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.
The funding period of the Special Fund for Cultural Events is from 1 July 2021 to 31 December 2022. However, the programmes are staggered as follows:
The Federal Government's Special Fund for Cultural Events supports cultural events with two modules: economic aid for small events with up to 2,000 participants and cancellation coverage for larger events with more than 2,000 participants.
The special fund is endowed with 2.5 billion euros to support the events.
Funding is available for cultural events that take place in Germany and which generate income from the sale of tickets:
In particular, organisers are not eligible for funding:
In principle, the organiser of a cultural event is eligible to apply (see "Which events are eligible for funding?"). An organiser within the meaning of the special fund is someone who bears the economic and organisational risk of a cultural event. This applies regardless of the legal form of the organiser.
Yes, public broadcasters can also apply. However, they can only apply for economic aid. Public service broadcasters are not granted a cancellation coverage.
In principle, you do not need a third party examiner for registration. However, you must have all applications for cancellation coverage and applications for economic aid above a funding amount of 100,000 euros checked and confirmed by a third party examiner.
Only in the case of economic aid can collective applications be submitted.
Events that take place up to 5 times per month at the same location can be registered and applied for as part of a collective application. The application must be submitted no later than eight weeks after the last event.
Events that are the same or similar and take place more than 5 times a month at the same location must be registered and applied for as part of a period-related application. The application can be submitted for a whole month or a quarter. Examples of such series of events are film screenings in cinemas and exhibitions in museums.
Economic aid is intended to enable the economic realisation of rather smaller cultural events which, due to Corona, can only be held with a reduced number of participants.
Two additional criteria for this form of aid are:
Maximum limit and de minimis limit:
Calculation of the funding amount
If the event has to be cancelled due to Corona, the cancellation coverage is integrated in the economic aid.
The cancellation coverage covers events with more than 2,000 participants. In the event of a pandemic-related cancellation, partial cancellation or postponement, the cancellation coverage reimburses 80% of the cancellation or postponement costs.
The maximum funding is 8 million euros. All relevant documents must be checked and confirmed by a third party examiner before submission.
Cancellations or partial cancellations/reduction of capacity are pandemic-related if there are official legal regulations or official orders. This may also mean a reduction in the number of participants or a reduction in the scope of the event (e.g. if part of the event may not be held).
In addition, the following reasons also apply to a pandemic-related cancellation as long as they can be proven.
The decisive factor is that it is a pandemic-related cause that occurred after registration.
An advice hotline run by North Rhine-Westphalia is available for further questions at this number: 0800 6648430.
Applications can be submitted until September 30, 2021.
Hardship Aids is a joint program of the federal government and the states. The federal government has left the program design to the states, so that the design is identical in the key points and has been adapted in some details individually for the states.
The Hardship Aids are an aid program for companies and self-employed persons who are in an economic emergency due to the Corona pandemic and for whom existing federal and state aid programs are not effective.
Any company may apply if a case of hardship exists. For a case of hardship, the following two characteristics must apply:
Every independent legal entity that is active on the market counts as a company. This also includes solo self-employed, non-profit enterprises or social enterprises, organizations and associations.
It is important that the company is registered with a Berlin tax office.
Affiliated companies may only submit one application for all affiliated companies together.
Companies that have received existing Corona aids are not eligible to apply - for the grant period November 2020 through June 2021.
Hardship Aid is applied for in the respective state. The decision on the applications is also the responsibility of the respective state. In Berlin, the granting authority is Investitionsbank Berlin.
Unlike previous aids, Hardship Aid is assessed on a very individual basis. For this reason, a longer period of time may elapse between application and approval.
The application for Hardship Aid can only be submitted via an examining third party. Verifying third parties are, for example, tax advisors.
In addition to general information, the following information must be provided:
The support is basically based on the eligible facts of the Bridging Aid III. This means that especially fixed costs are supported. The support for the entire support period amounts to at least 2,000 euros and should not exceed 100,000 euros as a rule.
Months from the years 2018, 2019 and 2020 can be considered for comparison; monthly averages are also conceivable. It is important that the calculation is comprehensible and that the choice of months is plausibly justified in the hardship case.
In order to receive funds from Restart Aid Berlin for SME, you must first apply for the Bridging Aid III from the federal government. All eligible applicants will be notified by IBB upon receipt of the federal funds.
