The Executive Yuan yesterday unveiled its latest policies to provide financial aid to people and companies affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, including wage subsidies and deferred income tax payments for people working in the tourism and hotel industries.
People affected can apply to postpone paying income taxes for one year or pay in installments of up to 36 months, Minister Without Portfolio Kung Ming-hsin (龔明鑫) told a news conference in Taipei.
The Ministry of Finance would also issue tax rebates sooner than in previous years, he said.
State-owned banks are to roll back interest rates for people who have taken out loans, with people paying mortgages of up to NT$10 million (US$329,859) eligible for a 0.5 percent interest cut on top of an earlier planned 0.5 percent reduction over the course of six months, while those who are repaying auto loans or credit card bills of up to NT$10 million would receive an interest rate cut of 0.75 percent — up from the 0.25 percent originally promised, Kung said.
Other measures for affected people include a grace period for late telecommunications bills of up to six months, during which they would continue to receive service, he said.
Households that include seniors or minors with disabilities would have their subsidies increased by NT$1,500 for three months, which is expected to benefit about 1 million people, he added.
Small stores that are exempt from issuing receipts would receive tax discounts of up to 100 percent, while those that issue receipts would be allowed to postpone paying business tax for one year, or pay it in installments of up to 36 months, Kung said.
The central bank is prepared to offer loans totaling NT$200 billion to small and medium-sized enterprises from its own funds, he said.
Each application could secure up to NT$2 million, 90 percent of which would be guaranteed by the central government, with an interest rate of no more than 1 percent, Kung said, adding that banks that provide loans of more than NT$2 million can request collateral, but not impose interest rates of more than 1.5 percent.
As the tourism and hotel industries have been the hardest hit by the pandemic, the Ministry of Transportation and Communications is to give NT$200,000 to each hotel, between NT$50,000 and NT$100,000 to each bed and breakfast, NT$100,000 to each travel agency, and NT$200,000 to each recreational facility and amusement park owner, he said.
Employers in the two industries whose revenue has been reduced by at least 50 percent, continue to pay workers and have not cut salaries by 20 percent or more would be eligible for monthly wage subsidies of NT$10,000 per employee for three months, provided that they are not already receiving subsidies from the Ministry of Labor to hire people who became unemployed due to the pandemic, he added.
The Ministry of Transportation and Communications has also sourced NT$50 billion to offer as loans to airlines, Kung said.
Many of the policies were drafted according to instructions by President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) after she received a briefing by the Cabinet, he said.
Asked to comment on reports that the Ministry of Transportation and Communications has earmarked NT$1 billion in coupons for people whose overseas trips have been canceled due to the pandemic, Minister of Transportation and Communications Lin Chia-lung (林佳龍) said that the ministry aims to redirect such trips to the domestic market.
The aim is to give each person NT$500 of coupons to encourage them to embark on domestic trips, but the details of the plan need to be ironed out in upcoming Cabinet meetings, he said.
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