Here we answer the most important questions about Corona aids - quickly, easily, unbureaucratically. The FAQs are updated continuously. We would like to point out that all information is legally non-binding.
NEWS: The IBB is writing to recipients of the Corona Soforthilfe II since December 2020. The bank is asking the recipients to compare the funds they have got to their actual needs. More Information is found here on the IBB Website. Below in the following list we collected some FAQs to IBBs checking of funds.
Do you know our overview of other aids and supporting measures, handling of subsidies and legal issues? That is what we offer you here.
Applications for Corona aid can be submitted to IBB in Berlin. An overview of all current and past Corona aid programs can be found here.
The list below does not claim to be exhaustive and primarily takes into account Corona emergency grants that can be applied for on a temporary basis, which may be relevant for artists and cultural practitioners as well as for creative enterprises.
Emergency Aid IV 4.0 can only be applied for downstream via Bridging Aid III. In order to be able to apply for funds from Emergency Aid IV 4.0, an application for Bridging Aid III from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy must therefore first be submitted by your tax advisor by March 31, 2021. Subsequently, Emergency Aid IV 4.0 can be applied for via an expression of interest for the grant period March to June 2021.
Emergency Aid IV 4.0 is a grant program of the State of Berlin for cultural and media enterprises (with at least 2 employees) that have been particularly hard hit by the Corona crisis. The grant is intended to help the respective companies cover operating costs and commercial material and financial expenses in the months of March to June 2021, as well as costs accrued since March 11, 2020, if ongoing revenues from the applicant's business operations are not expected to be sufficient to cover them. Applicants must have used all relevant assistance provided by the federal and state governments. In particular, use of the federal government's Bridging Aid III is a prerequisite of Emergency Aid IV 4.0.
Eligible applicants are cultural and media companies affected by the Corona crisis (for industry codes, see FAQ section "What types of companies and institutions belong to the cultural and media industry and are therefore eligible to apply?") with at least 2 employees (full-time equivalents) that are not regularly or predominantly publicly funded and have their headquarters or operating facilities in Berlin (and are also registered with a Berlin tax office).
Not eligible to apply are companies with an average annual turnover of more than EUR 10 million (2017-2019), all sectors not explicitly mentioned (e.g. galleries, event service providers, advertising, PR and digital agencies, manufacturers and rental of film equipment, etc.), as well as cultural and media companies with fewer than two employees.
As a rule, theater and concert promoters with the following focuses are not eligible to apply:
Concert and artist agency,
touring and booking,
artist management and placement,
Exhibition and congress organizer,
Performing arts service provider,
Operating costs and commercial material and financial expenses such as
• Commercial rent
• Leasing expenses
• Personnel costs for employees, including management, provided that these are not covered by short-time allowance and, in the case of management, do not exceed a certain amount (see FAQ section "To what extent can management salaries be taken into account in liquidity planning?")
• A fictitious entrepreneur's salary in the amount of 1,180 euros per month per person for owners of sole proprietorships and partnerships
• Repayment installments of business bank loans
• Fee costs - the recommendations of the State of Berlin for lower fee limits, exhibition fees and reading fees and of the Medienboard Berlin-Brandenburg for the production of cinema films (feature films and documentaries) must be taken into account for fees in the liquidity plan
Investment measures can only be funded if they are indispensable for the maintenance of the company until June 30, 2021.
It is only possible to apply for Emergency Aid IV 4.0 in combination with Bridging Aid III. The list of industries that will have the opportunity to apply for Emergency Aid IV 4.0 following their application for Bridging Aid III can be found in the Emergency Aid IV 4.0 FAQ. If you are unable to apply for Bridging Aid III for your company, please describe the reasons via the IBB contact form. Companies in the cultural and media sector that have applied for Bridging Aid III will be informed by IBB about the possibility of applying for Emergency Aid IV 4.0. Within a set deadline, companies can express their interest in this directly. Subsequently, the expressions of interest will be checked for fulfillment of the application requirements, in particular the cultural relevance for the state of Berlin. This assessment is carried out by the Senate Department for Culture and Europe in the case of cultural companies, or by the Senate Chancellery in the case of media companies, on the basis of its dutiful discretion, with the assistance of specialist expertise. In order to calculate your liquidity needs in advance, please complete the liquidity planning and have the documents listed in the FAQ ready for the rest of the process.
