This content is a translation of the document ‘Mesures de soutien économiques’ (Economic support measures) drafted by the government
▧ For employers
Employers may defer all or part of the payment of their employee and employer contributions for the 5 and 15 November 2020 deadlines. However, the declarations must be submitted by the scheduled dates. The deferral of URSSAF contributions also applies to supplementary pension scheme contributions.
For départements that are not subject to lockdown measures (in particular French Guiana, Mayotte and Réunion), this possibility is reserved for employers affected by activity restrictions or closures.
No penalties or late fees will be applied.
▧ For the self-employed:
Personal social security contributions for self-employed persons will not be debited in November (the quarterly due date of 5 November and the monthly due dates of 5 and 20 November have been suspended). The direct debit for the contributions due in November will not be carried out. This is an automatic procedure and self-employed workers have nothing to do for this. Those who pay by other means will be able to adjust the amount of their payment.
No penalties or late fees will be applied. The terms and conditions for adjusting these payment deadlines will be specified at a later date.
However, self-employed workers who are able to do so are invited to pay their contributions whenever possible, according to the terms and conditions given by their local URSSAF. They can adjust their payment schedule by re-estimating their 2020 income, which serves as the basis for calculating provisional contributions.
In addition to these measures, self-employed workers may request aid from the Council for the Social Protection of Self-Employed Workers (Conseil de la Protection sociale des travailleurs indépendants, CPSTI) to partially or totally cover their contributions, or for exceptional financial assistance.
Craftsmen can complete these steps:
Professionals in private practice (professions libérales) can complete these steps:
▧ For freelancers (autoentrepreneurs):
The monthly declaration due for September and the quarterly declaration for the third quarter should be reported by 12 p.m. on 2 November.
Freelancers may pay all or part of the social security contributions due on that deadline, or they can opt out of paying them altogether.
Those who have already made their declarations can modify their payment order to reduce the amount paid or to change the amount to zero.
No late payment penalties will be applied. The terms and conditions for adjusting partial or non-payments will be specified at a later date.
Freelancers who have been granted a payment extension may also request to push back other deadlines.
You can find more information at the following link: https://mesures-covid19.urssaf.fr/
▧ For employers
To benefit from a deferral, simply fill in a preliminary request form on your online account. If URSSAF does not reply within 48 hours, the request is considered to have been accepted. Unpaid contributions shall be automatically deferred. URSSAF will contact the employers at a later date to propose a plan for settling their debts.
If URSSAF does not reply within two working days of the form’s submission, the request for deferral is considered to have been accepted.
The company may reduce all or part of its contributions through the electronic employers’ declarations (déclarations sociales nominatives, DSN) payment system if it has opted for electronic payment, or by adjusting the amount paid by bank transfer if it uses this payment method. No matter what, the contributions should be declared in the DSN (parts 78, 81, 22 and 23).
▧ For the self-employed:
The suspension of direct debit is automatic and does not require any action on the part of the insured. You can find more information at the following link: https://mesures-covid19.urssaf.fr/
Scheme implemented during the first wave
Due to the Covid-19 health crisis which led to a lockdown from March to June 2020, an exemption from employer contributions for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) was put in place.
Companies that suffered a sharp decline in turnover must fulfil at least one of the two following conditions:
The exemption is total and covers the following employer’s social security contributions and contributions: social security contributions, unemployment insurance contributions, autonomous solidarity contribution, national housing fund contribution, due on remuneration paid to employees falling within the scope of the general reduction (with the exception of supplementary pension contributions).
This exemption is applicable even if the eligible company benefited from a deferral of the payment of contributions between March and June 2020. The amounts corresponding to the exempt employer’s contributions and contributions will therefore not be due.
In addition, there is also provision for assistance with the payment of outstanding social security contributions (employer and employee) for the year 2020, equal to 20% of the remuneration that is exempt from employer’s contributions. The amount of payment aid shall be chargeable against all sums due to the collection organisations for the year 2020 or 2021, after application of the exemption and any other total or partial exemption applicable.
The total amount of exemptions and payment aid received may not exceed €800,000. This amounts to €120,000 per company for the fisheries and aquaculture sector and €100,000 per company for the primary agricultural production sector.
The exemption is to be declared by the employer in their DSN via the CTP 667 and the amount of the payment aid via the CTP 051.
