Blümel: "Reactivation and extension of coronavirus assistance to protect the economy and workers"

"Over the past few days, we have examined in detail which of our various forms of economic assistance are the most effective and provide the best support in the current situation. As a result we are extending tax concessions, and this directly benefits employees in particular," explains Finance Minister Gernot Blümel.

Further measures to support the Austrian economy

  • Option to defer tax payments in November and December 2021:
    • No interest to be charged on deferrals for November and December 2021 or January 2022.
      The same applies to instalment payment arrangements – further applications for rescheduling of payments will be allowed.
  • The exemption from fees and federal administrative levies resulting from measures taken to deal with the pandemic will be extended retroactively from 1 July 2021 until 30 June 2022.
  • Affected companies will continue to be provided with guarantees by Austria Wirtschaftsservice Ges.m.b.H. (AWS) and Österreichische Hotel- und Tourismusbank Ges. m.b.H. (ÖHT) until 30 June 2022.
  • The assumption of indemnification commitments in order to secure claims made by travellers linked to package holidays will be extended by one year until the end of 2022.
  • Grants for event organisers and conferences for events planned up to 30 June 2023 will be extended – in individual cases, the maximum grant will be set at EUR 10 million.
    In addition, events cancelled due to Covid-19 will be retroactively exempted from hire contract fees for the period 1 July 2021 until 30 June 2022.
  • In the case of companies suffering turnover losses as a result of COVID-19 measures and which report input tax credits, for a limited period the opportunity will be given to repay credits in full where payment relief has either been applied for or already granted. Otherwise, procedural tax law would require the offsetting of credits and debits.

In addition, businesses will again be able to access both the hardship fund and turnover loss bonus for the period November 2021 to March 2022. The loss compensation scheme is also being extended until March 2022.

Reintroduction of tax relief irrespective of short-time work, remote working or quarantine

      • The commuting allowance will continue to be available in the months November and December 2021 in the same amount as prior to the current lockdown, irrespective of the necessity to work from home, quarantine or undertake short-time work due to the pandemic.
      • Tax exemption for special allowances (e.g. for difficult or hazardous work), as well as allowances for overtime, will continue as before lockdown, irrespective of the necessity to work from home, quarantine or undertake short-time work
      • Christmas vouchers for employees: Due to the pandemic, the usual company events (e.g. Christmas parties) may well be cancelled. The existing non-cash benefit from attending company events, totalling EUR 365 annually per employee, should not be forfeited. For this reason, employers may provide their employees with tax-free vouchers in a maximum value of EUR 365. These must be issued in the period November 2021 to January 2022. Ideally, for the issue and redemption of vouchers, the focus will be on regional companies.
      • Athletes, coaches, umpires and referees will benefit from tax exemption on standard travel expense claims despite the cancellation of sporting events in November and December.

Supporting healthcare policy

In order to effectively combat the pandemic, the following key health policy measures have also been extended until 30 June 2022:

  • VAT exemption for face masks
  • Exemption from fees and federal administrative levies for pandemic-related documents, official procedures and legal transactions, with retroactive effect from 1 July 2021 until 30 June 2022
  • Fee exemption for cancelled events with retroactive effect from 1 July 2021 until 30 June 2022
  • Alcohol tax exemption for the manufacture of sanitising products until 30 June 2022
  • Possibility of making submissions related to tax relief by e-mail until 30 June 2022
  • Special rules on the conduct of official procedures such as judicial examinations, evidence taking and oral hearings, including the use of appropriate technical facilities until 30 June 2022