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AN ENTREPRENEUR IN COVID TIMES | FAQ

blog - 16 min.

Frequently Asked Questions about the COVID-19 crisis for entrepreneurs & freelancers

COVID 19 and the Dutch government

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 affect your business and your employees. The measures announced on 12, 17, 23, and 31 March, to curb the spreading of the coronavirus, mean significant loss of turnover for many businesses. The Dutch government is taking measures to help entrepreneurs affected by the crisis. Within this article we elaborate further on the NOW measurement (for companies)  and the TOZO measurements (for freelancers). Furthermore we have listed an overview of all the measurements  by the Dutch government, they can be applicable to your situation.

COVID 19 – I have a company

Do you employ staff, and expect a turnover loss of at least 20 percent? You can claim a compensation towards wages for a period of 3 months from NOW: Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment. You can claim a maximum of 90 percent of wages, depending on how much turnover you lose. Please read below for a full explanation.

The NOW-scheme replaces the unemployment benefit during short-time working. You can no longer apply for unemployment benefit during short-time working

Please note: You can apply for this compensation from 6 April 2020.

COVID 19 – I am a freelancer (zzp)

The Temporary bridging measure for self-employed professionals (Tozo) offers support for self-employed professionals who are experiencing financial difficulties due to the corona crisis. Tozo is based on the  Decree on Assistance to the Self-Employed. The scheme comes into effect with retroactive effect on 1 March 2020, and will remain in place until 1 June 2020 at least.

Please note: You can apply for TOZO support to the municipality where you live.

COVID 19 – The Next Women

We at The Next Women are in the midst of supporting (female) entrepreneurs more then ever. Along with Start Up Amsterdam we have created a survey (LINK https://thenextwomen.com/an-entrepreneur-in-covid-times-survey/) to further understand what we, the community and the municipality can do for you during these uncertain times. For any further question about COVID 19 and your company please feel free to contact The Next Women at info@thenextwomen.com

COVID 19 – Company

What is NOW?
Due to extraordinary circumstances, like the coronavirus, you have less or no work for your employees. You can claim NOW for a substantial compensation for their wages. In this way, you can continue to pay employees with permanent and temporary contracts. The Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) will pay you an advance.

You can claim the compensation for 3 months, with the possibility to extend it for a further 3 months. You can claim the compensation for turnover you have missed from 1 March onwards.

Other costs for employees in addition to wages are also compensated with the NOW. This applies to costs such as pension premiums (both the part for employees and employers), employee insurance premiums and the accrual of holiday allowance. Only the accrual of holiday allowance of the months March, April and May is compensated. UWV applies the same surcharge of 30% on top of the wages for all employers.

You may also use the NOW if your company experiences turnover loss due to other causes than the coronavirus outbreak.

Conditions if you want to claim NOW

> If you claim NOW, you will not be allowed to request permission to dismiss employees on economic grounds during the period for which you receive compensation.

> You expect to lose at least 20% turnover.

> You claim compensation for 3 months, with the possibility to extend it once, for a further 3 months (extra conditions may apply to an extension application).

> NOW is compensation for turnover you have missed from 1 March 2020 onwards.

> You will need to submit a statement from an accountant for claims that exceed a certain amount (the height of which is yet to be established).

How much compensation for wages can you claim?
The compensation for wages you can claim depends on the turnover loss. You can claim a maximum of 90% of the wage costs, this included employee insurance schemes (unemployment benefit WW), sickness benefits (ZW) and WIA benefits.

For example:

> If the turnover loss is 100%, the compensation will amount to 90% of wages
> If the turnover loss is 50%, the compensation will amount to 45% of wages
> If the turnover loss is 25%, the compensation will amount to 22.5% of wages

The formula is:

A x B x 3 x 1,3 x0.9
A = % of the drop in turnover
B = the wage costs, taking into account the total wage costs of employees paid by the employer for it to be not higher than € 9,538 gross.

Based on your application, the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV) will pay you an advance of 80% the expected compensation. The actual turnover loss will be determined afterwards. When determining the definitive compensation, a correction can be made, if there has been a decrease in wages.

How are “wage costs” established?
For determining  the wage costs, data from the payroll tax return to the Dutch ta authorities is used. The UWV will work with these numbers and will compare the compensation period with the wage costs of January 2020. If this information is not available the wage costs of November 2019 are taken into account. In case this information is not present, no compensation can be granted.

