Coronavirus COVID-19

VAT COVID-19 measures

Bob van der Steen Bob van der Steen

Due to COVID-19 many countries offering some relief for paying and filing VAT. Please find an update of measures in the EU countries and the UK, Norway and Switzerland.

This list will be updated daily. Please note, we cannot guarantee completeness.

As this contains high level information, please contact your local advisor or the Grant Thornton Centre of Excellence in the Netherlands via, if you require more detailed information.


  • Austria Introduced a VAT payment and penalty deferment application scheme for businesses. Annual VAT return deadline extended to August 31, 2020.
  • Belgium Introduced a VAT payment and fling delay scheme, if difficulties are due to Covid-19.
  • Cyprus With regards to Cyprus, the draft bills were passed into Law on Friday evening and issued in the Government Gazette yesterday, albeit with some changes.

    For VAT returns relating to periods ending on 29th February 2020, 31st March 2020 and 30th April 2020, no penalty or interest will apply for late payment, subject to the condition that the VAT return is submitted on time in accordance with the provisions of the VAT Law, and the related payable tax is discharged until 10th November 2020.

    Taxable persons whose activity codes are 35111, 36001, 47111, 47112, 47191, 47211, 47221, 47221, 47231, 47241, 47242, 47301, 47411, 47611, 47621, 47651, 47731, 61101, 61301, 61901 are excluded from the aforementioned concession.

    The above activity codes broadly relate to:

    • Electricity generation;
    • Collection and distribution of water for irrigation;
    • Pharmacies;
    • Supermarkets, mini-markets and food retailers;
    • Petrol stations;
    • Computer hardware/software retailers;
    • Book, newspaper and stationery as well as toys/games retailers;
    • Internet services, satellite and other telecommunication services.

    The proposal to reduction of VAT rate was removed from the draft bill altogether, therefore there is no change at this point in the existing VAT rates (19% standard rate, 9% higher reduced rate, 5% lower reduced rate).


  • Czech Republic Limited VAT measures for businesses.
  • Denmark Introduced VAT filing and payments delays for all businesses
  • Estonia No tax interest is calculated from tax debt between 1.03-1.05. After that interest from tax debt is cut by 50% compared to normal.
  • Finland No late payment charges on VAT settlements, if caused by Covid-19
  • France VAT has been expressly excluded from the COVID-19 tax measures permitting French businesses to defer reporting and payment of certain taxes (i.e. CIT, payroll tax and certain local taxes, property tax, “CFE”, “CVAE”). Nevertheless, companies that experience difficulties to respect the deadlines for VAT filing and payment have been invited to contact their territorially competent French Tax Office to find an adapted solution.

