Important information to entrepreneurs due to the coronavirus

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Here we have information due to the coronavirus, which is important for you to know about as a business owner.

New general advice for employers, shops and associations

The Public Health Agency of Sweden has developed new general advice to counter the spread of coronavirus. All businesses in Sweden are obliged to take measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus, based on the recommendations of the Public Health Agency.
 
  • Employers should, if possible, ensure that staff and visitors keep their distance, regularly wash their hands with soap and water or otherwise use hand sanitizer, that employees work from home, avoid unnecessary travel and adjust working hours to avoid rush hour traffic.
  • Shops and shopping malls should limit the number of customers at the premises at the same time. They should also develop alternative solutions for cash lines or indicate how far customers can stand between each other.
  • Nonprofit associations should, if possible, postpone annual meetings and such, if the meeting requires participants to be in the same place.

Read more about the new advices for employers, shops and associations (pdf)

Public gatherings

Public gatherings limited to 50 people

The Government has made a decision to further limit the possibility of organizing public gatherings and public events to a maximum of 50 persons. If you already have been granted a permit, the gathering or event may be carried out with the restriction of 50 persons.

Read more about these limited possibilities at Emergency information from Swedish authorities' website (krisinformation.se)

Tax and charges

Temporarily reduced employer fees and self-employment contributions

The decision to reduce employers’ fees also applies to self-employment contributions, that is the self-employed workers’ equivalent to employers contributions. This means that even if you were to report a surplus in your new preliminary income tax return, the deductibles will be lower than usual, 10,21 percent compared to the usual 28,97 percent. The lower deductibles apply for the whole of 2020 and up to surplus of SEK 100,000, after which there will be regular self-employment contributions.

Read more about self-employment contributions at the Government Offices of Sweden's website (in Swedish)

Possibility to postpone payment of taxes and fees

Companies that are financially affected by the coronavirus can apply for a payment respite of tax and fees to a later occasion. There are two kind of  payment respites:

  • Temporary payment respite of employer contributions, deducted taxes and VAT.
  • Respite of tax payment for other types of taxes.

Read more about respite of tax at the Swedish Tax Agency's website

Temporary payment respite of tax 

Companies that are financially affected by the coronavirus can apply for temporary payment respite of employer contributions, deducted tax and VAT. The payment respite can be postponed for one year from the decision date. The payment respite is valid for up to three accounting periods between January and September 2020. 

There are several ways to apply for a temporary payment respite but you will get the decision most quickly if you wait until 30 March and use the new digital payment respite service which opens in My pages on skatteverket.se. 

Read more about payment respite of tax at the Swedish Tax Agency's website (in Swedish)

Payment respite of tax

Companies can also apply for payment respite of tax for other types of taxes, for example excise duties.

Read more about payment respite of tax at the Swedish Tax Agency's website

Possibility to get back preliminary tax for 2019

For you running a sole trader and has been affected by the coronavirus, the Government has proposed to change the rules for accrual funds. This means that you can deduct 100 percent of your taxable profit for the year 2019 in your accrual fund. The maximum limit is up to SEK 1 million and you will then be able to offset this against your future losses. The processing time is extended if you fill in other information.

Read more about the possibility to get back preliminary tax for 2019 at the Swedish Tax Agency's websites (in Swedish)

Change your debited preliminary tax 

The Swedish Tax Agency wants to remind entrepreneurs about the possibility of changing the charged preliminary tax if the company is financially affected due the coronavirus. You can change your debited preliminary tax for up to six months after the end of the tax year. 

Read more about changing your debited preliminary tax at the Swedish Tax Agency's website

Liability for payment of legal persons' unpaid taxes and contributions

If you represent a legal person, you can become personally liable for virtually all unpaid taxes and fees in the legal person's tax account.

With the temporary rules due to the coronavirus, the Swedish Tax Agency will not hold you personally liable as a representative as long as the unpaid taxes and fees are covered by the act of temporary payment respite. The only exception is companies that have obviously exploited the opportunities completely in violation of the purpose of the respite regulations.