Please have the following information and documents ready for submission:
Name, street, postal code, legal form, date of incorporation, registration number, tax number and turnover tax ID of the company, name of the tax office
valid identification document, name, contact details, tax identification number of the owner / legal representative
bank details of the company, which you have given to the tax office
Liquidity planning (see downloads / form available from April)
Proof of the initial liquidity balance (e.g. bank statements)
Documentation of loans to secure liquidity, if already applied for
Business registration (if applicable)
Annual financial statements for the last 3 years (BWA for 2019, if applicable)
current BWA 2020
Explanations of business circumstances (Formular: no longer exist! You can draw up such an explanation independently as free text and send it along as a PDF,)
KMU self-declaration (see downloads)
Amount of small grants already applied for or received under other Corona emergency aid or Corona aid programs (federal and state funds)
Yes, Emergency Aid IV 4.0 can only be applied for downstream via Bridging Aid III. In order to be able to apply for funds from Emergency Aid IV 4.0, an application for Bridging Aid III from the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy must therefore first be submitted by your tax advisor by March 31, 2021. Please note that, in principle, funds from the federal aid programs must first be applied for and used. If your company does not qualify for these, you must be able to provide proof of this.
Payments from the federal aid programs (Bridging Aid II, November/December Aid, Bridging Aid III) are continuously offset against Emergency Aid IV 4.0 for final processing. In the event of a remaining liquidity requirement, Emergency Aid IV 4.0 is to be paid out before the end of the funding period.
Applications for the Restart Aid (Neustarthilfe) can be submitted from the February 16 to August 31, 2021.
Solo self-employed persons can apply for a one-time lump sum for operating costs ("restart aid") within the framework of Bridging Aid III. The maximum amount is 7,500 euros.
Eligible applicants are solo self-employed individuals who cannot otherwise claim fixed costs under Bridging Aid III and who earned at least 51% of their income from self-employment during the reference period (normally 2019).
The full lump sum for operating costs will be granted if sales have decreased by more than 60% during the six-month period January 2021 through June 2021 compared to a six-month 2019 reference sales.
Employees in the performing arts who are predominantly employed for short periods of up to 14 consecutive weeks can also be considered for Restart Aid.
So-called non-permanent employees in all sectors as well as short-term employees in the performing arts can also apply for Restart Aid, provided they do not receive unemployment benefits or short-time work benefits. In this way, non-permanent actors and comparable employees are also effectively supported.
The lump sum for operating costs amounts to a one-time 50% of the reference turnover (turnover of the corresponding pre-crisis period in 2019), up to a maximum of 7,500 euros. (This is a taxable subsidy).
To determine the 2019 reference turnover, the average monthly revenue for 2019 is used (reference monthly turnover). The reference turnover is six times this reference monthly turnover. Special rules apply to applicants who started their self-employed activity only after January 1, 2019.
Example: With a turnover of 20,000 euros (average turnover in the artists' social insurance fund), 5,000 euros of Restart Aid is therefore paid (50 percent of the reference turnover for six months in 2019, 10,000 euros).
A reference monthly turnover is then used here. This is the average monthly revenue of January and February 2020 or the average monthly revenue of the 3rd quarter of 2020 (July 1 to September 30, 2020).
The subsidy for operating costs is not counted towards basic security benefits and is also not taken into account when determining income for the purpose of determining the child supplement.
The progress payments and the application process will start in the month of February 2021.
The lump sum for operating costs is paid out as an advance at the beginning of the term, even if the specific loss of sales during the term January 2021 to June 2021 has not yet been determined. If sales during the six-month term exceed 40 percent of the six-month reference sales, the advance payments are to be repaid on a pro rata basis.
Solo self-employed persons applying for Restart Aid can apply directly (www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-unternehmen.de) using the ELSTER certificate familiar from the tax return.
The BMWI answers questions about direct applications for Restart Aid for solo self-employed persons via a hotline. The service desk for solo self-employed persons can be reached at the following number: 030-1200 21034 (service hours Mon-Fri, 8 a.m.-6 p.m.).
Here is a step-by-step application completion guide.
The federal Bridging Aid is (so far) divided into three funding phases: Phase 1 (Bridging Aid I) ran from June to August 2020; Phase 2 (Bridging Aid II) ran from September to December 2020. Since February 2021 it is now possible to apply for federal grants in a third phase (Bridging Aid III); the funding period is between November 2020 and June 2021.
Bridging Aid III will support companies, solo self-employed and freelancers in all sectors with annual sales of up to €750 million that experience a drop in sales of at least 30 percent in the period from November 2020 to June 2021 compared to the reference month in 2019. Applications are submitted through reviewing third parties. Bridging Aid III is the follow-up program to Bridging Aid II.
