On 19 March 2020, the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) published the following guidelines for the deferral of taxes to support companies in the corona crisis:
- „Taxpayers who are directly and not inconsiderably affected by the economic consequences of the coronavirus may submit applications for deferral of taxes already due or becoming due by 31 December 2020. This applies to income tax, corporate income tax and value added tax. The tax offices are required to grant applications even if the damage caused by the coronavirus cannot be proven in detail in terms of value. No high demands are to be made on the conditions/requirements/ tax deferral.
- As a rule, the tax offices waive deferral interest.
- Applications for deferral of taxes due after 31 December 2020 must be justified.
Several federal states have already provided application forms. Otherwise, according to the official press releases, applications should be made in writing and handled unbureaucratically. It should be noted that the application must also include a description of the individual economic effects of the coronavirus on the company concerned. Even if the tax authorities are instructed not to place high demands on this proof, it is nevertheless indispensable in order to document the direct and not insignificant impact of the corona crisis.
For withholding taxes, such as income tax and capital gains tax, a tax deferral is in principle not envisaged. According to reports, the finance ministries of the federal states, in coordination with the Federal Ministry of Finance, are working on a guideline for the treatment of income tax, which is expected to be published shortly. However, it may already be possible to obtain a suspension of execution.
Also published on 19 March 2020 were identical decrees of the supreme tax authorities of the federal states on accompanying trade tax measures. Applications for deferral of trade tax must be submitted to the municipalities responsible for trade tax, and merely to the tax office in cases where the responsibility for trade tax does not lie with the municipalities (this applies in particular to city states).