Gov't starts clawing back coronavirus support money from businesses

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Stock photo of the Netherlands flag, cash in euros, and a calculatorphoto: Zerbor / DepositPhotos

A number of companies that have claimed undue government support through the TOGS scheme are having their support payments reversed, the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) confirmed to broadcaster NOS. The RVO did not reveal how many companies were involved, which firms were affected, nor if the companies were suspected of intentionally made false claims.

Some 191,000 applications had been filed to the RVO as of Wednesday last week, with more than 181,000 of them being paid out a combined total of 724 million euros, according to NOS.

The TOGS scheme, designed to assist ailing small and mid-sized businesses hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis, was roundly expanded by the government on Wednesday during its announcement of economic support measures to include an additional tax-free allowance to pay for fixed costs. Smaller businesses affected by the Covid-19 crisis, such as those in the catering, recreation, events and theater industries, have been entitled since March to receive a one-off payment of 4,000 euros under the program.

From Wednesday, the same companies have also been entitled to receive a tax-free allowance from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in order to cover their fixed material costs. Depending on the size of the company in question, these support measures can include up to 20,000 euros over a three-month period.