Tourism has been hit hard and professionals are asking the government to step up their support for the sector.
A solution to one of the problems; how to reimburse clients who have or are about to cancel their holidays has been introduced on Wednesday March 25 as one of 24 measures which will be put to the Conseil des Ministres.
This consists of a coupon equivalent in value to the price of the service clients had or were about to cancel, valid for 18 months. Professionals have 30 days to inform their clients.
It will concern cancellations from March 1 to September 15, 2020. If clients do not wish to use the coupons they will be able to be reimbursed in full after 18 months.
It will cover holiday packages, accommodation and car hire. This means companies would not have to find the money for reimbursements at this difficult period.
Other measures have already been put into place for independent workers in financial difficulty, which apply to those in the tourist sector. A state aid, worth up to €1,500 has been created for independent workers, including micro-entrepreneurs in the most heavily affected sectors, including restaurants, accommodation, tourism, culture and sport, events and transport.
To apply you have to be able to show a drop of 70% turnover in March 2020 compared to March 2019 or a total shutdown of your business, such as restaurants.
If you have lost less than €1,500 you will be given the amount you have lost.
This measure is to compensate non-salaried workers who cannot apply for chômage technique, temporary unemployment benefit.
The government is setting up an application system which will be available from March 31.
You will have to provide an estimation of the amount you have lost, a declaration to the effect that your demand is legitimate and a RIB with your bank details. You can find more information here.
If you are registered as an auto-entrepreneur with Urssaf and you make monthly contribution payments, you can put zero for the March 31 payment but will have to include any revenue you have not declared now in the future. A decision will be taken later for those who pay every three months where the next payment is due on April 30.
You can apply for an aide sociale if you are in real difficulties to pay part of your contributions or to give you a one off financial grant. To apply go to your account online at autoentrepreneur.urssaf.fr and send a message via Messagerie>Nouveau message>Gestion de mon auto-entreprise>Je rencontre des difficultés de paiement
If you are not an auto-entrepreneur but an independent worker then your Ursaff contributions, due for March 20 have already been cancelled and the amount due will be spread over the following months, from April to December. Payments due on April 5 will not be taken and the amount due will be spread from May to December.
For regularly updated information see: https://tinyurl.com/rrdqzjs
You can also defer your income tax payments. If you are an independent worker, BIC, BNC or BA you can either change the amount you pay by altering the amount of your annual income, which will automatically decrease your monthly sum, or postpone your payments to the following month.
You do this online at impots.gouv.fr in your personal account under Gérer mon prélèvement à la source.
See coronavirus income tax information at: https://tinyurl.com/t5aqeaw
One British gîte owner who has been running a successful business for fifteen years, but who does not wish to be named, told Connexion they contacted their client base to explain the situation and offered them vouchers to be paid now in exchange for future holidays.
They were amazed by the rapid and generous response of clients from all over the world who had enjoyed their holidays in France so much they were more than willing to help the family who had given them such a good time.
The owner says she thinks this could be a good idea for other long term established gîtes or chambre d’hôtes owners to get them over a short-term cash crisis. At present she says all bookings for April and May have been cancelled and this is now starting for June.
She hopes the government will eventually help gîte and chambre d’hôtes owners cover the costs of bookings that were already made but were cancelled because of the holiday travel ban.
She says according to the contracts she draws up with clients she can keep the deposits of anyone who cancels less than a month from the holiday date, but it is something she feels bad about doing as the holiday maker is also losing out.
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