Emergency Measures

COVID-19: Emergency Measures in Malta | Update 8

This is the 8th update on COVID-19 related measures.   

1. OECD Publishes Targeted COVID-19 Measures 

The OECD has published a list of targeted and temporary tax policy and tax administration measures for governments to consider as part of their immediate response to the COVID-19 outbreak. These are summarised below:

  • Waiving or deferring employer and self-employed social security contributions, as well as payroll related taxes for hard-hit sectors.
  • Providing tax concessions for workers in health and other emergency-related sectors to reward these individuals.
  • Providing additional time for dealing with tax affairs such as extending tax filing and payment requirements and providing quicker refunds to taxpayers.
  • Deferring or adjusting the required advance payment of business income taxes on the basis of a revised expected tax liability.
  • Deferring payment of VAT, customs or excise duties for imported items, speeding up refunds of excess input VAT, and simplifying procedures for claiming relief from VAT on bad debts.
  • Deferring or waiving taxes that are levied on a tax base that does not vary with the immediate economic cycle.
  • Increasing the generosity of loss carry-forward provisions.

Source: https://www.oecd-forum.org/posts/63721-tax-in-the-time-of-covid-19

2. European Union 

2.1    Joint Statement of the Members of the European Council

On 26th March 2020, the European Council issued a statement providing that the Council will continue to work and do what is necessary to overcome the COVID-19 crisis. The statement summarises the some of the actions taken so far and action plans, as follows:

  • On limiting the spread of the virus: The European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the Commission COVID-19 Advisory Panel have issued guidelines and recommendations to aid MS in taking decisive action to contain and slow down the spread of the virus. Further guidelines will be issued as necessary. Moreover, non-essential travel to the EU has been restricted and, where temporary internal border controls have been introduced, the Council will ensure to preserve the functioning of the Single Market. Remaining problems will be urgently addressed.
  • On providing medical equipment: The Council have called on the European Commission to continue and accelerate its efforts to help ensuring urgent and adequate provision of medical equipment throughout the EU.
  • On promoting research: The Council is, and will continue to support research, coordinate efforts and seek synergies within the European scientific and research community. €140 million have already been mobilised for 17 projects, including on vaccines.
  • On tackling socio-economic consequences: Progress has already been made in this regard by Member States, the European Commission, the European Central Bank and the Eurogroup. The Eurogroup as expected to present further proposals within 2 weeks. One notable development was the issue by the European Commission of the Temporary Framework for State aid measures to support the economy in the current COVID-19 outbreak. More information on this may be accessed on: https://ec.europa.eu/competition/state_aid/what_is_new/sa_covid19_temporary-framework.pdf
  • On citizens stranded in third countries: The Council will further step up efforts to ensure that EU citizens stranded in third countries who want to go home can do so. A Consular Task Force has been set up by the EEAS for this purpose.

Source: https://www.consilium.europa.eu/media/43076/26-vc-euco-statement-en.pdf

3. Legislative Instruments

3.1. Act No. X of 2020

This Act amends the Public Health Act, Cap. 465 of the Laws of Malta by providing that:

  • The Superintendent of Public Health has been empowered to prescribe any ‘such other matter’ deemed to be expedient for the prevention or mitigation of epidemics and infectious diseases. The updated Act provides that this power includes, and shall be deemed to have always included, the power to provide for any matter which is ancillary or consequential to an order issued under this paragraph, including, but not limited to legal or judicial time limits, periods of prescriptions and any peremptory time limits provided for in any other law as a consequence of the order for the closure of government departments or other places from where public services are provided or of any other order as the Superintendent deemed expedient.
  • In the case of a breach to the provisions of the Public Health Act or any order issued by the Superintendent which is listed in the Schedule to the Commissioners for Justice Act, the person in breach shall be tried in accordance with the Commissioners for Justice Act, Cap. 291 of the Laws of Malta. Upon conviction, such person shall be liable to a penalty or between €1,000 and €10,000. In this regard, the following legal notices were included in the Schedule to the Commissioners of Justice Act: LN 39 of 2020, LN 83 of 2020, LN 96 of 2020, LN 98 of 2020 and LN 100 of 2020.
  • In the case where the person who is in breach in the manner referred to above is not habitually resident in Malta, any penalty due shall be paid in its minimum through electronic means and without proceedings within 12 hours from the time when the said person is notified of the charge. The Executive Police shall have the power to keep the said person in detention until payment is made. However, the charge may be contested. 

3.2 Legal Notices

3.2.1 Legal Notice 102 of 2020 (Closure of Vehicle Roadworthiness Testing Stations (Amendment) Order, 2020)

This legal notice amends Legal Notice 91 of 2020 by permitting vehicle roadworthiness testing stations that are authorised to carry out roadworthiness tests on heavy goods motor vehicles and their trailers to remain open and carry out vehicle  roadworthiness tests on motor vehicles and their trailers that are covered, or that have a pending application with Transport Malta to be covered by a Community licence for the carriage of goods in terms of the EU Regulation on common rules for access to the international road haulage market.

4. Administrative Notices

4.1 Malta Business Registry

MBR has granted an extension for the submission of Annual Returns and financial statements by companies which are effected by the COVID-19 situation where the original filing deadline falls within the period of 23.03.2020 and 31.05.2020. In this case, penalties on late filings are not going to be imposed if these are filed with the Registrar by 31.07.2020.

Moreover, if the company has additional notifications to submit with MBR but it cannot, the company should contact MBR on info@mbr.mt.

Source: https://mcusercontent.com/5e6accfb6481f39a6094a36dc/files/07c984b6-0761-44fd-8e41-585b87dacc4c/COVID_19_penalties.pdf

4.2 Malta Enterprise

Applications for the COVID-19 wage supplements (please refer to our update 7) will be made available from Monday 30th March 2020.

Source: https://covid19.maltaenterprise.com/employee-wage-support/