Francisco Lorenzo Martínez
What legal and economic measures have been approved by the Government from the State of Alarm and how do they affect entrepreneurs (companies and the self-employed) and workers?
The exceptional situation decreed by Covid-19 supposes an unprecedented situation in our history with a direct impact on the economic activity of our country and globally.
From Balms Abogados and its multidisciplinary professional team, we are aware that it is very important to report on the measures that are being approved by the Government so that companies and freelancers can make the correct decisions and with this, being able to overcome this period of uncertainty, which will be temporary in any case.
With an unprecedented cessation of economic activity in Spain, today, Friday, 20th of March, we have known the closure that has been ordered by the Ministry of Health of tourist establishments, hotels, camping sites, tourist villas, etc. that must close their facilities in 7 calendar days (before the 26th of March), seasonal guests are allowed exceptionally without having to share common facilities.
The economic and financial measures that until now have been approved by the Government and published these days have been numerous and of very varied order, for this reason, Balms Abogados wants to offer you an explanatory summary that will be updated as new measures are approved by the Government.
The regulations approved and in force are as follows:
Royal Decree-Law 6/2020, of the 10th of March, by which certain urgent measures are adopted in the economic field and for the protection of public health.
Royal Decree-Law 7/2020, of the 12th of March, adopting urgent measures to respond to the economic impact of COVID-19.
Royal Decree-Law 8/2020, of the 17th of March, on extraordinary urgent measures to face the economic and social impact of COVID-19.
Royal Decree 465/2020, of the 17th of March, amending Royal Decree 463/2020, of the 14th of March, declaring the state of alarm for the management of the health crisis situation caused by COVID-19.
The approved economic measures can be grouped into five areas and are conditioned to guarantee employment and protect Health, namely:
1.- Fiscal. 2.- Financial. 3.- Labour. 4.- Mercantile. 5.-General and consumer.
1.- Fiscal-type measures
They all involve:
1.1 Deferral of tax debts
The Tax Agency has published a document with the instructions to request these new deferrals from the 12th of March to the 30th of May.
Within the scope of the powers of the State Tax Administration, for the purposes of the deferrals referred to in article 65 of the General Tax Law 58/2003, 17th of December, The deferral of the income of the tax debt corresponding to all those statements of liquidations and self-assessments whose filing and filing period ends between the 12th of March until the 30th of May 2020, both inclusive, will be granted, provided that the applications submitted up to that date meet the requirements referred to in article 82.2.a) of the previous Law.
This deferment will also apply to the following tax debts:
- Those corresponding to tax obligations that must be met by the withholding agent or the person required to make payments on account.
- Those derived from taxes that must be legally passed on unless it is duly justified that the fees paid have not been effectively paid.
- Those corresponding to tax obligations that the obligor must make in instalments of Corporation Tax.
It will be a necessary requirement for the granting of the postponement that the debtor is a person or entity with a volume of operations not exceeding € 6,010,121.04 in 2019.
The conditions of the postponement will be the following:
a) The term will be six months.
b) No default interest will be accrued during the first three months of the deferment.
1.2 Suspension of time limits in the tax field
According to what was reported by the AEAT, the deadlines for filing tax returns and self-assessments are not interrupted, which will continue for the time being and are mandatory.
The suspension of the terms and the interruption of the administrative deadlines established in the Royal Decree that declares the state of alarm, will not apply to the tax deadlines, subject to special regulations, nor will it affect, in particular, the deadlines for filing tax returns and self-assessments.
Likewise, the AEAT offices will be temporarily closed for face-to-face care.
Upon expired or soon to expire digital certificates, their use is authorized.
2.- Labour-type measures
They all involve:
2.1.- Exceptional consideration as a situation assimilated to an accident at work during periods of isolation or contagion of workers
In order to protect public health, a situation assimilated to an accident at work will be considered, exceptionally, exclusively for the financial benefit of temporary disability of the Social Security system, those periods of isolation or contagion of workers caused by the virus COVID-19.
In both cases, the duration of this exceptional benefit will be determined by the part of withdrawal due to isolation and the corresponding discharge.
The self-employed or third-party worker who is on the date of the causing event registered in any of the Social Security regimes may be entitled to this benefit.