Uniform criterion for eligibility to apply: All companies with more than a 30 percent drop in sales are eligible to receive the tiered fixed cost reimbursement under Bridging Aid III.
The following companies are explicitly not eligible to apply (exclusion criteria):
• Companies that are not registered with a German tax office,
• Companies without a domestic permanent establishment or registered office,
• Companies that were already in (economic) difficulties as of December 31, 2019 (EU definition) and have not overcome this status thereafter,
• Companies that were only established after April 30, 2020,
• Public companies,
• Companies with more than 750 million euros in annual sales in 2020 and
• Freelancers or solo self-employed persons in sideline business.
For more information on the exclusion criteria, see point 1.1 of the FAQ of the Bridging Aid III.
Bridging Aid III reimburses a share amounting to
• Up to 90 % of the eligible fixed costs in the event of a drop in sales > 70 %.
• Up to 60 % of the eligible fixed costs in the event of a drop in sales of ≥ 50 % and ≤ 70 %.
• Up to 40 % of the eligible fixed costs in the event of a drop in sales ≥ 30 % and < 50 %.
in the eligible month compared to the corresponding month in 2019.
In the future, costs for structural modernization, renovation and conversion measures to implement hygiene concepts, as well as investments in digitization (e.g., setting up or expanding an online store, entry costs for major platforms) can also be claimed up to 20,000 euros.
For these areas, costs incurred outside the funding period are now also taken into account. Specifically, appropriate costs of up to 20,000 euros per month or, in the case of investments in digitization, one-off costs incurred in the period from March 2020 to June 2021 will be reimbursed accordingly.
Depreciation of assets of up to 50 percent is recognized as eligible costs. For example, a showman who has bought his carousel and financed it with a loan or from his own capital can deduct half of the monthly depreciation as a cost. This helps the carny industry in particular, but also companies in the event sector and bus tourism.
A special regulation for retailers will be introduced for perishable goods and for seasonal goods for the 2020/2021 winter season. This affects, for example, Christmas items, fireworks and winter clothing. But it also affects perishable goods that become unusable if they could not be sold. Under certain conditions, retailers can deduct up to 100 percent of their merchandise write-offs as fixed costs.
In addition, marketing and advertising costs are eligible for a maximum of the corresponding expenses in 2019.
Additional costs are recognized for industries particularly affected by the Corona crisis. This concerns solo self-employed persons, the travel industry (travel agencies and tour operators), the culture and events industry, and the pyrotechnics industry.
• the current reimbursement of fixed costs will be supplemented by a one-time lump sum for operating costs ("Restart Aid").
• As an alternative to the reimbursement of fixed costs for the period December 2020 to June 2021, solo self-employed persons can receive a one-time lump sum for operating costs, the so-called "Restart Aid" (Neustarthilfe), in the amount of up to 50 percent of the 2019 reference turnover up to a maximum of 7,500 euros (for more information, see the explanations on the Restart Aid).
• The Restart Aid does not have to be offset against benefits from the basic income support.
Culture and event industry:
• If events had to be cancelled due to Corona, their cancellation and preparation costs can also be claimed retroactively for the period March to December 2020 as part of Bridging Aid III, in addition to the other eligible costs.
o Both internal project-related costs (primarily personnel expenses) and external costs (such as costs for commissioned third parties, e.g. graphic designers) are eligible.
o These special costs of the past months will not be counted towards the otherwise applicable maximum funding limit up to 200,000 euros per month of the period March to December 2020.
• A special fund for cultural events is also to be created - outside of Bridging Aid III - which is to provide a profitability bonus for Corona-related low-frequented cultural events such as concerts, festivals and theater performances.
o Hybrid cultural events, which are offered in both presence form and online, are also to benefit from this in particular.
o As part of the special fund, there is to be a kind of failsafe for cultural events that are planned for the period from summer 2021, but then later have to be canceled due to Corona, contrary to the plans.
o The details of this special fund are currently being worked out. It will complement the NEUSTART KULTUR program launched as part of the economic stimulus package, which has already made one billion euros available for the cultural sector.
No, costs of private living such as rent or interest payments for private housing (with the exception of (pro rata) costs for a study if this has already been claimed for tax purposes in 2019), health insurance contributions, and contributions to private pension plans are not covered by the Bridging Aid.
Entrepreneurial wages are not eligible.
The Restart Aid is an independent program under the 3rd phase of the federal Bridging Aid (Bridging Aid III). Therefore, solo self-employed persons can either claim the Restart Aid or the reimbursement of fixed costs under the Bridging Aid III. It is not possible to claim both subsidies:
• Solo self-employed persons who have applied for or received the Bridging Aid III are thus not eligible to apply for the Restart Aid.