In addition, companies with fewer than 250 employees that are not eligible for exemptions and payment aid but which fall within one of the sectors of activity that can prove a decrease of at least 50% in their turnover compared to the same period in 2019, may request, as part of a settlement plan, a partial rebate of debts for employer contributions due for the period from 1 February to 31 May (due in March, April, May and June). Its amount may not exceed 50% of the employer’s contributions included in the plan.
In 2021, company directors and spouses working for each (conjoints collaborateurs) other can benefit from a reduction in their final personal social security contributions and contributions for 2020 in the amount of:
In addition, in order to benefit from the financial effect of the reduction that will be calculated in 2021 following the declaration of real 2020 income, self-employed workers and spouses working for each other may reduce their 2020 provisional contributions by applying an allowance to their total estimated income for the year 2020. It is set at: €5,000 for the S1 and S1 bis sectors, €3,500 for the S2 sector.
For self-employed workers covered by the microsocial regime, the reduction takes the form of a deduction made by the freelancer when they declare their turnover. This deduction is equal to the amount of the turnover or revenue achieved over the period: from March to June 2020 for those whose main activity falls under sectors 1 and 1bis and from March to May 2020 for those whose main activity falls under sector 2.
For more information please visit: https://www.urssaf.fr/portail/home/employeur/beneficier-dune-exoneration/measures-covid-19/exoneration-de-cotisations.html
Scheme for companies in areas with a curfew
Following the new restrictions on receiving the public due to the health crisis, the government announced new decisions regarding social security contribution exemptions for companies on 15 October.
The following companies will benefit from a total exemption from employer social security contributions, excluding private pension schemes, as well as assistance with the payment of outstanding social security contributions equalling 20% of the total payroll:
This scheme will be implemented for the contributions due for September. Contributions will be assessed in October.
The government will also introduce a reduced contribution scheme for self-employed workers in the same situation (the condition regarding the number of employees does not apply).
Parliament shall specify the terms and conditions of this scheme during their end-of-year examination of the financial laws.
Scheme set up after lockdown
Following the second lockdown, the scheme put in place for the curfew has been extended and expanded:
This scheme will also now benefit the self-employed workers concerned by it.
Parliament shall specify the terms and conditions of this scheme during their end-of-year examination of the financial laws.
Most of the answers to the questions people ask are available on the URSSAF website at the following link: https://mesures-covid19.urssaf.fr/faq
How exactly do you assess the number of employees? Should staff recruited on an intermittent basis be accounted for?
The employer’s workforce is assessed at company level with all the establishments taken together. It corresponds to the average number of persons employed in each month of the previous calendar year.
Persons recruited on a temporary basis, including on an intermittent basis, as well as persons recruited on a part-time basis are taken into account in due proportion to their working time in the company.
How do you assess the activity criterion when the company has several distinct business activities?
The main activity of the employer is determined at company level. Regardless of the employer’s APE code, only the employer’s actual business activity can effectively determine eligibility for the scheme.
The employer’s main activity is the only one that is taken into account. Thus, if an employer has a separate ancillary activity in addition to its main activity, it will not be taken into account when assessing the eligibility for the exemption and payment aid schemes.
However, in cases where a company has several separate establishments with different activities, the right to an exemption may be assessed on the basis of the activity of each of the establishments, independently of the activity of the others. If the activity of an establishment falls within one of the eligible sectors, the exemption will be applied only to the employees of that establishment.
How do I obtain a certificate proving that I am up to date with my social security contributions (attestation de vigilance) from URSSAF or MSA?
Companies can download their attestation de vigilance from their online account if they are up to date with their contributions as at 1 March 2020. You can still get this certificate if you have had difficulty paying your contributions after this date following the consequences of the health crisis.
Can I just cancel my social security contributions?
No, you cannot cancel contributions. Article 65 of this year’s amended finance law of 30 July provides a legal framework allowing for exemption measures and settling of debt.
This is the only framework in which the sums due can be exempted.
When you contribute to URSSAF, you contribute to the financing of our social security model, just like all employees, companies, individual employers and self-employed persons do. Social security contributions are essential to us all. They guarantee that we are all protected. They are paid directly to the various Social Security branches and other social protection bodies. They are used to finance expenses such as health care, family assistance, pensions, support for the public employment service, etc.