The application can be submitted until 31.10.2021.
Restart Aid for SME is a supplement to the federal government's Bridging Aid III. It is intended to help solo self-employed persons and small businesses (with up to 5 full-time employees) secure their entrepreneurial existence in the period from January to June 2021.
In principle, Berlin-based micro-enterprises with up to 5 full-time employees as well as self-employed persons who have submitted an application under Bridging Aid III and have been granted this for at least one month from January to June 2021 are eligible to apply. In addition, applicants must maintain their business operations or self-employment until at least June 30, 2021.
All companies that have a registered office or place of business subject to trade tax at a Berlin tax office or all freelancers who have registered their main activity in Berlin.
The state of Berlin will pay a lump sum of 1,000 euros for each month in the period from January to June 2021 in which Bridging Aid III was approved. Thus, a maximum of 6,000 euros can be paid out for the entire funding period.
With regard to the use of the Restart Aid Berlin for SMEs, there are no requirements after the grant. The use is uncommitted and therefore not verifiable.
The microentrepreneurs and self-employed persons who are eligible to apply and who have received the Bridging Aid III in the approval period January - June 2021 will be informed by Investitionsbank Berlin about the possibility of applying for the New Start-up Assistance Berlin for SMEs by e-mail. This e-mail contains a link to the application form.
The application is only possible via the online form. It is not possible to apply by mail or fax.
Restart Aid Berlin for SMEs does not require a separate final settlement. The final settlement builds on the final settlement of the Bridging Aid III. The final statement must indicate the revenue generated from January to June 2021. Eligibility to apply will then be reviewed by June 30, 2022, and the Berlin Restart Aid for SMEs will be finally approved. If the application eligibility for individual months is not available, the advance lump sums of 1,000 euros must be repaid for these months.
In order to receive funds from Restart Aid Berlin, you must first apply for the Restart Aid from the federal government. All eligible applicants will be notified by IBB after receiving the federal funds.
The application can be submitted until October 31, 2021.
Restart Aid Berlin for solo self-employed persons is a supplement to the federal government's Neustarthilfe. It is intended to help solo self-employed persons secure their professional or entrepreneurial livelihood in the period from January to June 2021.
All Berlin-based solo self-employed persons who have received Restart Aid from the federal government are eligible to apply.
Not eligible to apply are applicants who
Berlin solo self-employed persons are working people whose main occupation is self-employment with less than one full-time employee and who pay tax on this income in the state of Berlin. In principle, the obligation to pay income tax according to the local tax office responsible for the place of residence is decisive here.
The subsidy is calculated on the basis of the reference turnover (as with the Restart Aid from the federal government). The state of Berlin adds another 25% of the reference turnover on top of the 50% from the federal government. However, 7,500 euros remains the limit here. For example, if you have already received 6,500 euros from the federal government, you can only receive a maximum of 1,000 euros from the state of Berlin.
Everyone who has received the federal funds within the framework of the Restart Aid and is eligible to apply will be contacted by IBB by mail. In this mail you will receive the link to the application form. You will usually receive the mail two weeks after the federal funds have been paid out.
In the case of Restart Aid Berlin for solo self-employed, no separate final settlement is necessary. It is sufficient to make the settlement within the framework of the Restart Aid from the federal government. If your own generated turnover during the funding period (January to June 2021) exceeds 40 percent of the reference turnover, the advance must be repaid in full or proportionally, analogously to the federal government.
Application possible since April 22, 2021
The Congress Fund Berlin is a promotion initiated by the state of Berlin to revitalize the event industry. The aim is to support event planners who implement B2B events in Berlin conference hotels or event venues. The aim is to ensure that despite the disruptions and uncertainties caused by the Corona pandemic, trade events can be safely planned and held in Berlin.
Funding is provided for events that are aimed exclusively at a professional audience. Participants who attend out of professional motivation count as a professional audience. In addition, the event must take place in Berlin. Examples of event formats are congresses, conferences, seminars and training courses.
Requirements for events:
- Takes place in an event venue that has been booked for a fee
- Takes place by December 31, 2021
- At least 50 participants
- Duration of the event at least one day (program of at least four hours per day)
- Aimed at a professional audience
Not funded are:
25 euros per attendance participant and per day
For hybrid events additional 10 euros per presence participant and per day
Events that meet certain sustainability criteria receive an additional 25 euros per participant present and per day. For this, a certain number of points from various categories of the "Sustainable Event Scorecard" must be achieved.
