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COVID-19: The World Responds

Since the World Health Organization declared the novel coronavirus to be a global pandemic, countries around the world have been responding not only with public health warnings to wash your hands and stay at home, but with fiscal and monetary measures to assist economies during this world-wide crisis. Below are summaries of how some countries have responded, as well as links to our HLB affiliates’ websites, which will be updated as business and economic measures are implemented.

Please visit HLB International’s website for articles, webinars and other information regarding COVID-19 on a global basis.

Canada – From March 4, 2020 through March 16, 2020, The Bank of Canada reduced interest rates twice and announced the expansion of bond-buying programs, including purchasing mortgage-backed securities, as well as reductions in collateral requirements.  Additionally, Canada reduced bank reserve requirements, giving banks the ability to lend an additional $214 billion and provided $7.1 billion in loans to businesses impacted by the coronavirus.

Please visit HLB Millards’ website, HLB Facet Advisors’ website and HLB Schwartz Levitsky Feldman LLP website for more information and updates.

Australia –  A stimulus package was announced on March 12, 2020, including business subsidies for those industries impacted, payments to those collecting old-age or veteran benefits and assistance to small businesses to encourage hiring.

Please visit HLB Mann Judd’s website for more information and updates.

Hong Kong –  Part of the 2021 budget, announced on February 26, 2020, included significant fiscal stimulus initiatives, such as a $1,200 cash payment to all adult permanent residents, one-month rent relief for those living in public housing, reductions in payroll, income, property and other business taxes, low-interest government-guaranteed loans to businesses, and an additional month’s payments for those receiving old-age or disability benefits

China –  The People’s Bank of China implemented several new policies beginning on February 3rd, including extension the amounts of loans to keep money markets stable and allow banks to have more cash on hand, cut interest rates, and lowered reserve requirements.

For more information or questions on these updates, please contact a member of the International Tax Team

South Korea –  A stimulus package worth $9.8 billion was introduced on March 3, 2020, including subsidies to small/medium businesses in order to maintain payments to workers, child-care subsidies, and job re-training programs.

Japan – In February and March, small business loan packages were passed as well as a spending bill including programs to increase the production of masks and to stop the virus from spreading in nursing homes.

United Kingdom – The Bank of England enacted stimulus measures on March 11, 2020, including lowering interest rates and reducing capital requirements for banks, followed by a plan to buy UK government bonds and reducing interest rates again introduced on March 19, 2020.  Also on March 11, 2020, the Finance Minister of the UK announced a budget including fiscal stimulus proposals such as a tax cut for retailers, grants to small businesses and a subsidy for businesses to cover sick pay which is mandated to cover employees required to self-isolate and expansion of unemployment benefits (including benefits for those self-employed).  Further measures involving business loan guarantees, tax cuts and grant funding for those business impacted were introduced on March 17, 2020.

Please visit HLB Menzie’s website for more information and updates.

Germany –  The state bank has been authorized to lend as much as $610 billion to companies impacted by the coronavirus.

Read more.

France – An aid package worth $49 billion was announced on March 17, 2020, including substantial social-security tax cuts, unemployment benefits for those workers impacted and a fund to help shopkeepers and the self-employed.  Additionally, the government will guarantee bank loans of up to $327 billion to help businesses.

Italy – Two separate spending packages were announced on March 11, 2020, including increasing a fund guaranteeing loans to small and medium-sized business, direct aid to businesses severely impacted by the coronavirus, and assistance to laid-off workers.

International Tax Updates

Disclaimer: Please note this is the information that is readily available at this time, it is subject to change so please consult your Withum tax advisor.

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