Due to the measures taken by the Austrian government in connection with the outbreak of the corona virus which has now affected Austria (e.g. home quarantine, cancellation of events, closure of shops/restaurants), liquidity shortages and payment difficulties for businesses seem more likely. Accordingly, the Austrian Ministry of Finance has taken the following measures:
- Taxpayers who can credibly prove that they are affected directly or indirectly by the Coronavirus crisis (e.g. sickness or quarantine or lost income because their business has to remain closed), can apply for a reduction of advance tax payments of income and corporate income tax (Herabsetzung von Einkommen- und Körperschaftssteuervorauszahlungen). This application can be made either electronically or by way of a sample form. The Austrian tax offices have to instantly decide on such applications.
- In the application itself, the taxpayer must provide credible evidence of the expected reduction in the tax base based on the specific circumstances. For example, by presenting an interim balance sheet; by showing the number of orders; by proving information regarding cancelled orders; by showing that there is a shortage of merchandise; showing that production and sales have been restricted etc.; and that the economic situation has declined as a result thereof, which will lead to a lower tax base - and thus also to a lower reasonable advance tax payment. These measures do not affect the payment of minimum corporate income tax, as this has to be paid irrespective of the economic situation of the corporation.
- Additionally, an application for tax deferral or payment in instalments is possible (Stundung oder Entrichtung in Raten). Thus, the payment of taxes might be postponed or payment in instalments might be granted by the Austrian tax offices if the immediate or full payment of taxes would result in considerable burdens for the taxpayer and the collectability of taxes is not jeopardised by such measures. Therefore, the application for a tax deferral or payment in instalments has to contain a justification as to why the payment of the tax debt is currently impossible and particular reference to the specific circumstances of the individual case has to be made. The Austrian tax offices have to decide on such applications instantly.
- Lastly, deferral interest (Stundungszinsen) and late payment penalties (Säumniszuschläge) might be reduced or waived after an application by the taxpayer. Even in this case the taxpayer has to prove why the payment of such interest is not possible in the current situation. The Austrian tax offices have to decide on such applications instantly.
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