Per event, there can be a maximum subsidy of 49 950 Euros.
If an event has to be cancelled due to restrictions within the meaning of the Infection Protection Act, eligible expenses actually incurred can be settled under the grant to the extent of a maximum of 60% of the provisionally approved funding amount. This does not apply to costs incurred through a contract with an event agency for the purpose of conception, organization and implementation.
There is an electronic procedure for the application. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received. It is important to note that an individual application must be submitted for each event. As soon as a confirmation of receipt of the application is received, orders and contracts for the planned event can be concluded. However, the confirmation of receipt does not constitute an entitlement to actual funding. The organizer therefore acts at his own risk.
The subsidies will only be paid out after the event has taken place. The granting authority will first issue a provisional decision in which the provisional amount of funding will be determined. The complete proof of use must be submitted to atene KOM GmbH no later than four weeks after the event. An electronic procedure is to be set up for this purpose. Once the proof of use has been checked, the approved subsidies will be paid out, provided that the check has not given rise to any objections.
You submit the application via this website.
- A fully completed application form (including information on the applicant, the event, the event location, the event date, the event duration/day, the participants, the application amount, the account details, the hybridity; in the case of an application for supplementary funding, information on the sustainability criteria likely to be met ("Sustainable Event Scorecard"); an assurance of the accuracy of the information; in the case of legal entities, the registration number of the Transparency Database of the State of Berlin10 if applicable).
- The information/named attachments requested in the application form, including:
Applications can be submitted until October 31, 2021.
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".
Applications for the Restart Aid (Neustarthilfe) can be submitted from the February 16 to October 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).
Within the scope of the Restart Aid, sales from short-term employment relationships in the performing arts of up to 14 consecutive weeks can also be taken into account as sales from self-employment.
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.
Those who are not eligible to apply are those who
Since March, corporations with up to four shareholders have been able to apply for Restart Aid. And since the end of June, cooperatives with up to ten employees who are also members of the cooperative are eligible to apply. Cooperatives and corporations can only apply for Restart Aid through a third party examiner.
Furthermore, multi-person companies and thus also GbRs are eligible to apply. If you as a natural person want to claim professional and/or commercial income and/or (pro rata) sales from a partnership, you can either submit a direct application or an application via third party examiner. Important: The income from partnerships is only to be taken into account once.
The costs for an application via third party examiner are covered to a certain extent and paid out in addition to the grant.
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).
When calculating turnover, both turnover from self-employment and turnover from employment are included. This applies to the calculation of the reference turnover as well as to the calculation of the actual turnover in January to June 2021. It is important that the turnover from self-employed activities predominates in the reference turnover (in 2019) (See "Who is eligible to apply?").
Revenue from self-employment include: (These are always the net sales).
Revenue from non-independent employment includes:
Do not count as revenue:
All those who started their self-employment before November 1, 2020 are eligible to apply for the Restart Aid. An alternative reference turnover period can be selected here.
Alternative reference monthly turnover:
The subsidy for operating costs is not counted towards basic security benefits (ALG II/ Hartz IV) and unemployment benefit (ALG I). It is also not taken into account when determining income for the purpose of determining the child supplement.
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 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. At the end of the funding period, each applicant must submit a final settlement via an online form in which they provide information on their actual revenues generated (more on this under "How does the final settlement work?").
After June 30, 2021, all those who have received Restart Aid are to independently submit a final statement by December 31. An online tool is to be made available for the final statement. Here, it should be indicated how much turnover was actually generated in the period from January to June 2021. Important: no information needs to be provided on what the grant was used for.
If a revenue of more than 40 percent was generated compared to the reference turnover of 2019, the Restart grant must be repaid on a pro-rata basis. The deadline for repayments is June 30, 2022
No repayment: Revenue in the funding period is less than 40% of the reference turnover.
Proportional repayment: Turnover in the funding period is between 40% and 90% of the reference turnover.
Full repayment: Turnover in the funding period is more than 90% of the reference turnover.
The deadline for repayments is 30 June 2022.
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.
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.
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.