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The key points of the German Coronavirus Tax-Related Assistance Act

Amendments to tax regulations are planned that are aimed at overcoming the coronavirus crisis, including, a reduction in the VAT rate charged by restaurants and the food service industry. The focus areas of the draft law that was passed by the Bundestag (lower house of German parliament) on 28.5.2020 are presented in the overview below.

(1) VAT on restaurant and catering services would be reduced from 19% to 7% for one year starting from 1.7.2020. However, the reduction would only apply to food; the sale of drinks has been explicitly excluded (Section 12(2) no.15 of the German VAT Act-draft).

(2) Up to now, payments by the employer to top-up the short-time working allowance have been treated as taxable remuneration. There are plans to exempt 80% of these top-up payments from tax until the end of 2020 (Section 3 no. 28a of the German Income Tax Act-draft). As a result, the tax treatment of the top-up payments will then mirror how they are treated under social security law.

(3) For reorganisations in 2020 it will be possible for the reporting date of the final balance sheet, which forms the basis for taxation, to be at most twelve months prior to the date of the registration of the reorganisation (modified application of Section 17(2) clause 4 of the Reorganisation Act (Umwandlungsgesetz, UmwG)). This extended retroactive period will also have a tax effect if the Reorganisation Tax Act (Umwandlungssteuergesetz, UmwStG) is applied to reorganisations within the meaning of the UmwG. In addition, in 2020, where the legal form changes and a partnership is set up as well as in the case of contributions, an extension of twelve months to the retroactive period for tax purposes will be put in place (Section 27(15) UmwStG-draft).

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