Moreover, the URSSAF network cannot simply cancel social security contributions.
Can I benefit from contribution deferrals, too, if I use the “Tese” scheme?
Where possible, the direct debit planned for the 15 May 2020 deadline was cancelled and pushed back to 15 June 2020. You did not have to do anything.
If you do not wish to defer all your contributions and prefer to pay all or part of your contributions, you can contact your URSSAF to set up a transfer for immediate payment.
If you pay by cheque and wish to continue doing so, please note that postal delivery times and processing by our services will extend the time it takes to deposit the payment.
For more information on how to set up this transfer, please send your request via your employer’s account > My mailbox > New message > A declaration formality > Declare an exceptional situation (Ma boîte aux lettres > Nouveau message > Une formalité déclarative > Déclarer une situation exceptionnelle).
Information will be provided at a later date for future deadlines.
Will it be problematic if my employees’ professional expenses are unusual?
You can certainly continue to reimburse employees’ professional expenses, whether they work on site or remotely.
For employees who incur unusual business expenses, reimbursements will be considered with goodwill in future audits.
Milage allowances, hotel nights, meals, taxi fares, car rental costs, additional childcare costs or any other costs incurred by the company or reimbursed to the employee which enable them to travel to their place of work will be considered justified in cases where remote working is impossible. The employer should keep the invoices if they reimburse expenses on a real basis.
Your Companies Tax Office (Service des Impots des Entreprises, SIE) remains your main point of contact: in the event of difficulties, it can grant you payment extensions for your direct taxes (property tax, CFE, corporate tax, etc.) on a case-by-case basis.
If you had to push back tax payment deadlines last spring and have not yet been able to pay them, your SIE is also there to help you. They offer “Covid-19 specific” settlement plans to provide the best support possible to companies.
These payment plans are designed to spread the payment of your taxes due during the peak of the crisis over a period of 12, 24 or even 36 months, depending on your level of indebtedness. If you have also deferred social security contribution payments, these will automatically be taken into account when calculating the duration of these plans and your social security contribution debts will be staggered by your URSSAF over the same period as your tax debts.
To do so, do not delay and submit your request for a staggered tax payment plan by 31 December 2020 at the latest. Complete the form (PDF format) and send it using the secure messaging system in your professional account online or, failing that, by e-mail or post to your SIE.
Deferral of tax deadlines for companies
To simplify this, the DGFiP has provided an application template that you can send to the SIE.
You can access all of these procedures on your personal account on the impots.gouv website, in the section “Manage my tax deducted at source” (Gérer mon prélèvement à la source). Any action before the 22nd of the month will be taken into account for the following month.
The Government has presented a scheme to lower professional taxation and, in particular, business property contributions (contribution foncière des entreprises, CFE) in the hospitality, tourism and event sectors.
It has decided on two concrete measures relating to CFE to support companies whose activity has been particularly affected by the health crisis.
Firstly, CFE payment in its entirety is deferred to December 15.
Thus, companies in the sectors concerned and that have a CFE instalment due on June 15 should disregard it: a deferral until December 15 without penalty is automatically granted. The CFE balance shall be paid on this date.
Likewise, companies that pay their CFE in monthly instalments can suspend these instalments: the balance of the tax due in its entirety will then be deferred until 15 December, without any penalty.
Secondly, within the framework of the amended finance law 4, the Government has implemented a new support measure enabling communes and intercommunal consortiums that so wish to grant a rebate of 2/3 of the total CFE to companies in these sectors of activity. To assist with this business support measure, the State will pay half the cost of the tax rebate when a local authority decides to implement it, even though the State does not collect this tax.
To assist companies to gradually regrow their business, the government is offering them the possibility to further adjust their IS and CVAE instalments. Companies can set up a payment plan for the instalments according to the projected income for the financial year. The tolerated margins of error have also been increased. Full details are annexed to this press release. The details are as follows:
Details on the measures concerning the 2020 IS and CVAE instalments
Concerning the corporate tax (impôt sur les sociétés, IS)
General framework for accelerated corporate tax credit refunds
To provide financial assistance to struggling companies, the Ministry of Public Action and Accounts has announced that it will be possible to apply for early repayment of corporate tax claims refundable in 2020 and accelerated processing of VAT credit claims by the Public Finances Directorate General (DGFiP).
