Published On: Sun, Apr 19th, 2020

Payroll support is not for everyone; a deadline set for April 22

PHILIPSBURG – The specifics of the payroll support the government will extend to the private sector will throw many a company into a tailspin. There is a list of fourteen categories of companies that are excluded from this support; the most notable exemptions are supermarkets and garbage collectors. Not on the list of exemptions are whorehouses and casinos.

Employers can use a digital application form to apply for financial support. This so-called COVID-19 Stimulus Payroll Support Plan form can be found on the website of SZV.

SZV processes all requests for support. If a request is denied, the employer can appeal the decision to a review committee. It is unclear who the members of this committee are. Its decisions are final.

Employers have to submit current payroll information no later than April 22.

SZV, the Inspectorate of Taxes and Audit Team St. Maarten (ATS) have the right to verify the accuracy of information employers submit. These instances can also audit a company after the fact and this could result in “adjustments to the payroll contributions” – in other words, employers who receive too much will be asked to pay back the difference.

Based on risk analysis SZV and ATS will determine which companies will be audited in the future.

The long list of exemptions – categories and companies that do not qualify for payroll support – will hurt many companies – with the obvious exemption of hotels.

The exemption list covers fourteen categories: agriculture, forestry and fishing, construction, education,  electricity, gas steam and air conditioning supply, financial and insurance activities, human health and social work activities, information and communication, manufacturing, other service activities (mentioned are membership organizations with the exclusion of taxi associations and repair of computers and personal and household goods), professional, scientific and technical services (among them: management consultancy, advertising, legal, accounting, tax and audit services as well as veterinary activities), real estate, wholesale and retail trade, repair of motor vehicles and motorcycles, and, lastly, transportation and storage.

No support neither for publishing and broadcasting companies

Among the companies that will not get financial support are those active in construction, publishing and broadcasting, sale and repair of cars and motor bikes, wholesalers of food, beverages and tobacco products, trucking, garbage collection, insurance, veterinarians and – most remarkable of all – supermarkets.

The category “wholesale and retail trade” describes “retail trade supermarkets, hardware stores, household goods” as companies that will not receive payroll support.

It remains unclear whether “retail trade supermarkets” should be read as “retail trade, supermarkets.” In the first case, only supermarkets are exempt, in the second case the exemption applies to all retailers, including jewelers.

PHOTO CAPTION: Government Administration Building closed. Photo by JH.

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