60,000 entrepreneurs have yet to begin repaying Covid loans

Over 60,000 entrepreneurs in the Netherlands have yet to start paying off their coronavirus debts to the Tax Authority, State Secretary Marnix van Rij (Taxation) said in a letter to parliament. “It is not clear whether this concerns entrepreneurs who cannot or entrepreneurs who do not want to pay,” he wrote.

The 60,334 entrepreneurs who haven’t made any repayments are about a quarter of all the entrepreneurs who incurred debts with the Tax Authority during the pandemic. They owe the government over 2.3 billion euros. Nearly 25,000 of them have less than 5,000 euros in debt with the Tax Authority.

Despite “repeated attempts by the Tax Authority to get them to take action,” these entrepreneurs have not contacted the Tax Authority or agencies that can provide assistance, Van Rij said.

In total, entrepreneurs – including those who have started repaying – still owed the Tax Authority 16.5 billion euros at the end of April.

In principle, entrepreneurs have five years to pay off their debt in monthly installments. “From mid-June, the entrepreneurs with structural payment arrears who have not taken action will receive a decision withdrawing the payment arrangement,” Van Rij said.

On Wednesday, ING warned that there would be more bankruptcies in the hospitality industry in the coming period. Repayment of taxes deferred during the coronavirus pandemic was one of the reasons the bank’s economists cited for more companies going under.

According to Van Rij, payment arrears are most common among small businesses, usually involving relatively small amounts. Most large companies meet their payment deadlines or have paid their debts in full.

Entrepreneurs who can’t make payments can submit a request for debt restructuring.

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