Aruba: Audits and Repayments of Wage Subsidy and Resuming Full Payment of Wages
December 14, 2021
Recently, the parliament has approved adjustments to the National Ordinance Temporary Wage Subsidy which will impact the wage subsidy received and resume full payment of wages to employees. In this Tax Instant News we will inform you about the changes and the impact this may have on your organization.
Wage Tax Subsidy
As per November 1, 2021 the wage tax subsidy program in Aruba has ended and employers are no longer able to receive assistance from the government in payment of wages to their employees. The National Ordinance Wage Subsidy was presented to the parliament by the government in May 2021, but only approved by the parliament on 30 November 2021. The wage subsidy has been provided over the years 2020 and 2021 to employers based on Ministerial Decrees, but is now formalized with the approval of this National Ordinance.
The National Ordinance provides all conditions that need to be met to receive wage subsidy, including registration of the employer with the Social Security Administration and tax authorities, payment of at least 60% of the wages to the employees by the employer and provision of the administration upon request. Also the employer needs to provide access to the staff information held by the Social Security Administration and the Minister of Finance has provided for an exemption of the privacy laws held by the tax authorities to allow access to their information for the audit of wage subsidies as well.
Advances and finalization
In the National Ordinance the payments made to entrepreneurs over the course of 2020 and 2021 are deemed to be advances until the actual wage subsidy has been determined.
The National Ordinance does state that the actual determination of the wage subsidy will be established within 8 months of the month over which the wage subsidy has been provided, however it does not provide any conclusion in case the government does not provide a final calculation within 8 months.
The legislation also allows for the government to collect repayment of the amount overpaid in the advances after finalization of the calculations mentioned before, including revoking the entire right to wage subsidy if the employer does not comply with the conditions or if the employer knew the wage subsidy advance received was wrong.
Based on the approved national ordinance the Social Security Authority (SVB) is allowed and will start the process of finalization of the wage subsidy, which may include audits of the files used for the calculation of the wages subsidy received. It is important to ensure all information is available and correct to avoid any repayments of the wage subsidy advances received.
Full payment of wages resumed
The Social Security Authority has also announced that with the withdrawal of the wage subsidy measures, all other emergency measures attached to these measures are also abolished.
One of the conditions to receive wage subsidy is that the employer would commit to pay at least 60% of the wages to their staff. However, with the withdrawal of the wage subsidy regulation, the employers will have to adhere to the normal regulations with regard to employment of their staff, which includes payment of the full amount of wages agreed upon.
It is important to ensure as per November 1, 2021 that all staff members are paid in accordance with the employment agreement or union agreement.