The UWV used the so called wage for social insurance purposes from current employment as the basis. Additional expenses and costs such as employer pension contributions and holiday allowance are also compensated. To speed up the application process, a surcharge for employers’ contribution of 30% applies for all cases.

What is implied by turnover?
Turnover means the net-turnover, which concerns the process from the supply of good and services from the business of the legal entity, minus discounts and such, of tax levied on turnover. Proceeds are income from the normal activities of a business. This means that turnover is recognized as the activities relating to the supply of good and services for a specific customer with whom a (sales) contact has been concluded.

How do you apply?
You apply to the Employee Insurance Agency (UWV). UWV strives to handle requests from 6 April 2020. If you fulfil the requirements you will get an advance payment within 2 to 4 weeks, but please note that the official respond time of UWV is 13 weeks, but they have received the order to this within 2-4 weeks. As soon the website where you can apply is online, it will be announced. In the meantime make sure that you have your numbers in place so that you apply as soon as possible.

Can you still apply for unemployment benefit during short-time working (wtv)?
No, that is no longer possible. If you have already applied for wtv, your application will automatically be considered as an application for the NOW. You will be notified about this. Also, additional information will be requested from you.

Until when is my current wtv permit effectual?
If you have already been granted a wtv permit, this permit will remain in force.

What do I do if I want to extend my current wtv permit?
If you already have a wtv permit and want to extend it afterwards, you must apply for the NOW.

Why did NOW replaced the wtv measurement?
The Temporary Emergency Bridging Measure for Sustained Employment (NOW) has come into force due to an unprecedented number of applications for wtv permits. The wtv scheme is not tailored to the profound effects of the corona virus outbreak on Dutch companies and organisations. That is why the wtv scheme has been withdrawn. The government wants to support more employers and do this more quickly. This is feasible with the NOW.


COVID 19 – Freelancer
The Temporary bridging measure for self-employed professionals (Tozo) offers support for self-employed professionals who are experiencing financial difficulties due to the corona crisis. The scheme comes into effect with retroactive effect on 1 March 2020, and will remain in place until 1 June 2020 at least. You can apply for the support to the municipality where you live.

What is the Tozo?
The support consists of:

Income support, depending on the income and your household situation this can amount to a maximum of €1,500 (net). You do not have to repay, and there is no capital or partner test.

and/or

A loan for business capital to a maximum amount of €10,157. You do have to repay this loan, but it is possible to request a delay of your payment obligation and the interest rates are lower than normally under the Bbz.

Accelerated procedure for the self-employed

The viability test will be skipped. This means your request will be processed quicker. You will receive income support for a maximum of 3 months within 4 weeks. If there is an excessive rush on the scheme, and the process takes longer, the municipality can give you an advance.

What are the terms and conditions of the extra support for self-employed professionals?
You apply for the extra support (Tozo) to the municipality where you live, if you have been experiencing financial difficulties from 1 March 2020 due to the corona crisis.

These are the requirements:

> you are an established self-employed professional, ages between 18 and retirement age
> you live and reside in the Netherlands legitimately
> your nationality is Dutch or equalled
> you practice your business or profession in the Netherlands
> you meet the legal requirements for being a business owner, for instance you are registered in the Commercial Register (Handelsregister)
> you started your company before 17 March 2020, you meet the hours criterion (a minimum of 1,225 hours per year are put into > your company or professional activities)
> you live in the municipality where you apply

How to apply for Tozo?
You apply for the Temporary bridging measure for self-employed professionals (Tozo) to the municipality where you live. Check your municipality’s website for more information. It is not necessary to apply immediately. Your municipality will be better able to deal with all applications if they do not come in all at once. The scheme comes into effect with retroactive effect on 1 March 2020, and will remain in place until 1 June 2020 at least.

What do I need in order to apply for Tozo?
In order to apply in an efficient manner for Tozo please have the following documents near you:

> Digi D and password
> Chamber of Commerce number of your company
> Bank accounts
> Revenue numbers

Please be informed that not all freelance activities fall under the Tozo arrangements.

COVID 19 – 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. 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 listExternal link (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 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

> 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 a special 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 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.

DOWNLOAD  COVID 19 FAQ HERE

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