Measures for economy support during COVID-19 pandemic

06/05/2020
Measures for economy support during COVID-19 pandemic

In order to minimize the influence of the worldwide epidemiological crisis on the economy, the President of the Republic of Belarus signed Decree № 143 dd. April 24, 2020 “On economy support” (hereinafter – “the Decree”), which sets forth the following measures of state support for business.

 Tax relations

  • Local authorities are empowered to change the term of tax and duty payment to the local budget and the lease allowance for land plots in state ownership, which should be paid from April 1, 2020 until September 30, 2020 in the form of deferral with installment payments.

Deferral, installment, and tax credits are granted to:

    • legal entities and private entrepreneurs, the main economic activity of which are listed in the Annex,
    • lessors, which provided the real estate to the before mentioned persons and to the tenants performing household services to the population, if providing a deferral to them.
  • The payment of deferrals, installments, and tax credits is carried out monthly in equal installments from October 1, 2020 until December 31, 2020, inclusively.
  • Interest for deferrals and installments are not accrued.
  • Deferral, installments, and tax credits are granted, provided the current payments of taxes, duties, and other mandatory contributions to the budget are on time and fully settled. If this condition is not fulfilled, the previously mentioned entities lose the right to deferrals, installments, and tax credits, and the sum of payments they are granted will be recovered for all periods of their use, taking into account penalties in accordance with the legislation.
  • During the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2020, local authorities are empowered to adopt decisions decreasing land tax and real estate tax, which are to be paid during the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020, for certain categories of taxpayers, as well as for lease allowances for land plots granted to certain tenants, which are to be paid during the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020.
  • If land plots are situated in free economic zones, the decision on decreasing the lease allowance for land plots provided to certain categories of residents, the terms of payment of which falls in the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020, is adopted by the administration of the free economic zone during the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020.
  • Margin offset between tax deductions and calculated VAT is carried out for reporting periods from April 1, 2020 until September 30, 2020 within 10 working days from the adoption of the corresponding decision of the tax authorities.
  • Expenses for sanitary and epidemiological measures, as well as for restrictive measures under the list approved by the Ministry of Healthcare of Belarus, are included into non-operating costs for income taxation.
  • The chosen order of exchange rate differences accounting can be changed once within 2020 by making an amendment to the accounting policy and operating during the tax period.
  • Private entrepreneurs who paid flat-rate tax in 2020 are empowered to choose another taxation order from the 1st day of calendar month 2020 in relation to the activities subject to the flat-rate tax. Private entrepreneurs willing to transfer to the simplified taxation order should file a notice to the tax authority in the place of their registration between the 1st and 20th day of month in which they want to conduct a transfer.
  • The Regional and Minsk State Council of Deputies are recommended decreasing the rate of flat-rate tax during the 2nd and 3rd quarter of 2020.
  • Private entrepreneurs who have changed the taxation order should make corresponding amendments to the tax statement on flat-rate tax for the reporting quarter of 2020 in which the transfer is made.
  • For offset/repayment of flat-rate tax in 2020 due to temporary nonfulfillment of entrepreneurial activity, the duration of such nonfulfillment can exceed 30 calendar days (earlier the temporary nonfulfillment could not exceed 30 calendar days).
  • For natural persons not carrying out entrepreneurial activity (e.g. craftsmen, notaries, mediators, attorneys, persons carrying out activities in ecotourism, etc.) in case of temporary nonfulfillment of activity from April 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020 the offset repayment of flat-rate tax is carried out in accordance with the Tax code of Belarus under the written notice filed by the natural person to the tax authority.
  • The cost of disinfectants, sanitizing medication, means of individual protection, and nutrition received in connection with sanitary and antiepidemiological measures are not recognized as objects of income tax from natural persons.
  • Tax statement on income tax for the 2019 financial year from natural persons which have received income in accordance with Art. 219 (1) of the Tax Code of Belarus (e.g. income received from persons that are not tax agents in Belarus, income in form of gratuitous (sponsorship) help, income of residents received from sources outside Belarus, etc.) should be submitted not later than April 30, 2020.

Labour relations

  • Employers are empowered to change essential working conditions of employees except decreasing wages due to justified reasons of the adverse influence of the epidemiological situation on the activity of the employer. The employer is obliged to notify the employee in writing of changes in essential working conditions not later than 1 calendar day in advance.
  • Employers may also temporarily transfer the employee to another department or to another employer in connection with production necessity, caused by the adverse influence of the epidemiological situation on the activity of the employer, as well as for substitution of a temporarily absent employee without the employee’s consent for up to 3 months. By agreement of the parties, the term of such transfer may be extended.
  • Persons caring for a child under the age of 10 who attends pre-school or general secondary educational institutions, if this child is a first- or second-level contact and has respiratory symptoms, are paid a sick leave. The period of stay on sick leave in the case of temporary disability is up to 14 calendar days and the amount of payment is 100 % of the average daily wage from the first day on sick leave.

Deferred payment of lease allowance and installment payments for real estate

Until September 30, 2020, the following deferrals are granted:

  • to tenants of real estate included in the list in accordance with the Annex, as well as providing household services to the population – to pay lease allowance for the use of such property,
  • to lessors of real estate included in the list in accordance with the Annex, as well as providing household services to the population – for reimbursement of expenses related to the maintenance and operation of this property (accrued depreciation, land tax or payment for a land plot, real estate tax).

