The government promulgated the Special Act for Prevention, Relief and Revitalization Measures for Severe Pneumonia with Novel Pathogens on February 25, 2020 as the legal foundation for implementing coronavirus prevention measures and funding a relief package. The package, intended to stabilize the domestic economy and protect livelihoods, provides assistance to industries, companies, health care businesses, and individuals whose operations or incomes are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
On April 21 the special act was amended to increase the relief budget from the original NT$60 billion (US$2 billion) to NT$210 billion (US$7.1 billion). Aside from industrial aid, the package provides assistance for affected individuals in the form of direct cash disbursements and other subsidies. Members of the public may dial the "1988" hotline or visit https://1988.taiwan.gov.tw to inquire about the full range of relief and stimulus programs.
Individual assistance measures
■ Personal loan relief: Individuals may defer payments on principal or interest due on credit card statements or other personal loans for three to six months, without incurring penalties, revolving (late) interest fees, or credit damage. Certain interest rates have also been lowered: From April 1 to September 30, 2020, for instance, all state-owned banks have cut interest on home mortgages under NT$10 million (US$333,556) by 0.5 percentage point.
■ Employment assistance: Subsidies are available to supplement salaries for furloughed or short-time workers and to encourage them to undergo training while on leave; hourly work opportunities in the public sector are also offered. Workers who involuntarily lose their jobs are eligible for unemployment benefits and free job training. Children of unemployed workers may receive education subsidies at regular or vocational high schools, colleges and universities. For base-level workers, subsidies are provided to laborers who are self-employed or do not have a fixed employer; "worker relief loans" are also available.
■Tax assistance: The government offers a range of tax assistance measures: The deadline for filing and payment of 2019 income taxes has been extended by one month. If a vehicle is not in use, the vehicle license tax will not be levied for that period of time. Taxpayers receiving government-provided COVID-19 subsidies and allowances may exclude such assistance from taxable income. Lease payments on state-owned properties can be reduced or deferred.
■ Other measures: For those who qualify, the government will issue additional subsidies to disadvantaged seniors, children, youth, and people with disabilities. Cash assistance payments have been expanded to cover fishery and agricultural workers, and workers not covered by military, civil service, teachers, labor or farmers insurance schemes.