Corona Emergency Aid

Corona crisis: What do you need to know? 

Here we answer how you can apply for Corona Soforthilfe II and IV  and the Corona "Überbrückungshilfe" due to the Corona crisis - fast, simple, unbureaucratic. The FAQ is updated continuously. As soon as we become aware of new questions or problems, we will add them to the list of questions. We would like to point out that all information is legally non-binding.

Do you know our overview of other emergency aid, handling of subsidies and legal issues? That is what we offer you here

The application period for the "Corona Überbrückungshilfe I" runs from 10 July to 30 September 2020. The applications for the Emergency Relief Programme II  were available until May 31th 2020, 23:59. The Emergency Relief Programme IV 1.0 has been closed on May 15th 2020, 18:00.

Applications for Corona aids for Berlin can be submitted to the IBB. An overview of all past and current Corona aid programmes can be found here.


Coronahilfen for start-ups

  • What is the corona aid for start-ups?
    • With the corona aid for start-ups, the State of Berlin supports young companies during the corona crisis. A total of 140 million euros are available for the program; 100 million euros come from funds of the Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW) and 40 million euros from funds of the Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB).

  • Who is the program for?
    • Eligible for application are start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises in Berlin that were founded before 11.03.2020 and were not in financial difficulty before 31.12.2019. Furthermore, the companies must not be older than seven years.

  • How does the program work?
    • The programme pays out liquidity support of up to 800,000 euros to young companies. The federal government takes over 70 percent of the risk, Berlin takes over 30 percent of the risk. The program offers various financing options: the assistance can be applied via the IBB Beteiligungsgesellschaft mbH or through private venture capitalists (intermediaries). Both variants involve the granting of open participations, dormant holdings and convertible loans, in which initial loans can only be converted into a participation at a later date. Thus, the start-up has the choice: the loan can be repaid within two years or transferred to a longer-term financing partnership. The funds can be used to support existing or new equity investments. The intermediaries receive the refinancing funds from IBB interest-free over a period of 10 years. Further financing options are planned from mid-August. 



Corona Überbrückungshilfe 

  • What kind of program is the “Überbrückungshilfe“?
    • The „Überbrückungshilfe“ is a federal program with a total volume of 25 billion euros that provides grants to companies in every sector for the months of June, July and August 2020. The application period runs from 10 July to 30 September 2020.

  • Who is eligible to apply?
    • Small and medium-sized enterprises, solo self-employed persons, self-employed persons in the liberal professions in their main occupation as well as non-profit organisations that are economically active on the market on a permanent basis are eligible to apply. In addition, the program assumes an average drop in turnover of at least 60 percent in the months of April and May 2020 compared to the same months of the previous year. For companies founded between June 1, 2019 and October 31, 2019, the slump in turnover is compared with the months December 2019 to February 2020.

  • Who is not eligible to apply?
    • Not eligible to apply is who:

      - is not registered with a German tax office.
      - does not have a domestic permanent establishment.
      - was in economic difficulties as of 31st of December 2019.
      - was founded after 31st of October 2019
      - is a public enterprise.
      - has access to the Economic Stabilisation Fund.
      - is a freelancer on a sideline basis.
      - has an annual turnover of at least 750 million euros.

  • How much is the "Überbrückungshilfe"?
    • The “Überbrückungshilfe“ can be paid off for a maximum of three months (June, July, August). The exact amount of the subsidy is calculated as follows on the basis of the slump in revenue in the months of April, May 2019.

      •    In the event of a slump in revenue of up to 70 percent: reimbursement of 80 percent of the eligible fixed costs.
      •    In the event of a slump in revenue of between 70 and 50 percent: reimbursement of 50 percent of the eligible fixed costs
      •    In the event of a slump in revenue of between 40 and 50 percent: reimbursement of 40 percent of eligible fixed costs. 

      The calculation is made for each month individually. The maximum subsidy amount per month is 50,000 euros for companies, 3,000 euros for companies with up to five employees and 5,000 euros for companies with up to ten employees.

  • What costs are eligible?
    • Eligible costs include the following:

      1.    Commercial rents and leases and domestic workspace, if these were already tax deductible in 2019.
      2.    Business rental costs for vehicles and machinery 
      3.    Interest expenses for credits and loans (no repayment rate)
      4.    Share of financing costs of leasing rates
      5.    Expenditure on necessary servicing, maintenance or storage of fixed assets and rented or leased assets, including IT
      6.    Expenditure on electricity, water, heating, cleaning and hygiene measures
      7.    Property taxes
      8.    Operating licence fees
      9.    Insurance, subscriptions and other fixed expenses
      10.    Costs for tax consultants, auditors or sworn auditors incurred in connection with the application for Corona “Überbrückungshilfe“
      11.    Costs for trainees
      12.    Personnel costs [Note: Personnel costs are taken into account at a flat rate of 10 percent of the fixed costs in points 1 to 10 of this table].
      13.    Commissions refunded or not paid to travel agents or margins for tour operators for package tours which are
      •    booked before 18 March 2020, 
      •    cancelled since 18 March 2020 in connection with Corona-related travel warnings of the Federal Foreign Office or domestic German travel bans or temporary border closures (withdrawal from travel contract) 
      •    which would have been taken up by travellers by 31 August 2020.

  • Are private living costs eligible?
    • No, private costs such as rent, health insurance or salaries for entrepreneurs are not eligible. For these costs, there is a simplified access to basic provision until 30 September 2020.

  • How does the application procedure work?
    • The application is made with the help of a tax consultant, auditor or licensed accountant. The auditor calculates the slump in turnover before the application is submitted and subsequently makes a final statement of the actual slump in turnover.