Companies benefiting from one or more tax credits set to be refunded in 2020 can now request to be reimbursed the balance of the available claim, after deducting it from their corporate tax due for the 2019 financial year, without having to wait to file their income statement (tax return, liasse fiscale), if applicable.
This scheme applies to all tax credits refundable in 2020, including the competitiveness and employment tax credit (crédit d’impôt pour la compétitivité et l’emploi, CICE) and the research tax credit (crédit d’impôt recherche, CIR), though only to the portion due to be refunded this year. This applies in particular to credits concerning certain sectors experiencing hardship such as:
Companies can declare this online on their professional account on impots.gouv.fr:
The Companies Tax Offices (Service des Impots des Entreprises, SIE) are working in full gear to process company reimbursement claims as quickly as possible, within a few days.
VAT credit refunds
To obtain a VAT credit refund, the company must apply online, directly via its professional account or via an approved partner (EDI partner).
In the context of the Covid-19 crisis, the DGFiP’s services will process applications for VAT credit refunds as quickly as possible.
Maintaining the benefit of the tax credit for the employment of an employee at home when the tutoring service is provided remotely
Private individuals who employ tutors and teachers at home are eligible for an income tax credit. Due to the particular circumstances of the current health crisis, the Ministry of Public Action and Accounts has announced that these services will continue to qualify for this tax advantage when they have to be carried out remotely during this time, on an exceptional and temporary basis.
How it works
If your company is struggling to make payments due to the virus, you can request a payment plan from the treasury in order to stagger or defer the payment of your tax debt.
If this plan is not enough to resolve these difficulties, those in the most dire situations can apply for a direct tax rebate (e.g. income tax, territorial economic contribution).
Whether you can benefit or not from these free measures is determined by an individualised examination of the application which takes into account the company’s situation and financial difficulties.
Download the free rebate application form on the dedicated page: https://www.impots.gouv.fr/portail/node/13465
What should I do if I can’t pay my VAT?
Requests for deferral only concern direct taxes and social security contributions. You must still pay indirect taxes (VAT, excise duties, etc.) on the set due dates, without any delay.
The Government’s action focuses on taxes that directly affect companies and not the final consumer, which already represents a considerable effort.
Companies only act as tax collectors on behalf of the State for indirect taxes, such as the transfer of tax deducted at source, but they are not liable for them. In the event activity slows down, indirect taxes also “slow down”.
Requests for deferral only concern direct taxes, therefore, VAT and tax deducted at source are to be paid on the due dates without any delay.
Businesses that are unable to meet their VAT return and payment deadlines should contact their Companies Tax Office (Service des Impots des Entreprises, SIE) to find a suitable solution. We would also like to remind you that any VAT duty payment deferral or remission cannot be granted to companies.
However, if you are unable to gather all the documents needed to draw up your VAT return (non-presumptive tax regime (réel normal)) due to the current lockdown, a declaration system based on an assessment of the tax due is implemented. Therefore, you can:
When paying a month’s instalment the amount of the payment must be mentioned on line 5B “Sommes à ajouter, y compris acompte congés” [“Sums to be added, including holiday instalment”] of the gross VAT box and the
“Mention expresse” [“Explicit mention”] box should contain the keywords “Acompte Covid-19” [“Covid-19 instalment”] and the flat rate used, for example: “Forfait 80 % du mois M” [“Flat rate 80% of month M”].
When the adjustment declaration is filed, it must be cumulative, including the elements relating to the past month with those of the previous months for which instalments have been paid. The sum of the instalments paid for the previous months must be debited and mentioned on line 2C “Sommes à imputer, y compris acompte congés” [“Sums to be debited, including holiday instalments”] of the deductible VAT box
For more information, visit the dedicated page on the Public Finances Directorate General’s website: https://www.impots.gouv.fr/portail/node/13467
Is it possible to speed up the reimbursement of outstanding competitiveness and employment tax credit (crédit d’impôt pour la compétitivité et l’emploi, CICE)/research tax credit (crédit d’impôt recherche, CIR) balances?
Businesses can apply for early repayment of their tax credits without waiting to file their income statement in May. A company that benefits from one or more tax credits due to be refunded in 2020 can now request to be reimbursed the balance of the available sum outstanding, after offsetting it against its corporate tax due for the 2019 financial year. This system applies to all tax credits that due to be refunded in 2020, in particular the CICE, CIR, innovation tax credit (crédit d’impôt innovation, CII), etc. (for the part which is due to be repaid this year).
