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Thousands of tax deferral and wage aid applications submitted

ZAGREB, March 26 (Hina) – Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said that about 8,800 applications for tax deferral had been submitted by Thursday afternoon, adding that businesses owing more than HRK 200 (€26) in taxes were not automatically disqualified from this measure.

A portion of the applications have been approved, and the Tax Administration is doing its best to process the applications as soon as possible, Maric told the press after a cabinet meeting.

He noted that only regular taxpayers were entitled to this measure, adding that nearly 90 percent of the taxpayers paid their taxes regularly. “If anyone currently owes more than HRK 200 in taxes, they are not automatically disqualified.”

Maric said that the Tax Administration had set up a dedicated web page with detailed information on the tax deferral measure.

Asked to comment on demands by a number of associations and initiatives that businesses be released from paying taxes and contributions for the duration of the coronavirus crisis, Maric said he was ready for dialogue. He said that the economic measures adopted by the government were only the first set of measures, adding that the government was “deeply aware” that these measures would not be enough and that’s why they were working on additional measures.

The measures that will follow will take into account the effects of the present measures, and further measures will be taken depending on developments and the depth and the length of the crisis itself, the finance minister said.

Maric said that in addition to tax deferral businesses also needed fresh liquidity and that in this regard the government was counting on cheap loans from the Croatian Bank for Reconstruction and Development, the HAMAG-BICRO agency for small and medium enterprises, and commercial banks.

“Understanding the functioning of the enterprise sector is very important, but we cannot disregard the functioning of society as a whole either,” Maric said.

HRK 3,250 aid per employee requested for 170,000 workers

To date, 29,000 employers with 170,000 workers on their payroll have submitted applications for state grants in the amount of HRK 3,250 per employee, and on Wednesday, the first grants were paid out.

Labour and Pension System Minister Josip Aladrovic said on Thursday that the technical implementation of the government’s minimum wage scheme whereby HRK 3,250 would be paid for each employee as a support to businesses hit by the crisis due to the COVID-19 outbreak, was going on well.

Aladrovic said that he expected requests for up to 400,000 workers to be covered by this measure designed to keep jobs.

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