On 12 September, the European Commission presented a series of initiatives under the SME Relief Package, with the aim to better support SMEs in the EU:
1. A Proposal for a Regulation on late payments in commercial transactions, which:
Introduces a stricter maximum payment limit of 30 days
Ensures an automatic payment of accrued interest and compensation fees
Introduces new enforcement and redress measures to protect companies against bad payers.
Addresses the legal gaps in the current Directive.
2. A Proposal for a Directive establishing a Head Office Tax System, which will give SMEs operating cross-border through permanent establishments the option to interact with only one tax administration. It is expected to reduce compliance costs and distortions in the market.
3. Several non-legislative measures to support SMEs, including:
Reviewing, by the end of 2023, the current SME definition thresholds and developing a harmonised definition. The European Commission may also consider adapting certain obligations for small mid-cap companies
Continuing to apply the ‘one in one out principle’.
Improving the application of the SME Test.
Appointing a SME Envoy to provide guidance and advice to the Commission on SME issues, and advocate SME interests externally.
Simplifying administrative procedures and reporting requirements for SMEs by launching the Once-Only Technical System (part of the Single Digital Gateway) by the end of 2023, allowing SMEs to complete administrative procedures across the Single Market without the need to re-submit documents.
Enhancing access to sustainable finance, notably through a simple and standardised methodology that will support SMEs in reporting on sustainability topics.