• Solo self-employed persons who have applied for or received the Restart Aid cannot apply for reimbursement of fixed costs under the Bridging Aid III.
The application can be submitted until August 31, 2021. An application can only be submitted once. Amendments are excluded from this.
Here you can find further information on Bridging Aid III. In addition, on February 16, 2021, Berlin Partner and the IHK Berlin collaborated with Dr. Michael Knieß (Head of Regional Structural Policy, Economic Promotion of the Senate Department for Economics, Energy and Enterprises), Matthias Steger (Member of the Board of the Brandenburg Chamber of Tax Advisors and the Berlin-Brandenburg Association of Tax Advisors) and Eike Schmaida (Chief Digital Officer, Investitionsbank Berlin (IBB) in offering a digital information event followed by a question and answer session on Bridging Aid III, which is available as a video.
Applications for the December Aid can be submitted from the December 23, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
The December Aid is a federal grant program. Companies, businesses, self-employed people, associations and institutions affected by the temporary closure are to receive grants of 75 percent of the average weekly turnover in December 2019 for each week of the closure.
Companies of all sizes (including public and non-profit), self-employed people, associations and institutions, self-employed members of the liberal professions in the main occupation of all industries are eligible to apply whose economic activity is affected by the corona-related lockdown in November and December 2020 in one of the following ways:
- Directly affected in December: companies and self-employed people who had to cease business operations in November due to the state government and federal states' resolution of October 28, 2020 and based on the federal and state government resolutions of November 25, 2020 and from December 2, 2020 were still affected by these closings in December. This does not include regional closures of industries or institutions that are not mentioned in these resolutions, as well as closings based on later resolutions (e.g. the federal-state resolution of December 13, 2020).
- Indirectly affected: Companies and self-employed people who can be shown and regularly generate at least 80 percent of their sales with companies directly affected by the above measures.
- Affected by third parties: Companies and self-employed people who regularly generate at least 80 percent of their sales through deliveries and services on behalf of companies directly affected by the measures via third parties (e.g. event agencies). These applicants must prove beyond any doubt that they will suffer a drop in sales of more than 80 percent compared to the comparable sales in December 2020 due to the closure ordinances.
Companies, businesses, self-employed people, associations and institutions that did not have to cease their business due to the decision of the federal government and the states are not eligible to apply for December aid. In addition, those who generate less than 80 percent of their sales with companies directly affected by the closure measures are not eligible to apply.
For each week of closure, 75 percent of the average weekly turnover in December 2019 is granted as a subsidy. The maximum amount of the advance payments has been increased to EUR 50,000. Other government benefits, such as the bridging aid (Überbrückungshilfe) will count towards the November aid. Repayable KfW loans, on the other hand, are not.
As an alternative to the weekly turnover in December 2019, self-employed people who had no turnover in December 2019 can use the average weekly turnover in 2019 as a basis.
Companies, businesses, the self-employed people, associations and institutions that started their business after December 31, 2019 can use their monthly sales in October 2020 or the monthly net average sales (up to October 31, 2020) as an alternative to the weekly turnover in December 2019.
Applications can only be submitted online by tax consultants, auditors, sworn accountants or lawyers. Applications can be made through this website.
Self-employed people can apply for a funding of up to a maximum of EUR 5,000 here and therefore do not need tax consultants, auditors, sworn auditors or lawyers.
You can find more information about the November- and December Aid here are more FAQ.
Here is the official hotline and contact form.
Instructions for applying (for solo self-employed people) can be found here.
Here is an overview of the November and December Aid.
You can find helpful tips in the FAQ of VGSD.
Applications for November Aid can be submitted from November 25, 2020 to April 30, 2021.
The November Aid is a federal grant program and is expected to have a financial volume of around 10 billion EUR. Companies, businesses, self-employed people, associations and institutions affected by the temporary closure are to receive grants of 75 percent of the average weekly turnover in November 2019 for each week of the closure.
The Federal November Aid is aimed for companies, businesses, self-employed people, associations and institutions that are affected by the temporary closings and had to stop business operations on 28th October 2020 due to the decision of the Federal Government and the states. However, you are also eligible to apply if you are only indirectly affected by the closings, but are still unable to carry out your business directly in November.
Companies, businesses, self-employed persons, associations and institutions that did not have to stop their business operations on the 28th October 2020 due to the decision of the federal and state governments are not eligible to apply. In addition, if you generate less than 80 percent of your sales with companies directly affected by the closure measures you are not eligible to apply.