Read about the payment responsibility for legal persons' unpaid taxes at the Swedish Tax Agency

Shortage of work and laying off employees

Short-time working allowance is introduced

Short-time working means that an employee reduces working hours and wages instead of being laid off. This means that you, as an employer, can reduce your employees working hours and receive financial support from the Government to compensate for a significant part of the costs for retaining the employee.

You can apply on the website of the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth, starting 7 April 2020. You can apply retroactively from 16 March 2020. 

It is important that you prepare as much as possible before submitting your application in order for the processing to be quick. It is more important to be accurate in your application than to apply quickly. Make sure you are properly prepared by taking a quick test to see if you are eligible for financial support (in Swedish). You can also use the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth's calculation tool to see how much support you can get if your application is granted.

On 14 April, the Government proposed to increase support for short-time work allowance. According to the proposal, an employer should be able to reduce the employees' working hours by up to 80 percent, which is an increase compared to today's maximum which is 60 percent. The change is proposed to apply from 1 May and during the months of May, June and July 2020. The Riksdag will decide on the new proposal in May.

Take the test to see if you are eligible for the support at the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth (in Swedish)

Download the calculating tool from the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth see how much support you can get if your application is approved (in Swedish)

Read more about the short-time working allowance at the Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth's website

More information on laying off staff

The Swedish Employment Agency has more information for employers concerning short-time work allowance and laying off staff because of the coronavirus.

Lay off staff and short-time work allowance due to the coronavirus at the Swedish Employment Agency's website (in Swedish)

Here we have gathered information at verksamt.se about laying off staff.

Information at verksamt.se about what applies if you need to lay off staff

Termination of employment due to shortage of work

New rules for certain types of employment

The Government proposes to extend the period that your employees can have a new start job or a introduction employment, by another year. The period would then be changed from two years to three years.

More information to come.

Financing and loan 

The Swedish National Debt Office’s guarantee programme

Small and medium-sized businesses that are viable but suffer financial difficulties as a result of the corona virus, are given the opportunity of a state loan guarantee. A loan guarantee means that the state guarantees 70 percent of the loan amount. Companies can apply for loans under the guarantee programe by contacting their lender/bank.

Read more about credit guarantee at the Swedish National Debt Office’s website (in Swedish) 

Almi’s ”Brygglån” – a loan adapted to current corona crisis

Sustainable small and medium-sized companies in Sweden that are in need of financing as a result of the spread of the new coronavirus, can apply for Almi’s “Brygglån”.  The loan provides an opportunity for conditions that are specially adapted to the current situation. The loan is always combined with advice where you can discuss and simulate the effects the corona crisis has on your cash flow, income statement and balance sheet.

Read more about “brygglån” at Almi’s website (in Swedish)

Loans from Almi

Almi offers various types of loans within their regular range of services. If you need financing, you can apply for a loan from Almi. If you already have a loan, it is possible to seek payment respite with repayments. The Government has proposed that Almi receive a capital contribution of SEK 3 billion to increase their lending to small and medium-sized companies across the country.

Read more at almi.se

Financial support from the Riksbank

The Executive Board of the Riksbank has decided to lend money via the bank to help companies that are financially impacted by the coronavirus. It is the bank that determines the terms of the loan and which companies that will receive the loans.

The Riksbank is offering the banks up to SEK 500 billion, which can then be passed on to companies with operations in Sweden.

Read more at Riksbank.se/en

Temporary discount on rental costs in vulnerable industries 

To help vulnerable industries, for example clothes, home electronics, hotels and restaurants and consumer services such as hair and body care, the Government has proposed discount for fixed rental costs. The proposal is that the state accounts for 50 percent of the rent reduction and up to 25 percent of the fixed rent. 
The support is valid from 1 April - 30 June 2020 and can be applied afterwards.

 

Read more about temporary discount on rental costs at the Government Offices of Sweden's website (in Swedish)

New rules regarding illness

The state covers costs for sick pay

The Government has decided that employers will be compensated by the state for the sick pay cost for April and May. The employer reports his/her sick pay costs in connection with the employer declaration. The compensation is in the form of credit in the tax account. 

Self-employed are compensated by receiving a flat-rate sickness benefit for days 1-14.

