The package of measures announced by the Federal Ministry of Finance (BMF) and the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) on 13 March 2020 on the economic impact of the corona pandemic includes not only taxes administered by the tax offices (in particular, income, corporation and value-added taxes) but also a comprehensive package of measures for excise taxes falling within the remit of the customs administration.
This specifically means that applications for deferral of electricity, energy and, in particular, alcohol tax payment obligations may be submitted, provided that a concrete effect of coronavirus on the respective applicant can be shown. Furthermore, there is the possibility to apply for ‘suspension of enforcement’ and/or adjustment of advance payments.
In the current situation, one could also consider filing possible applications for relief under the Electricity or Energy Tax Act earlier than planned or to discuss possible contentious legal issues with the customs administration in an open and solution-orientated manner.
Caution is required, however, if the applicant could be regarded as a ‘company in crisis’ under the EU’s General Block Exemption Regulation due to the current overall economic situation since corresponding declarations or negative confirmations in the context of relief applications under the Electricity and Energy Tax Act have been required by the customs administration since 2017 on Form 1139.
In addition, the applicant should carefully consult with his tax/legal advisor when making use of further assistance from national emergency assistance programmes in the context of the corona crisis in order to secure possible (already budgeted) excise duty relief. Otherwise, this could jeopardise a promising application for other assistance and the simultaneous receipt of the requested relief, since, according to the current state of affairs, it cannot be ruled out that the applicant may be adversely affected by the application of European Union regulations on government assistance.
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