The date of the causal event will be the date on which the isolation or illness of the worker is agreed, without prejudice to the fact that the leave is issued after that date.
2.2 SELF-EMPLOYED: Extraordinary benefit for cessation of activity for those affected by the declaration of alarm status.
The extraordinary benefit for cessation of activity approved for those affected by a declaration of the state of alarm is exceptional and has a limited duration of 1 month, from the entry into force of Royal Decree 463/2020, of the 14th of March, which declares the alarm state, or until the last day of the month in which said alarm state ends, if it continues for more than a month.
Requirements to be entitled to the benefit
Self-employed or self-employed workers will be entitled to extraordinary benefit for cessation of activity when one of these two situations occur:
- That its activities are suspended, according to the provisions of the aforementioned Royal Decree, or,
- when your billing in the month before which the benefit is requested is reduced by at least 75 per cent concerning the average billing for the previous semester.
In the first case, it must be taken into account if our declared activity is included in the List of activities suspended by the declaration of the state of alarm in the Royal Decree.
2.3 BUSINESS. RECORDS OF TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT REGULATION (ERTE). Flexibilized ERTE
The extraordinary measures approved focus on approving the flexibility of the temporary adjustment of activity mechanisms to avoid layoffs through the Temporary Employment Regulation File, ERTE.
The losses of the activity caused by the State of Alarm will be considered force majeure for the purposes of the suspension of contracts or the reduction of working hours and the processing of employment regulation procedures is expedited, both due to force majeure, as for economic, technical, organizational or production reasons.
The coverage of workers affected by an ERTE is strengthened, enabling them to have access to the contributory unemployment benefit.
2.4.1 Social security fees
In the records of suspension of contracts and reduction of working hours authorized based on temporary force majeure linked to COVID-19, the General Treasury of Social Security will exempt the company from the payment of the business contribution provided for in article 273.2 of the Consolidated Text of the General Law of Social Security, approved by Royal Legislative Decree 8/2015, of the 30th of October, as well as the one regarding quotas for joint collection concepts, while the period of suspension of contracts or reduction of working hours authorized based on said cause when the company, on the 29th of February 2020, had fewer than 50 workers registered in Social Security.
If the company had 50 workers or more, registered in Social Security, the exemption from the obligation to contribute will reach 75% of the business contribution.
2.4 Right of adaptation of the schedule and reduction of working hours for employed persons related to the actions necessary to avoid the community transmission of COVID-19.
Workers employed by others who prove care duties concerning the spouse or domestic partner, as well as for relatives by blood relationship up to the second degree of the worker, will have the right to access the adaptation of their working day and/or the reduction thereof in the foreseen terms, when there are exceptional circumstances related to the actions necessary to avoid the community transmission of COVID-19.
It is important to have the “Guide to action in the workplace in relation to the new coronavirus”, published by the Ministry of Labour and Social Economy.
3.- Mercantile-type measures
3.1 Extraordinary measures applicable to commercial companies, civil companies, foundations, associations and cooperative societies
The following should be highlighted:
1.- Holding of sessions of government and administration bodies of commercial entities, cooperatives and foundations. They can be made by videoconference to ensure their authenticity and bilateral or plurilateral connection. It shall be understood to be held at the registered office.
2.- The Agreements of the Government bodies. They may be adopted in writing and without a session if the President decides or at least two members of the body request it. The provisions of art. 100 of RD 1784/1996, 19th OF JULY, which approves the Mercantile Registry, even if it is not a mercantile company.
4.- Financial-type measures
4.1 State guarantees for companies and freelancers
Approval of a line of guarantees on behalf of the State for companies and the self-employed of up to 100,000 million euros, covering both the renewal of loans and new financing by credit institutions, credit financial institutions, electronic money entities and payment entities, to meet their needs derived, among others, from the management of invoices, the need for currency or other liquidity needs, including those derived from maturities of financial or tax obligations, to facilitate the maintenance of employment and mitigate the economic effects of COVID-19.
It is recommended to check the ICO lines of credit that the Government will put into operation these days or check with banks.
There are no specific grants for SMEs to date or freelancers.
5.- General and consumer measures
These measures involve:
5.1 Guarantee in the maintenance of electronic communications services and broadband connectivity.
5.2 Interruption of the term for the return of products during the state of alarm.