Due to the current COVID-19 situation and the new protective measures to prevent an emergency situation in the intensive care units (“4th lockdown”), the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) expects that in many economic areas a sudden decrease in sales and a liquidity shortage will occur. In order to prevent these negative economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and to enable entrepreneurs to bridge the current situation, the government enacted new COVID-19-related measures to defer tax payments.
This new legislative package includes special tax deferral arrangements (simplified application; no deferral interests until 31/1/2022) and the possibility of tax credits repayments despite tax liabilities until 31/12/2021. Furthermore, the option to redistribute the installments according to the COVID-19 installment payment model in phase 1 for a total of two times (previously this was possible once only) will be granted.
Already in previous periods of the COVID-19 pandemic deferrals of tax liabilities could be applied under simplified conditions to prevent negative economic effects (as already reported: Extension of COCID-19 Payment Facilities ). Due to the current critical situations, deferrals of tax liabilities shall be granted under the same terms and conditions – based on previous tax deferral arrangements, which were applicable until 30/6/2021. Therefore, tax authorities are supposed to grant all tax deferrals filled between 22/11/2021 and 31/12/2021 mandatorily (no discretion) until 31/1/2021, regardless of whether the immediate payment of the taxes constitutes a significant hardship for the taxpayer or whether the collectability of the taxes would be endangered by the deferral. Those deferral applications that have already been submitted since 22/11/2021, but before the new arrangements entered into legal force, must also be accepted mandatorily by the tax offices.
In addition, interest on tax deferrals will not be imposed until 31/1/2022. From 1/2/2022 to 30/6/2024 the interest rate on tax deferrals will be 2 % above the applicable base rate, which currently is at 1.38 % per year.
According to the currently applicable regulations regarding the COVID-19 installment payment model, a redistribution of the installment payments in the first phase (1/7/2021 until 30/9/2022) could be requested once. In order to enable all entrepreneurs to fulfill their obligations regarding the monthly installment payments, an additional request to redistribute the installment payments will be granted. Thus, taxpayers should be able to redistribute their installment payments through the first phase two times.
In addition, taxpayers who have applied for the COVID-19 installment payment model by June 2021 will – in line with the tax deferral interests – not be obligated to pay interest from 22/11/2021 until 31/1/2022.
Furthermore, as was already possible before 1/10/2020, taxpayers will be allowed to request a repayment of tax credits between the period from 22/11/2021 to 31/12/2021, regardless of tax deferrals and tax liabilities in their tax account. However, a repayment request regarding self-assessment taxes (e.g. tax credit regarding monthly VAT return) has to be filed via FinanzOnline on the same day the tax return is filed. In the case of other tax credits (e.g. assessed income tax credits) the repayment request can be filed within one month after the tax credit was assessed.
In order to prevent the COVID-19-related negative economic consequences, renewed arrangements to defer tax payments have been granted. The tax offices are supposed to grant all tax deferral requests filed between 22/12/2021 and 31/12/2021 – regardless the legal requirements regarding Sec 212 Fiscal Federal Code – mandatorily until 31/1/2022. In addition, interest on tax deferrals will not be imposed until 31/1/2022.
Furthermore, taxpayers now have an additional option to redistribute their installment payments regarding the COVID-19 installment payment model in the first phase. As a result, the installment payments can in total be redistributed two times within the first phase. This measure should help the entrepreneurs to bridge liquidity shortages and to ensure they can fulfill their payment obligations.
Last but not least, the taxpayers will be allowed to request a tax credit repayment until 31/12/2021 regardless of a tax liability in the tax account and regardless of a tax deferral.
Mag. Robert Rzeszut ist Partner im Bereich Steuerberatung/Tax Litigation bei Deloitte Österreich in Wien. Als Steuerberater betreut er sowohl große nationale und international tätige Unternehmensgruppen als auch Familienunternehmen und Privatpersonen. Er ist Experte für Abgaben-Verfahrensrecht und führt insbesondere komplizierte und umfangreiche Beschwerden und Revisionen an die Verwaltungsgerichte erster Instanz, an Höchstgerichte sowie internationale Verständigungsverfahren. Als zertifizierter Finanzstrafrechtsexperte ist er überdies auf Selbstanzeigen und finanzstrafrechtliche Verteidigung spezialisiert.