Read more at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency's website (Försäkringskassan) (in Swedish)

The qualifying deduction for sick pay is temporarily abolished

The Government has decided to temporarily suspend the qualifying deduction for sick pay from 11 March. This means that you can apply retroactively for compensation for the qualifying period from 11 March onwards. The employer shall make a qualifying deduction as usual.

From 7 April, it will be an e-service on My Pages at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency's website (Försäkringskassan) to apply for compensation for the qualifying period. The compensation will be paid within 3-5 working days. 

Read more at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency's website (Försäkringskassan)

Proposal to temporary abolish the doctor's certificate requirement

The requirement for doctor's certificates during the sick pay period is temporarily abolished. The decision means that an employee who is ill can be home from work for up to 21 days without a doctor's certificate. For you as an employer, this means that the employee does not have to hand over doctor's certificates to you. This applies from 27 March, 2020.

Read more at the Swedish Social Insurance Agency's website (Försäkringskassan)

Quarantine allowance

A doctor may decide that you are not allowed to work because you are – or may be – infected with a socially dangerous disease, were coronavirus is included. You may then be entitled to compensation in the form of a quarantine allowance.

This applies for limited companies

This applies for sole traders

New rules for restaurants, cafes and bars

If you run a serving business, for example a restaurant, cafe or bar, new rules from the Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten) will help to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. Among other things, congestion in the premises should be avoided, all guests must have a seat and only table service and take away is allowed.
 
With the new rules, you can continue to run your business and receive guests as safely as possible.
 
 

Culture and sport

Financial support for culture and sport

The Government proposes that if you are engaged in activities in culture or sport, you should be able to apply for support for income loss due to the new coronavirus. For example, this may be support for canceled events. Events under 50 participants are also covered.

The support should apply to all forms of businesses plus freelancers and associations. The total support package is SEK 1 billion, of which SEK 500 million will go to the cultural sector and SEK 500 million to the sport industry.

The support to the sports industry will be distributed by the National Sports Federation. Soon the application will open and the money will be paid at the end of June 2020. 

More information about the conditions for the support to the cultural sector and how and when you as an entrepreneur are able to apply will come shortly.

Read more in the Goverments press release (in Swedish)

Export and import

Custom

At Swedish Customs website you can read about how import and export can be affected by the corona virus. Swedish Customs has also produced answers to frequently asked questions regarding how trade and transport of goods can be affected.

Read more about import and export at Swedish Customs’ website (in Swedish)
Frequently asked question at Swedish Customs' website (in Swedish)

Preferential treatment with the support of copies

Several countries have informed the EU that they currently cannot issue preferential treatment certificates as originals, but instead use copies. For example, in Norway both copies and originals are now used. When the pandemic is over, companies in the EU need to make sure to get their original certificates instead of these copies.
The rules apply to certificates that have been issued from 1 March and onwards. 

Read more about prefential treatment with the support of copies at the Swedish Custom's website (in Swedish)

Advising

If you have questions related to export or trade with other countries you can, for example, contact Business Sweden or the Enterprise Europe Network for guidance and support. You can also get help with specific country information.

Read more at Business Sweden's website 

Read more at Enterprise Europe Network's website

Corona response desk

To support your company in managing corona-related risks on international markets, Business Sweden offers guidance and 24/7 support in three key areas: secure global supply and logistics chains, defend your market share and client relations and get your local coronavirus impacts under control. 

Read more about corona response desk at Business Sweden's website

Guarantees

Exporting companies can turn to the Swedish Export Credit Agency (Exportkreditnämnden, EKN), which has different types of guarantees. EKN's guarantees insurance the risk of not getting paid and facilitates the possibility of obtaining loans through banks in connection with export transactions.

To further facilitate Swedish companies access to financing, as a result of the coronavirus, EKN now offers improved opportunities for operating credits for smaller companies with a turnover of up to SEK 5 billion. EKN has also developed a new guarantee for business financing for large companies and their subcontractors.

Read more at The Swedish Export Credit Agency's website (Exportkreditnämnden, EKN)

A new EU decision enables EKN to temporarily insure short risks in export transactions within the EU and to high-income countries such as Norway and the US. Previously, it has not been allowed for state actors. The new decision applies to transactions with credit terms for less two years.

