What is the klinghoffer rule

Know-how - the basics of the funding world

Business support from the EU, federal government or states offers numerous advantages. Favorable credit conditions as well as non-repayable subsidies and grants reduce costs and improve the competitive position. In order to prevent a distortion of competition, there is therefore a ban on subsidies in the EU. So that aid can still be granted, the so-called de minimis rule applies to some funding programs.


© Grecaud Paul, Fotolia.com
With the de minimis rule, the EU allows support for companies
with public funds.

The de minimis rule allows companies to be supported with public funds, provided that a certain upper limit is not exceeded. Because the European Commission assumes that small donations do not affect international trade and competition within the EU.

Forms of the de minimis rule

Certain economic sectors and funding programs are excluded from the de minimis rule. It does not generally apply to all funding programs, but only to those that are subject to the de minimis rule and for which this is listed in the guidelines.

Government grants may not exceed the subsidy value of 200,000 euros. The road transport sector is an exception, with an upper limit of 100,000 euros.

The upper limit always refers to three consecutive tax years.

An example (general de minimis aid):

Since 2015, a company has received public funds in the form of subsidies and grants with a subsidy value of:

In order to be able to continue to meet the requirements of the de minimis rule, this company may only claim subsidies up to a value of 40,000 euros in 2018 (discontinued from 2015), in 2019 only up to 70,000 euros (discontinued from 2016) etc.

Basically, the current and the two previous tax years are always decisive.

What does the entrepreneur receive from the registry?

If a company is granted de minimis aid, it receives the so-called de minimis certificate from the registry. This certificate provides information on the amount of the aid, among other things. In this way, the beneficiary can see how many de minimis benefits he has received in the current and the past two years and whether the threshold has already been achieved. Last but not least, cumulation limits with other public funds must also be complied with - if the threshold is exceeded, the aid will either not be granted or, if it has already been paid, must be reimbursed in full.

What does the entrepreneur have to consider?

When applying, the applicant company must submit a complete overview of the de minimis benefits already received in the current and the two previous tax years. In addition, the grant notification must be in accordance with the periods listed in the original must be kept and presented to the inspecting bodies upon request within one week or within a specified period. If this does not happen, the requirement for approval no longer applies retrospectively and the public funds plus interest must be repaid. If an entrepreneur withholds the previous grant notices, he is fulfilling the criminal offense of subsidy fraud (Section 264 of the Criminal Code, Section 1 et seq. SubvG).

There is no entitlement to de minimis aid.


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Information on the de minimis rule of the Sächsische Aufbaubank | Download PDF
Information on the de minimis rule of the LfA Förderbank Bayern | Download PDF
Information on the de minimis rule of the IHK Offenbach am Main | Download PDF