Coronavirus – What it means for businesses

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Businesses across the world are feeling the strain of these difficult times brought about by the coronavirus pandemic. Yet business goes on and businesses must come to terms with the situation. We at the commercial law firm MTR Rechtsanwälte offer legal advice on a wide range of issues currently affected by the coronavirus.

Our efforts have been particularly focused on adapting and responding to the current environment, its challenges, and the implications for three key fields of law: commercial law, distribution law, and labor and employment law.
Distribution law, in particular, presently demands a great deal of expertise of legal practitioners in addressing the definition of “force majeure”, with many cases turning on whether the coronavirus constitutes force majeure and thus justifies suspending contractual performance. It is not uncommon for businesses to find themselves out of their depth trying to make a convincing case for invoking force majeure vis-à-vis business partners, and for them to be uninformed about the possible or necessary next steps if agreements are cancelled, paused, or terminated.
The rescission or termination of agreements under commercial law is also currently presenting businesses as well as independent commercial agents with complex challenges that, in the vast majority of cases, cannot be resolved without the advice and support of lawyers.
Existing contracts are one thing, taxes are another. Businesses have to make advance payments of income and corporation taxes, but they are not in a position to do so because of the ongoing challenging circumstances. Wages and social security contributions can rapidly bring a company to its knees due to working conditions being increasingly complicated by measures designed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
We at the commercial law firm MTR Rechtsanwälte can develop viable payment plans with the tax authorities and negotiate deferments. In times like these when nothing is working anymore, businesses need a team of advisers that is familiar with the latest assistance programs and can quickly set the company up to benefit from them.
For instance, Germany’s federal government is planning not only on loosening the rules on short-time workers but also suspending the obligation to file for insolvency for up to 12 months. This period affords employers a lot of flexibility in dealing with available and unavailable funds, making it possible for the business and jobs to weather the crisis.

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