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Companies requiring large sums of financing exceeding €2 million can now apply for economic assistance from the November and December Assistance Programmes. They can decide which State aid framework they want to use as a basis for their application and use the scope available to maximise the benefit for their individual business.

Starting today, applications under the expanded November and December Assistance Programmes can be made via the national platform at www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-unternehmen.de (in German). The November and December Assistance is being disbursed by the competent Länder authorities (in German), which is the standard procedure.

Under the two programmes, companies can receive grants of up to 75% of the turnover they generated in the same period of the previous year. The EU State id framework has been adapted and now allows companies to decide which State aid rule they want their application to be based on. For example, the new rule under which companies can be compensated for damages suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic now extends not only to losses sustained but also to profits lost. There is no ceiling limiting the amount of aid that can be granted.

Greater flexibility in using the State aid rules comes as a great relief to many companies. It was achieved as a result of the Federal Government’s efforts to convince Brussels that the scope of the November and December Assistance Programmes be expanded. The economic affairs ministers of the German Länder welcomed the greater flexibility in the November and December Assistance Programmes.

Around €7.2 billion has been disbursed to affected entrepreneurs under the two programmes thus far. The Federal Government assumed more than 93% of the advance payments under the November and December Assistance Programmes, with regular disbursement by the Länder having started a few weeks ago (on 12 January 2021 for November Assistance and on 1 February 2021 for December Assistance).

Further information on the expanded November and December Assistance Programmes

The European Commission has recently significantly increased the flexibility for the provision of national coronavirus assistance based on two new decisions it has taken on State aid. First of all, it considerably increased the ceilings for coronavirus assistance. This means that small amounts of compatible aid of up to €1.8 million (previously: max. €800,000) and support for uncovered fixed costs of up to €10 million (previously: max. €3 million) can be granted. Secondly, the European Commission approved the granting of the November and December Assistance on the basis of new damage compensation rules. These improvements are to be passed on to the companies.

Companies can use the following State aid rules:

  • Rules on small amounts of compatible aid or de-minimis aid for amounts of up to €2 million.
  • Support for uncovered fixed costs for amounts of up to €10 million. Proof of losses to the amount of the grants claimed is required; grants of 70% (or 90% for small and microenterprises) of the uncovered fixed costs can be applied for.
  • Damage compensation rules (unlimited amount): Proof of damage caused by the officially imposed lockdown decided on 28 October 2020 (including its extension) is required. In addition to losses, lost profits can also be taken into account.

For applicants wishing to use the new options made available, this means the following:

  • Applicants who have not yet submitted an application for November or December Assistance, for example, because the sum of financing they required exceeded €2 million, can now submit their application and select the State aid rule they want their application to be based on.
  • Applicants who have already submitted an application for November or December Assistance but who have not yet received the full amount requested, for example because they have already exhausted their previous small amount of compatible aid (incl. de minimis aid) or because their financing requirements exceeded the ceiling, can submit a request to change their application (and choose the State aid rule to be applied) and ask for the outstanding amount to be disbursed. Any November or December Assistance already received will be taken into account.
  • Applicants who have already received the full funding amount on the basis of the previously applicable State aid rules, but subsequently wish to base their application on a different State aid rule (e.g. on the damage compensation rule in order to save up their small amount of compatible aid for Bridging Assistance III), can submit a corresponding request to change their application.
  • Applicants who have already received the full funding amount of 75% of their November or December turnover on the basis of the previously applicable State aid rules (small amounts of compatible aid of up to €1.8 million and de minimis aid of up to €200,000), are not required to undertake any further action.

More information, particularly for tax advisors involved in putting together the application, can be found in the FAQ on the November and December Assistance Programmes and on State aid rules at www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-unternehmen.de (in German).