  • Is there a deadline for applications?
    • The application deadline is 31 August 2020 and the payment deadline is 30 November 2020. The application can only be submitted once.
      Retroactive applications for the months of June, July and August are possible, but not later than 30 September 2020.



Soforthilfe Corona (previously called Soforthilfe II)

  • Where can you find an overview of state and federal funds?
    • From March 27th to April 1st (12:00), applications for state subsidies (blanked amount of 5,000 €) and grants for operating costs from federal funds could be submitted via the program Soforthilfe II. Since April 6th, only federal funds can be applied for via the program Soforthilfe II.

      An overview of both grants with information on eligibility, application period and possible uses of the grants can be found here.

  • What information is required for the application?
    • For companies: General company data: Legal form*, name*, date of foundation*, website, registration number (e.g. commercial register number), branch of industry*, company address*, number of employees* (full-time equivalents, excl. trainees and 450€ employees)  

      For solo self-employed and freelancers: details of the owner/legal representative: Name*, contact* (telephone and e-mail), tax ID*, identity card or passport* (the last five digits of the ID number)

      Bank details of the company or the self-employed person: Account holder*, International Bank Account Number (IBAN)* A German account must be specified here!

      * This information is mandatory.

  • Where do you find the application form?
    • The Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) is responsible for implementing, auditing and distributing the money on behalf of the Land of Berlin. The application for Soforthilfe II can only be made online. It is not necessary to log into the IBB's customer portal. Applications by mail are not permitted. Only one application is necessary to apply for state and federal funding.

  • Who is eligible to apply?
    • The application generally refers to solo self-employed and freelancers. This also includes actresses, dancers, artists, musicians, performers, museum guides and all those who earn their living with art and culture. So, you are explicitly entitled to apply! And even small and micro-enterprises with up to ten employees or up to five employees (see under "How much money will you get?") can submit an application.

      Important: The company headquarters or self-employment must be registered in Berlin. However, citizenship is irrelevant for the application.

  • How much money will you get?
    • Freelancers and micro-enterprises with up to five employees (full-time equivalents possible) can apply for 9,000 € (federal funding) per application. 

      Small companies with more than five and up to ten employees (full-time equivalents possible) can submit up to 15,000 € (federal funding) per application.

  • Who is counted as an employee or worker?
    • Part-time employees can be converted into full-time employees (full-time equivalents). Trainees and employees on a 450-euro basis can also be converted into full-time employees.

      Fee-based employees do not count as employed.

  • What is the money for?
    • It is important to know, if you recieved the federal fund, the state fund or both of them.

      The Corona grant from state funds is intendet to cover the cost of living, entrepreneur's salary and current personal and financial expenses.

      The Corona grant from federal funds can be used for operating costs and commercial material and financial expenses such as:

      - commercial rents
      - Lease expenses
      - business telecommunications expenses
      - running costs for providers, domains, webspaces etc. and maintenance costs
      - staff costs for employees, if not covered by the short-time working allowance (Since 20th of April 2020, salaries of employees may no longer be financed from federal funds.)

      Managing director salaries, private withdrawals or the compensation of loss of turnover and fees for personal living expenses, health insurance contributions etc. are not included. On the other hand, the "social protection package" adopted on 27th March 2020 opens up access to basic provision for six months at much easier conditions.

  • How do you document your Corona-related, existence-threatening economic situation? Do you have to collect and submit receipts?
    • In the application for the Soforthilfe of 5,000 € you declare your economic plight and affirm in lieu of oath that all information given is true to the best of your knowledge and belief. You do not have to submit any receipts or documents. As outlined, we are all in crisis, honesty strengthens solidarity. As already mentioned above, it can be checked retrospectively. Accordingly, you should be able to make your existentially threatening state of emergency credible retrospectively. It is therefore advisable to keep appropriate evidence for later verification (such as contract cancellations, email communication regarding cancelled performances or official orders etc.).

  • Do you have to pay taxes on the Soforthilfe?
    • The Corona grant (Soforthilfe II) from federal and Land funds (paid out in Berlin by the IBB) is to be recorded as operating income in the determination of profits. This subsidy is taken into account in the assessment of income or corporation tax with an effect on profits. This only has an effect when the tax return for 2020 has to be submitted, i.e. next year at the earliest. Only if a positive profit was generated in 2020 will the individual tax rate be due on the subsidy.


  • When will you get your money?
    • The IBB endeavours to transfer the money within three days of the application. However, there have also been reports of transfers within a few hours after successful application.



Soforthilfe IV (application period from 11th to 15th May 2020)

  • What is Emergency Aid IV and to whom is it directed?
    • The Emergency Aid IV is aimed at cultural and media companies affected by the Corona crisis, usually with more than 10 employees. These companies can apply for grants of up to EUR 25,000 to overcome an economic situation that threatens their existence. In justified exceptional cases even up to EUR 500,000 can be applied for. All further information can be found here.

  • How do we, the Advisory Centre for Cultural Promotion and Creative Industries (Kreativ Kultur Berlin), advise on the Emergency Aid IV?
    • We are partners of the Senate Department for Culture and Europe and the IBB and support the information and consulting process. We are available for questions that go beyond the FAQ catalogue via the IBB contact form. On the one hand, we answer your questions about the application process. On the other hand, we collect questions that are still missing in the IBB's FAQ and forward them for professional answers - so that they can be included in the IBB's FAQ. In addition, we inform the individual branches and sectors of the culture and creative industries about our networks.