For each week of closure, 75 percent of the average weekly turnover in November 2019 is granted as a subsidy. The November aid is granted up to an upper limit of 1 million EUR, provided that the company's existing scope under state aid law allows it (EU small aid scheme). Other government benefits, such as the bridging aid will count towards the November aid. Repayable KfW loans, on the other hand, are not. As an alternative to the weekly turnover in November 2019, self-employed persons who had no turnover in November 2019 can use the average weekly turnover in 2019 as a basis. If business operations started after the 31st October 2019 you can use the average weekly turnover in October 2020 or the average weekly turnover since the establishment as a comparison.
The press release from the 27th November 2020, in which the December aid is explained can be found here. This means that subsidies of up to 75 percent of the comparable sales in 2019 are also available to companies affected by these closings during the period of the measures in December.
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).
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.
The program 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.
Information of the IBB about Corona help for start-ups can be found here. In addition, there is information in the recording of the Berlin Partner Townhall Call of 29.07.2020 on Corona aid for start-ups.
Applications are submitted on a first-come, first-served basis. This means that applications can be submitted until the 80 million euros have been used up.
The Digital Allowance is an economic development program with a total volume of 70 million EUR for the State of Berlin to actively support the ongoing digitization process of Berlin's medium-sized companies.
Small and medium-sized companies with up to 249 employees and their headquarters or permanent establishment in Berlin as well as self-employed people and freelancers in their main occupation without employees (with at least EUR 26,000 income / year from their current activity). The establishment must have taken place before December 31, 2019.
Companies that do not have a registered office or a permanent establishment in Berlin and have more than 250 employees. Solo self-employed people as part-time jobbers and self-employed people who earn less than EUR 26,000 in income per year from their current activity and those who are founded after December 31, 2019.
Self-employed people and small and medium-sized enterprises with up to 10 employees can receive a grant of up to EUR 7,000. Small and medium-sized companies with 10 up to 249 employees can receive a grant of up to EUR 17,000.
Funding grants for external material expenses are received in the following areas:
Digital work, production and management processes:
• Acquisition of a CAM system
• Digital inventory control system
• Digital POS system
• Company-related internet of things platform
• Digital timekeeping recording
• Digital payroll accounting
Introduction or improvement of IT security:
• IT security infrastructure
• Digital data storage and backup
• Digital business premises security
• Penetration test of IT systems and certification
Digital advice and qualification:
• Advice on implementation
• Workshop on the digitization of the business model
• Further training in corporate IT security
• Training as a data scientist
The training providers must prove their qualification through certification according to ISO 27001, accreditation according to AZAV 18 or an authorization within the framework of the federal funding program "go-digital".
IBB has been writing to recipients of Emergency Aid II grants since December 2020. The development bank asks the respective recipients to reconcile the funds they have used with their actual needs. In the FAQs below, we offer you an overview of the most important questions. Here you will also find all the important information from IBB about the Corona emergency aid.
With a press release dated 4.12.2020 IBB informed about the start to send the information letters. You can read the press release here.
From 27.03. to 01.04.2020 (12 o'clock) it was possible to apply for the state subsidy (in the amount of a lump sum of 5,000 EUR) and for the operating subsidy from federal funds via the Emergency Aid Program II. Since 06.04.2020, only the federal funds could be applied for via the Emergency Aid Program II.
An overview of both grants with information on eligibility, application period, application amount and possible uses of each grant can be found here.
Here you must first answer the question: did you apply for the Corona grant from state or federal funds, or did you even receive both grants?
The Corona grant, which was disbursed as part of the state funds, can be used for personal living expenses, entrepreneurial wages, and current material and financial expenses.
The Corona grant, which was disbursed as part of the federal appropriation, is usable for ongoing operating expenses and commercial non-personnel and financial expenses such as:
• commercial rents
• leasing expenses
• business telecommunications costs
• running costs/fees for providers, domain(s), webspaces etc. as well as maintenance costs
• personnel costs for employees, if not covered by short-time allowance (these costs can no longer be financed from federal funds since 20.4.2020 and thus can no longer be accounted for).
Salaries of managing directors, private withdrawals or compensation for loss of sales and fees for personal living expenses, health insurance contributions, etc. are not included. On the other hand, the "social protection package" adopted on 27.03.2020 opens up access to basic benefits under much easier conditions.
The FAQ as of March 31 can be found here. Expanding the answers does not work via the archive version. The answers can be displayed using the Developer Tool of the browser.