For a period of three months, from 1 March to 31 May 2020, self-employed persons can obtain additional income support via an accelerated procedure to help cover their living costs/working capital. The support is available only to self-employed persons – including directors/major shareholders – who have no or very little income as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
This information can be found in the Temporary Bridging Scheme for Independent Entrepreneurs (Tijdelijke Overbruggingsregeling Zelfstandige Ondernemers (Tozo)).
This temporary support scheme to help cover the living costs of independent entrepreneurs does not mention a means or partner test. In other words, any existing assets and/or partner’s income will not present an obstacle to receiving the support. The viability of the business will also not be assessed.
Local authorities (the application is made in the entrepreneur’s place of residence) will now start implementing the scheme, which will be based on an advance payment. The support will be provided within four weeks. This also applies to working capital loans of up to € 10,517. The income of the self-employed individual will be supplemented up to a maximum net amount of € 1,500 for persons who are married and a maximum net amount of € 1,050 for single persons. The lower social assistance benefit level will apply to young people between the ages of 18 and 21. Many local authorities have opened a digital service point where all the information is available. From 30 March there will also be physical emergency service points in major cities such as Utrecht, Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam.
No prior assessment
The contribution towards living costs will be awarded once for a three-month period and paid out monthly. The self-employed person must declare that his/her expected income for the next three months will be less than the minimum social income as a consequence of the coronavirus crisis. Income is therefore not assessed in advance.
The payment counts as income for the purposes of any allowances you receive. These may therefore be reduced as a result. You will need to pass this information on yourself, as otherwise there is a risk that you will have to pay back any allowances that have been overpaid.
From 1 March
An application for a contribution towards living costs can be submitted until 31 May 2020. You can apply for such a contribution with retroactive effect from 1 March 2020.
All applications submitted within the scheme period, i.e. up to 31 May 2020, can be backdated in this way. The contribution towards living costs will be awarded once for a three-month period and paid out monthly.
The income support for living costs does not have to be repaid retrospectively.
To receive this temporary support, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are a self-employed person aged between 18 and pensionable age and have been working in this capacity for a reasonable period of time (established self-employed person);
- You live and are legally resident in the Netherlands;
Please note: it has been announced that the question of how support can be offered to entrepreneurs who have a business in the Netherlands and live abroad, or vice versa, will be urgently examined. In principle, however, such persons are entitled to support in their country of residence;
- You are a Dutch national or have equivalent status;
- Your business or self-employed activity is carried out in the Netherlands;
- You satisfy the legal requirements for running your own business, e.g. you were entered in the Commercial Register of the Chamber of Commerce before 6.45 p.m. on 17 March 2020;
- You started your business before 1 January 2020 and dedicated at least 1,225 hours (average of 24 hours a week) to your own business or self-employed activity in 2019. If the applicant has been working on a self-employed basis for less than a year, the hour criterion applies to the number of months worked;
- You live in the municipality in which you are applying for additional income support.
The scheme also applies to self-employed persons who employ staff and, in principle, to directors/major shareholders of companies who fulfil the conditions. The latter will have to plausibly demonstrate that the company is no longer able to pay any salaries.
Working capital loan
Independent entrepreneurs who experience liquidity problems as a result of the coronavirus crisis can apply for a working capital loan of up to € 10,157 with an interest rate of 2%. This will be made available within four weeks. The maximum term of the loan is three years and no repayments have to be made until January 2021.
To qualify for a loan, an independent entrepreneur must declare and plausibly demonstrate that he/she is experiencing liquidity problems as a result of the coronavirus crisis.
No cost standard divisor
During implementation of the schemes the so-called ‘kostendelersnorm’ (cost standard divisor) will be left out of consideration. This standard means that the benefit payment is lower if several adults are living together, as it is assumed that the costs will be shared. This will now not be the case.
In many cases the legitimacy of the support will be checked retrospectively. In the event of fraud it will be reclaimed and a penalty imposed. This means that independent entrepreneurs who make a claim under the scheme are obliged, of their own volition, to supply the local authority with all information that could influence their entitlement to or the level of the payment. This may include any changes to the individual’s income situation, for example.