Read more about the new decision at EKN’s website (in Swedish)

Financing

The Government proposes that The Swedish Export Credit Corporation's loan limit should increase from SEK 125 to 200 billion to issue both Government supported and commercial credits to Swedish export companies.

The Swedish Export Credit Corporation offer loans to Swedish export companies and their subcontractors to export companies with annual sales of at least SEK 200 million.

Read more at the Swedish Export Credit corporation's (SEK) website

Temporary entry ban to the EU via Sweden

On 16 April, the Government decided to extend the temporary entry ban to Sweden from countries outside the EU. The entry ban is extended by 30 days and is valid until 15 May. There are exceptions in the ban, including people transporting goods, as well as seasonal workers in agriculture, such as berry pickers. Therefore, necessary supplies of food and medicines, for example, should not be affected.

Read more about the temporary ban on travel to Sweden at the Government Offices of Sweden's website (Regeringskansliet)

Advice and support in your region or municipality 

Regional counselling 

There are several regional organisations that offer support and advice to businesses, both in their regular operations and as a result of the corona virus. In several regions there are specific business emergency center available.

Find support and counselling in your region (in Swedish) 

Almi has advisors in 40 offices across the country and offers advice and financing to small and medium-sized companies. You can get the specific contact information through customer service at telephone number 0771-55 85 00 or at almi.se.

More information at Almi’s website 

Municipal support 

Due to the new coronavirus, many municipalities have developed their own measures to support entrepreneurs. Please visit your municipality’s website to see what support you can receive locally.

More information from Government agencies

Extended time for financial support when you start up a new business

The Government proposes that the Swedish Employment Service's support for starting a business activity should be extended from 6 months to 12 months to facilitate those starting a new business.

More information to come.

New rules for activity grant when you register your company as inactive

The Government proposes that you should have an increased opportunity for activity grant if you register your company as inactive. During 2020, you should be able to register your company as inactive without it affecting your ability to receive activity grant. This means that any period of inactivity you have during 2020 are exempt from the current regulations that your company can only be inactive once every five years. This applies to both if you have had your company inactive for a period for the past five years, and if you register this later during this year.

General meeting

Due to the risk of being infected by the coronavirus, the Swedish Companies Registration Office (Bolagsverket) receive many questions about holding general meetings during these times.

Questions and answers about holding a general meeting due to the corona virus

On 3 April 2020, the Riksdag passed a new temporary law to facilitate the holding of corporate and association meetings during the ongoing virus outbreak. The new laws come into force on 15 April 2020 and expires on 31 December 2020.

Read more about the temporarily law at the Swedish Companies Registration Office’s website (in Swedish)

Temporarily changed rules for driving and rest times in the transport industry

On 16 March the Swedish Transport Agency decided to allow certain exemptions for driving and rest times for 30 days due to the corona virus. The exemption is now being extended in Sweden, but with new restrictions based on guidelines from the European Commission. The new terms and conditions apply from 15 April until 31 May 2020.

Read more about the temporarily changed rules for driving and rest times at the Swedish Transport Agency's website (Transportstyrelsen)

Planning aid for staffing shortages and the supply of goods and services

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (Myndigheten för samhällsskydd och beredskap, MSB) has developed an aid for government agencies and companies to help them identify which activities must be maintained and which are of a lower priority. They also have an extensive methodological aid for systematic continuity management.

Read more about the coronavirus at the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency's (MSB) website

Information and support from EU

The website of EU Commission includes information on what support and measures are being taken by the EU due the coronavirus. Also, transport recommendations and macro analyzes of the economy. 

Read more about transports at the European Commission's website 

Read more about economy and entrepreneurship at the European Commission's website

Other collected information from government agencies

Read more about the new coronavirus, for example how to protect your employees from infection, and also read frequently asked questions.

Official information from the government agencies at Emergency information from Swedish authorities' website (krisinformation.se)

Frequently Asked Questions at the Swedish Public Health Agency (Folkhälsomyndigheten)

Collection page for employer-related information about the coronavirus and covid-19, at the Swedish Work Environment Authority's website (Arbetsmiljöverket) (in Swedish)

Responsible: Swedish Agency for Economic and Regional Growth

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