10 April, 2020
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North Macedonia continues to help the economy – this time, entrepreneurs

North Macedonia did not escape having a state of emergency declared, which came into force on March 18, 2020.  Prior to the declaration of the state of emergency, the Government of North Macedonia adopted a series of economic and other measures in the hope of cushioning the impact of COVID-19.  Namely, the Government is to contribute to financing 50% of salaries in the tourism, transport and hospitality sector for April, May and June 2020, which is the first of several measures to help these sectors.  In addition, North Macedonia is providing interest-free loans for companies, with a repayment period of up to 2 years.

In this regard, North Macedonia continues its trend of helping businesses.  The Government of North Macedonia has issued a Decree on financial support to entrepreneurs during the coronavirus emergency (“Decree“), which entered into force on April 6, 2020.

 

What is financial support for entrepreneurs and how to get it?

Financial assistance consists of payment of MKD 14,500 for April and May 2020.  This assistance can be used by the self-employed – entrepreneurs, farmers, craftsmen and those providing services and are registered within the relevant register.

However, what are the eligibility requirements for the self-employed?

The regulation covers several schemes.

  1. The first scheme concerns those seeking financial aid who are taxed on actual income. The Decree stipulates that they must have experienced a 30% fall off in total income from the self-employment in March 2020 compared to the monthly average of total income generated in 2019 from the self-employment.

 

  1. There is also a scheme for entrepreneurs engaged in seasonal activities. The Decree stipulates that their average income in the last period of the season (4 months) must have experienced at least a 30% fall off compared to the average income earned during the same 4 months in the previous year.

 

  1. Third, the Decree also requires that those seeking financial aid who registered after March 2019 – total self-employment income for April 2020 or May 2020 must have experienced at least a 30% fall off in their monthly average total income earned from the date of registration in the register in 2019 and January and February 2020.

 

Eligible persons must submit an appropriate application for funds to the Public Revenue Authority.  Applications must accompanied by a declaration of eligibility and submitted through the e-pdd system.  The application deadline is the 5th of the month for the previous month.  The Public Revenue Authority assesses whether the documentation is complete within 3 days of the date of receipt of an application.  Monetary aid is paid by the 13th day of the month for the previous month and lodged to the applicant’s business account.

 

Which entrepreneurs do not qualify for financial support?

A person who is taxed on actual income and who has earned in excess of MKD 478,000 before tax in 2019 is not eligible for financial aid.  This also applies to persons paying tax on a fixed sum of income and having a fixed annual net income of MKD 478,000 for 2019.

 

Is financial support unreserved?

Beneficiaries of financial support must not cease their activity during the validity of the Decree and during 4 months after, except in the event of retirement or death.

Secondly, beneficiaries of financial support are required to return the funds with statutory interest accrued if they are ineligible under the Decree, i.e. if an investigation by the Public Revenue Authority or the State Labor Inspectorate finds that they were ineligible.

These funds will certainly prove a significant helping hand to small entrepreneurs on low income or no income during the crisis.  However, the crisis will not last forever and the state authorities of North Macedonia have taken this into account. In any case, beneficiaries of financial support are required to refund the financial aid in the amount and under the conditions prescribed by the Decree.   Refunds will be spread across three monthly installments in April, May and June 2021.