On June 23, 2020, the President signed the Act on Subsidies to Interest Rates on Bank Loans for Entrepreneurs Affected by COVID-19. Shield 4.0 introduces changes in labour law, restructuring law and is to protect Polish companies from hostile takeovers.
Anti-Crisis Shield 4.0 – key changes for the business
The Sejm adopted 91 of the 126 amendments to the bill submitted by the Senate. Shield 4.0 contains a number of changes to support business in the fight against the coronavirus and its effects. The introduced amendments concern both entrepreneurs and their employees.
The most important provisions of the adopted Act:
- Severance pay for termination of employment contracts and civil law contracts by the employers cannot be higher than the 10 times of the minimum wage – PLN 26 000,
- The possibility of receiving support from the Guaranteed Employee Benefits Fund also by those entities which, despite the decline in economic turnover following COVID-19, did not decide to cover their employees with economic downtime or reduced working hours,
- An employer may send an employee on previously unused leave without his consent – up to 30 days maximum,
- Regulating the possibility to terminate non-competition agreements,
- Extending until 28 June this year the possibility of taking childcare allowance and additional childcare allowance.
Taxes and fees:
- Exemption from tax on revenue from buildings for the period from 1 March to 31 December 2020 in PIT and CIT,
- Relief for bad debts in PIT and CIT – creditors can take advantage of the relief after 30 days,
- The possibility of exempting entrepreneurs from part of the fees for perpetual usufruct – postponing the date of payment for this year’s instalment until 31 January 2021,
- Postponement of the JPK – the new JPK will enter into force on 1 October 2020,
- Taxpayers who have chosen a simplified form of advance payment for 2020 may reduce the advance due for the month in which 30 days have elapsed from the date of expiry of the payment deadline specified in the invoice (account) or in the agreement to the period in which the claim has been settled or sold,
- The possibility of settling in tax deductible costs a part of the fines and damages that have so far been excluded from the deductible expenses if they concern COVID-19,
- WHT: the validity of a residence certificate without a specific expiry date will be extended,
- More donations will be deductible, and so will these:
- donated to, among others, homes for mothers with under-aged children and pregnant women, night shelters, social welfare homes,
- donations of laptops and tablets (fit for use and not older than three years) donated from 1 January to 30 September 2020 to the educational institutions.
- The MDR obligation has been suspended until the 30th day after the date of cancellation of the epidemic,
- More time for transfer pricing reporting: the deadline for submitting transfer pricing information has been extended:
- until 31 December 2020 – if that deadline expires between 31 March 2020 and 30 September 2020
- by 3 months, if the deadline expires between 1 October 2020 and 31 January 2021.
Learn more: Measures to facilitate restructuring – shield 4.0
Subsidies, credits, loans, commercial and business law:
- Subsidies to the remunerations of employees covered by economic downtime or reduced working hours extended also to cultural institutions,
- Introduction of subsidised credits for companies which on 31 December 2019 did not meet the criteria for being a company in financial difficulty within the meaning of Commission Regulation (EU) No 651/2014 but which have lost liquidity. The subsidised credit agreements may only be concluded until 31 December 2020,
- Extending the possibility of benefiting from co-financing from the COVID-19 Counteraction Fund to entities which incurred expenses for fighting against the epidemic,
- Clarification of the definition of “retail space” in shopping centres up to 2000 sq. m. – including premises providing services, such as gastronomy and catering services,
- The possibility of conducting an inspection in a company remotely, but only with the consent of an entrepreneur,
- A microloan for entrepreneurs in the amount of PLN 5000 may be redeemed without the need to submit an application for redemption (condition of conducting business activity for 3 months from the date of granting the loan).
Tenders, simplified restructuring procedure and protection of Polish companies:
- The possibility to initiate restructuring procedures not only by the court but also by the entrepreneur himself by concluding an agreement with a restructuring advisor and publishing the decision in Monitor Sądowy i Gospodarczy,
- The possibility of unilateral suspension of the payments of debts due to the creditors covered by the agreement – the entrepreneur will be able to use this solution only once and only until 30 June 2021,
- Changes in public tenders – exemption from the obligation to demand a deposit for proceedings with an estimated value exceeding the EU threshold, setting the amount of the tender security in the amount not exceeding 5% of the contract value,
- Protection of Polish companies against hostile takeovers by companies from outside the EU – UOKiK controls (takeovers by companies from OECD countries are not subject to UOKiK controls).