Can I benefit from a tax deadline extension if my business has been interrupted or restricted due to a closure measure in areas with a curfew?
Companies whose business has been interrupted or restricted due to a closure measure in areas with a curfew, or when their financial situation justifies it, can obtain extended deadlines for the payment of their direct taxes (excluding VAT and tax deducted at source) on their next tax payment due dates. They must request this from their tax department, which may grant it after examining their situation on a case-by-case basis.
In addition, the due date for the property tax owed by businesses that own and operate their own commercial or industrial premises can be extended by 3 months, on simple request, as announced on 12 October.
How can I adjust my fiscal situation if I am struggling to pay my professional taxes due during the period of March to May 2020?
You can apply for a “covid-19 specific” settlement plan, subject to meeting the conditions detailed here.
This plan, established according to your level of tax and social security debt, lasts for a maximum of 36 months. A specific form (PDF format) must be completed and sent to your Companies Tax Office (Service des Impots des Entreprises, SIE) via the secure messaging system in your professional account online, or failing that, by e-mail or post.
I would like to obtain a “covid-19 specific” settlement plan. Which private creditors must I contact beforehand in order to meet the conditions for obtaining this plan?
This condition aims to ensure that your company is working on settling all of its debts with its public and private creditors.
You can benefit from a “covid-19 specific” settlement plan if you have previously requested a payment deferral, an increased authorised overdraft limit or additional cash lines from your credit institution for the payment of loan instalments that were due between 1 March 2020 and 31 May 2020. Once this request has been made, you can confirm that you have done this by ticking the appropriate box on the application form (PDF format).
Companies struggling to pay rent or paying rent late that do not reach an agreement with their landlord may resort to non-judicial mediation:
For what reason and how can I refer my case to the Business Mediator?
Unlike judicial and administrative procedures, Business Mediation offers a free, fast (under three months), and confidential mediation service. Business information remains confidential and the company’s reputation is not affected.
The benefit of mediation is twofold. Above all, it helps to resolve issues that undermine business relations and consequently relieves the courts of disputes that can be resolved amicably. Link to refer a matter to the Business Mediator as soon as possible.
Please note that prior to a referral, you can ask questions or seek advice on how to proceed, confidentially, using the contact form.
For what reason and how can I refer my case to the departmental conciliation commissions for commercial leases?
The departmental commissions are joint bodies, with representatives of both landlords and tenants. Their very composition is such as to foster mutual understanding between the parties. An interministerial circular had been sent to prefects requesting that they reinstate these commissions insofar as possible, and they are being reinstated in the départements where they had been dissolved.
Mediation is not one of the competences normally assigned to them by law. However, in application of the principle of freedom of contract, the landlord and the tenant may enter into an agreement to refer the matter to the conciliation commission to find amicable solutions.
Under this agreement, the Parties undertake to:
Furthermore, during the mediation period, which shall last no longer than three months from the signing of the agreement, the parties shall refrain from taking any legal action against each other. Under no circumstances shall the conciliation commission be vested with arbitration powers.
Pursuant to article 2238 of the French Civil Code, the period of prescription shall be suspended as from the signature of the agreement. The period of prescription shall start from the date on which the commission completes the conciliation. It cannot be shorter than six months.
As part the mediation process, the Parties may be assisted or represented by a lawyer.
Should the landlord and tenant reach a conciliation agreement, a deed must be drawn up, signed by the parties and initialled by the chairman and the secretary of the commission.
List of departmental conciliation commissions for commercial leases as at 2 November:
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The Government has undertaken to introduce a tax credit in the 2021 finance bill that encourages landlords to help support the companies most affected by the restrictions implemented as of 30 October.
The tax credit will benefit all landlords (both natural and legal persons), whatever their tax regime, who renounce at least one month’s rent owed by companies with fewer than 250 employees. These companies shall have been subject to administrative closure or belong to the hospitality sector.
This 30% tax credit shall apply to the total rent payments that they agreed to renounce from October to December 2020.
Do companies have to pay outstanding insurance payments?
Yes, there have been no specific measures in this regard.
Are invoices for operating lease payments (leasing, rental, equipment rental, etc.) suspended?
This is not intended for commercial and professional leases.