voluntary debt restructuring, a debt counsellor will help you. Debt counsellors are appointed through your municipality, social services or a specialist company. They help you find a solution for repaying your debts with your creditor or creditors. This is called a voluntary payment arrangement.

Voluntary payment arrangement

When you enter the voluntary payment arrangement, you start by drawing up a plan with your debt counsellor. He or she will calculate how much you can repay per month. After that, the debt counsellor will propose a monthly repayment to your creditor or creditors.

If your creditors agree to a voluntary payment arrangement and you have done your utmost to pay back as much as possible within 36 months, the rest of the debt will be cancelled.

Compulsory settlement

If 1 or more creditors do not agree to a voluntary payment agreement and their refusal to agree is unreasonable, you can request a compulsory settlement.

Statutory debt restructuring

If voluntary debt restructuring fails you can ask the court in your place of residence for a statutory debt restructuring arrangement. This can be done under the Natural Persons Debt Restructuring Act (Wet schuldsanering natuurlijke personen, Wsnp). The Wsnp is a legal debt restructuring arrangement, that makes it possible for you to be debt-free within 36 months. When you appeal to the Wnsp, you will almost certainly have to end your business.

Conditions of the Natural Persons Debt Restructuring Act (Wsnp)
  • You can no longer pay your debts
  • You have a statement from your municipality that voluntary debt restructuring failed
  • You have not made use of Wsnp in the past 10 years
  • You have not run up debts deliberately in the past 5 years, e.g. through fines, fraud or reckless spending
  • None of your debts was incurred through crime
  • You comply with the Wsnp requirements
  • You try to earn as much as possible to repay your creditors
  • Your creditors will have to cooperate with the debt restructuring arrangement. If the court rejects your application, you can appeal to the Court of Appeal. For this you will require a lawyer.
  • If you do not have adequate knowledge of the Dutch language, you must make sure to have help in translating all correspondence
Debt restructuring plan

If the court approves your application for statutory debt restructuring, it will draw up a plan to reschedule your debts. This will set out the repayment amount and the length of time that the process will cover. This is usually 3 to 5 years.

Administrator

The court will appoint an administrator. You must inform the administrator about everything that might be relevant for your situation. Often the adminstrator will sell your company’s assets. The administrator will calculate how much money you will live on. All income that exceeds this sum will go into an estate account. He or she uses this account to repay your creditors, and his or her own fee.

Please note: if the administrator was unable to locate all creditors, any leftover amounts may be stored in the so-called Consignatiekas (consignment office, in Dutch). This deposit with the Ministry of Finance stores leftover (monetary) funds from, among others, bankruptcies and debt restructuring settlements for a period of 20 years. If you have a legitimate claim and have proof of this, you can file your claim through the Ministry of Finance (in Dutch). You can search the Ministry’s database (in Dutch) to find out if there are any funds left after a bankruptcy or debt restructuring settlement of your customer.

Bankruptcy

The administrator will check whether you meet your obligations. If you fail to conform to the Wnsp obligations, the administrator, the bankruptcy judge or the creditor can ask the court to suspend the arrangement. The judge can then pronounce bankruptcy.

Clean slate

If you have met all statutory debt restructuring obligations the judge will grant you a clean slate at the end of the agreed upon period. This means you will not have to repay the remaining debt.

Attachment of earnings order

Does your employee have debts? And is your employee unable to repay those debts? Then the court bailiff can seize part of your employee’s wages. This is called attachment of earnings order.

Cross-border cases in English

If you are involved in a cross-border solvency case, you can turn to the Netherlands Commercial Court. Cases can be heard by the Netherlands Commercial Court, in the following cases, if:

  • the proceedings fall under the jurisdiction of the Amsterdam District Court or Amsterdam Court of Appeal;
  • the parties have expressly agreed in writing that proceedings will be in English before the NCC (the ‘NCC agreement’);
  • the action is a civil or commercial matter within the parties’ autonomy;
  • the matter concerns an international dispute.
Financial support for self-employed professionals (Bbz)
Corona crisis: extra support for self-employed professionals

There is an extra, temporary Bbz benefit to support self-employed professionals who have gotten into financial difficulties due to the corona crisis. This measure is called the Temporary bridging measure for self-employed professionals (Tozo) Read more about the terms and application process for the Tozo.

When are you eligible for Bbz?

Different groups of freelancers/self-employed persons are eligible:

  • those starting a company, who receive: welfare (in Dutch), unemployment benefit or incapacity benefit;
  • established entrepreneurs who are experiencing temporary financial problems;
  • entrepreneurs who are 55 or older with a non-viable company;
  • entrepreneurs who wish to end their company.
Changes in support

The government has made some changes in financial support for self-employed professionals and freelancers:

  • The scheme for over-55-year-olds is to be gradually scaled down from 1 January 2020;
  • If you are a skipper on an inland waters and you need financial support, you will need to apply to the municipality where you live rather than the centralised administrative body of municipalities, which used to be the case;
  • As of 2020, this financial support is no longer awarded retrospectively.

These changes do not affect entrepreneurs who currently use this support scheme.

When do you qualify?

Whether you are eligible for financial support as a freelancer/self-employed professional depends on your situation. As does the type of support you require. There are different requirements for each situation. For instance your personal capital determines whether your company capital is a grant or a loan (which you have to pay interest on). It is important to check which requirements apply to your situation. Your local municipality can help you with this.

How to apply?

Submit your application to your local municipal authority.

Compensation

Under the Tax Plan 2019, freelancers/self-employed professionals who received financial support between 2014 and 2016 are eligible for compensation, because they were required to add the financial support as a grant to their income in their income tax returns. As a result other benefits were withdrawn. You can apply for this compensation until 1 July 2020 with the Dutch Tax and Customs Administration (in Dutch).