The deferral is granted with subsequent installments until December 31, 2020. To receive a deferral, you must submit an application specifying the terms of the deferral and the terms and amounts of monthly payments on the provided installment plan. Within 3 business days, the parties have the right to conclude an additional agreement to the real estate lease agreement.

  • State legal entities have the right to provide an installment payment for state property sold by installments until September 30, 2020.

The moratorium on increase of basic lease allowance

  • The moratorium on increase of basic lease allowance for the use of real estate has been introduced until September 30, 2020.
  • Legal entities and individual entrepreneurs are recommended to grant deferred payment of lease allowance or reduce its amount.

Pharmaceutical sector

  • Until July 1, 2020, legal entities that have a license for pharmaceutical activities in relation to works and services for the retail sale of medicines have the right to sell medicines included in the list of medicines sold without a doctor’s prescription using samples outside retail facilities.
  • Organizations engaged in the production of medicines have the right to sell medicines whose prices are subject to registration, without taking into account the maximum selling prices provided for the consent of the Commission on State Regulation of Pricing of the Council of Ministers of Belarus.
  • For obtaining a license for the activities associated with the production of alcohol and different alcohol-containing items, and to change such licenses for the production of disinfectant alcohol-based items, the term of consideration for applications for the sanitary and technical supervision authorities, RUE “Belarusian state Institute of Metrology”, is 1 business day from the date of the receipt of the documents, the period of consideration of applications for licenses (of any change in license), – 1 business day from reception of application for license (amending license).
  • Until January 1, 2021, legal entities and individual entrepreneurs that have a license for pharmaceutical activities (components of works and services – wholesale sale of medicines of domestic and (or) foreign production, wholesale sale of medicines to healthcare organizations) are entitled to wholesale sales of alcohol-containing disinfectants without obtaining a license for wholesale trade and storage of alcoholic, non-food alcohol-containing products, non-food ethyl alcohol, and tobacco products.
  • By December 31, 2020, the production of antiseptic medicines related to non-food alcohol-containing products and disinfectants related to non-food alcohol-containing products intended for sale on the territory of Belarus is carried out without applying quotas established by the Government of Belarus.

Recalculation of debt for energy resources

  • The Decree provides for the possibility of recalculating debt for energy resources taking into account the official exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble to the foreign currency used for payments for energy resources set by the National Bank of Belarus on December 31, 2019.

Unscheduled inspections

State bodies are allowed to conduct unscheduled inspections of legal entities and private entrepreneurs, as well as conducting inspections within 2 years from the date of state registration of legal entities (their separate divisions), of private entrepreneurs in the case of their activities relating to trade and public catering.

Annex

The list of economic activity the most affected by the adverse influence of the epidemiological situation

  • Manufacture of textiles, clothing, fur and leather products,
  • Retail sale of computers, software and communication equipment, other household goods, cultural and entertainment goods and other goods not included in other groups in specialized stores, retail sale in tents, kiosks and markets, clothing, shoes, textiles and other goods in tents, kiosks and markets,
  • Activities of passenger railway transport in international and intercity traffic, freight railway transport, other passenger land transport, land transport in urban and suburban passenger transport, other passenger land transport not included in other groupings, freight road transport and provision of moving services),
  • Passenger air transport and cargo air transport activities,
  • Warehousing and storage, transport support activities, other transport support activities, land transport support activities, air transport, terminal activities, parking services, air transport regulation, other activities related to passenger and cargo transport, cargo handling, hotel and similar accommodation, weekend accommodation and other short-term accommodation, places to stay on the territory of campsites, camps, services and other places to stay,
  • Restaurants, bars, event services and other catering services,
  • Leasing of own and leased real estate, operations with real estate for remuneration or on a contractual basis, activities of real estate agencies, other activities of real estate agencies,
  • Rental and leasing of cars, passenger cars and trucks, other machinery, equipment and tangible assets, air vehicles, personal and household goods, entertainment and sports equipment,
  • Tourist activities, other booking services and related activities,
  • Organization of conferences and professional exhibitions,
  • Pre-school education, education in the field of physical culture, sports and recreation, in the field of culture, the activities of schools for training and retraining of drivers of vehicles, other types of education not included in other groups,
  • Activities of organizations that provide medical care, health resort organizations with the provision of services by medical professionals,
  • Creative and entertainment activities, activities in the field of performing arts, activities that promote cultural and entertainment events, activities of cultural infrastructure facilities,
  • Activities of libraries, archives, museums, historical sites and buildings and similar tourist attractions, botanical gardens, zoos, nature reserves, national parks,
  • Activities in the field of physical culture and sports, sports facilities, sports clubs, fitness clubs, recreation and entertainment, other activities in the field of physical culture and sports,
  • Repair of computers and communication equipment, personal items and household products, electronic household appliances, household electrical and garden equipment, shoes and leather goods, furniture and interior items, watches and jewelry, other personal items and household products,
  • Washing, dry cleaning and dyeing of textile and fur products, provision of services by hairdressers and beauty salons, activities in the field of physical comfort.

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