    Finally, any company that wants the accelerated refund of a French VAT credit in 2020 may file a request with the French Tax Administration, signalling the urgency. The French Tax Offices have been given as instructions by the Ministry of Public Accounts to process VAT refund applications rapidly as these are part of their priority missions to enable continuity of business activities. VAT refunds will be accelerated.
  • Germany Businesses affected by the Covid-19 outbreak may apply for delayed VAT payments until End of 2020.
  • Greece Has given a four-month extension to pay VAT that falls due at the end of March and April for the registered types of business that have postponed their operations. Certain goods that serve against the pandemic, such as protective masks, soaps, antiseptic fluids, have been transferred to the hyper-reduced rate of 6%.  
  • Hungary In Hungary there were several government’s measures to counter the economic effect of the corona virus, but not in connection with VAT or invoicing. However, yesterday - having regard to the exceptional situation caused by the coronavirus - tax authority announced that amendment of the XSD-scheme to be uploaded to the Online Invoice system is postponed. Thus, instead of the originally declared due date of April 1st, 2020, the new 2.0 data structure will have to be used only from July 1st, 2020. Accordingly, the currently applicable 1.1 version can be applied for 3 additional months. However, the tax authority has emphasized, that the 2.0 system can already be used in the live environment, simultaneously with the previous version. Further, it was recommended that the taxpayers complete the switch to the new scheme as soon as possible.
  • Ireland Revenue will work with taxpayers to help resolve their tax payment difficulties and rather than hope that these payment difficulties fix themselves in time, they are encouraging affected businesses to take the following practical steps:
    • Taxpayers should continue to file all tax returns, e.g., bi-monthly VAT returns on time, and
    • Engage with Revenue as soon as possible where they are facing difficulties in paying tax liabilities
    • Interest on late payments of January/February VAT liabilities are to be suspended
    • All Revenue debt enforcement activity will also be suspended until further notice.
    • Revenue have also confirmed that the current tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months.
  • Italy: Introduced suspended payments for resident large businesses until end of March and for resident smaller enterprises end of June. Non-resident taxpayers must still meet 30 April filing deadline.
  • Latvia As of 1 April 2020, the SRS will refund the overpaid input VAT within 30 days after the deadline for submission of the VAT return. Possibility to split into maturities or postpone tax payments in government-designated sectors for up to three years if the delay of said tax payment is due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Lithuania Introduced VAT payment deferment and penalty waiver. The Tax Authorities have published a list of taxpayers who automatically (from March 16 until the end of the emergency) are exempt from default interest and their taxes are not being recovered. These companies will have two months to pay taxes or sign tax loan (interest-free) contract, after the emergency.
    Entrepreneurs who have not found themselves in the list, but who have also been adversely affected by COVID-19, can apply to their tax authorities for assistance with their business by submitting a simplified application.
  • Luxemburg No late filing penalties will be applied until further notice.
  • Malta VAT payment holiday for businesses and self-employed for March and April. VAT credit refunds will also be accelerated.
  • Netherlands Introduced application of VAT payment holidays to businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis. In practice: file your VAT return in time but don’t make the payment. Await for the assessment, and then apply for payment holidays.
    Postponed enforcement of non-EU exporter of record rules.
  • Norway 12% VAT rate to 8% on public transport, cinema, sporting and cultural events. Allows postponed payment from April 14 to June 10.
  • Poland Poland agreed to postpone SAF-T new reporting. The Big enterprises were obliged to implement new SAF since 1st April 2020. Now they will have the right to do this since 1st July 2020. Poland postponed till 1st July 2020 the implementation of the CN classification of goods for lower VAT rates, due to coronavirus crisis on order to give more time to taxpayers, it is postponed till end of June (and not as from April 1, 2020)
  • Portugal No penalties on late VAT payments for businesses affected by Covid-19.
  • Romania During the state of emergency, late payment interests and penalties will not be computed for the taxes and contributions due between the date when state of emergency was declared and 30 days after its cessation. The enforcement measures will stop or will not be initiated by the tax authorities, except for the cases when the liability subject to enforcement is resulted as a way of a criminal offence.
  • Slovenia Several options payment in instalments or deferral of tax.
  • Slovakia Introduced delays for VAT filings
  • Spain Introduced suspension of filing deadlines and announced VAT payment holidays for small businesses who apply for relief. The scheme is not available for large businesses (above €6m turnover) or if the VAT due is above €30k.
  • Sweden No late penalty and interest fine on VAT payments for up to one year.
  • Switzerland late interest on unpaid VAT is deferred.
  • UK
    • Clarity on the VAT payment deferral
      • The deferral period has been confirmed as 20 March to 30 June 2020.
      • Any VAT payments deferred will be due on or by 31 March 2021.
      • Deferral of VAT due is now available to non-established VAT registered businesses who will also be able to postpone their VAT payments until 31 March 2021.
      • HMRC have confirmed that businesses wishing to defer VAT payable do not need permission but do need to cancel Direct Debits as soon as possible to ensure payment is not taken automatically.
      • VAT Payments on Account (POA) are also eligible for deferral.
    • MTD “Digital Links” postponed until periods starting April 2021
      • HMRC has announced a deferment to the requirement to have “digital links” in place for Making Tax Digital by 1 April 2020.
      • Tax payers will now have until 1 April 2021 to have digital links in place.



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