The rules regarding the repayment of tax debts for entrepreneurs have been relaxed by the cabinet as of 1 October. This should especially help SMEs that have difficulty with repayments. The decision is part of the government’s plans to apply “the human dimension where necessary”, says a spokesperson for the Tax and Customs Administration. The full security requirement, whereby entrepreneurs must provide certainty about repayment when applying for a payment arrangement, will therefore no longer be applicable for smaller companies. Also, under certain circumstances, companies with a debt of less than 20,000 euros no longer need a statement from an external expert for a deferral request that confirms whether the company is viable – such a statement is often very expensive for small entrepreneurs. In addition, entrepreneurs who previously received a short deferment of payment can now extend this with a regular payment arrangement. Previously they could not claim that. The relaxations, which will become part of the general ‘postponement policy’ of the Tax Authorities, come on top of previously announced relaxations in the repayment of the corona debt. During the coronalockdowns, companies were able to postpone their tax payments as part of the support package for entrepreneurs. Many companies built up considerable debt, which hindered investment later on . In total, this involved 47 billion euros in deferred payments. There is now 19 billion euros left over, divided among 269,000 entrepreneurs. Take a payment break Companies were allowed five years to make the repayment. That is now seven years , provided they have more than 10,000 euros in debt. Companies that made little or no profit before the corona crisis are excluded. Furthermore, entrepreneurs can pay per quarter instead of per month and take a one-off payment break of six months (previously this was three months). The measures are intended to prevent payment problems, says the spokesperson for the Tax Authorities, and “reduce the threshold to report in the event of difficulties”. The fact that many entrepreneurs have difficulty with arrears plays a role in the decision-making process. Entrepreneurs had to start repaying the corona debts to the tax authorities on 1 October. “A very bad moment,” says a spokesperson for MKB-Nederland, because of the extreme energy prices and high costs for transport and personnel, among other things. Every relaxation is therefore useful, she says, but then the question is how much entrepreneurs can pay for the extra cost . Companies can now spend seven years on the repayment Entrepreneur Tymo Dijkstra (42) does not think the relaxations are very lenient. With his company Piepers & Rund he supplies food trucks and bar containers at festivals. Taking longer to pay off his tax debt would lower his monthly payment by a few hundred euros, he says, but that is not nearly enough. “The debt locks in new investments, while we can put them to good use.” Especially now that his purchasing and personnel costs are rising sharply due to inflation, he had hoped for more drastic measures from the tax authorities. Part waiver, for example. “Most of my debt consists of deferred payroll taxes, on the wages I paid people who were not even allowed to work because we were closed.” The spokesperson for the Tax and Customs Administration says that the tax authorities will be more flexible in certain cases with regard to the cancellation of debts until 1 October 2023. In a so-called restructuring agreement, an entrepreneur agrees with the creditors that part of the debts will be forgiven. All claimants must agree, the Tax and Customs Administration currently has more room to do that as a creditor. Dijkstra had never heard of a remediation agreement. He did call the tax authorities to discuss his situation. “Then you file for bankruptcy, I was told.” Higher total amount Entrepreneurs who want to take longer to repay, end up with a larger amount to be repaid because of interest. The longer you take to repay, the more recovery interest will be charged. The question is whether entrepreneurs who are having trouble with the repayment now will be able to repay an even larger amount later. A consideration by the entrepreneur himself, says the spokesperson for the Tax Authorities: “A payment break can give relief in difficult times, but an entrepreneur must then indeed be able to pay a higher monthly amount later.” The Tax and Customs Administration believes that companies that are highly seasonal can benefit from the longer payment break, because they can then pay at a time that is favorable to them. Despite the relaxation, the Tax and Customs Administration still assumes that 30 percent of the total debt cannot be repaid, for example because companies go bankrupt before that time. A version of this article also appeared in the newspaper of October 4, 2022