With the draft bill for the 2nd COVID-19-Act the government introduced inter alia the previously announced relief for taxpayers with regard to procedural tax deadlines as well as deadlines regarding fiscal penal law procedures. It is intended to suspend explicitly enumerated deadlines until May 1, 2020. Furthermore, the Austrian Stamp Duty Act (“Gebührengesetz“) will be amended to allow for a comprehensive exemption from fees and duties. Furthermore, the deadline for tax returns 2018 shall be extended until August 31, 2020. It is expected that the law will enter into force within the next few days.
Suspension of deadlines.
For the purpose of legal protection of the taxpayers under the current circumstances, the draft bill includes an amendment of both the Austrian Fiscal Code and the Austrian Fiscal Penal Act. The period of specific deadlines which are regulated by law shall be suspended. According to the draft bill, the suspension should apply to the following deadlines:
- the deadline for filing an appeal (“Beschwerde”; concerning tax as well as fiscal penal law procedures );
- the deadline for filing an objection (“Einspruch“);
- the deadline for filing a declaration for filing an appeal (“Anmeldung einer Beschwerde”);
- the deadline for filing a request for referral (“Vorlageantrag”); as well as
- the deadline for filing a complaint against coercive measures (“Maßnahmenbeschwerde“).
The deadline for filing an application for deferred payment as well as the deadline for filing an application for the annulment of a tax assessment pursuant to Sec 299 Austrian Fiscal Code (within one year after notification) are not affected by the draft bill. With regard to the application for deferred payment the MoF announced that in case a taxpayer is directly affected by the current situation tax authorities should grant the deferment until September 30, 2020. Additionally, no interest on deferred payments shall be levied.
Furthermore, the BMF announced that the deadline for the filing of tax returns for 2018 will generally be postponed to August 31st, 2020.
Modified time limits.
The intended relief will concern deadlines that were still open on March 16, 2020, or which started/start running between March 16 and April 30, 2020. The concerned deadlines are planned to be suspended until May 1, 2020 and will start anew beginning May 1, 2020. In case the announced measures by the Austrian government in connection with Covid-19 are still in effect after this date, the Ministry of Finance (BMF) can prolong the special regulations.
Please note that the tax authorities as well as the fiscal penal authorities may under certain circumstances order in a respective procedure that the suspension does not affect an otherwise concerned deadline. In such case the authorities have to notify the respective parties as well as order a new, reasonable deadline.
Exemption from the Austrian Stamp Duty Act.
To offer financial relief for the taxpayers, no fees shall be levied for the application for emergency support in the context of COVID-19. The exemption shall be in effect retroactively beginning March 1, 2020.
Grants related to Covid-19.
In addition the draft bill, the BMF announced that grants taxpayer receive because of the current situation would be treated as tax-free. Expenses that are financed by those grants remain deductible as business expenses. This regulation shall apply to grants from the “Covid-19-Krisenbewältigungsfonds“ as well as from the “Härtemittelfonds“ as well as from other sources related to mitigating the impact of the current situation.
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Deloitte advisor.
More articles relating to COVID-19:
- Liquidity constraints due to corona virus – Ministry of Finance and Social Security Agencies facilitate deferral and reduction of tax prepayments and social security contributions by application
- Corona: Governmental restrictions lead to complex legal and tax issues
- Further simplifications for deferral of tax prepayments and social security contributions
- COVID-19: Possible labour law implications and subsequent options for employees
- Closed Shops and Empty Offices in Times of the Corona Crisis
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