Assistance in connection with the Corona crisis
Measures against the spread of the corona virus have a major impact on our daily life - also in Germany. At present, everyone is experiencing the consequences of government policies to contain the virus. Uncertain times, especially for entrepreneurs. Almost all of our clients are more or less affected by the corona virus.
By now the government has launched a broad package of emergency financial measures for companies. All of these developments are also following each other at a rapid pace: what was topical yesterday may already be outdated today.
So we can imagine that in these turbulent times, entrepreneurs are not able to see the forest for the trees and are confronted with many questions. This is why we have set up a corona information team at the MNT GRUPPE. A multidisciplinary team of professionals, each specialist in his own field, but with a common goal: to help our clients through this corona crisis. On this overview you will find information on each topic that will help you. Our team attempts to be up to date and to update this page on a regular basis.
Kindly send your inquiries via the prepared links or contact your known consultants - together we will navigate you through the crisis.
Short-time compensation (KUG) – Status as of 23/02/2021
The corona crisis has brought many industries to a standstill. As a result, German companies are sending their employees on short-time work.
Short-time work can be introduced on very short notice in the event of loss of customer orders by means of appropriate agreements to reduce working hours in the company and notified to the local employment agency. Short-time work does not have to be introduced and notified for the entire company. Short-time working can also be restricted to individual company departments.
Hereinafter you will find a summary of the most important information on reduced hours compensation.
I. New regulations for KUG in times of the coronavirus pandemic
With the Act on job security as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic of 03/12/2020, it was decided to extend the special regulations on short-time allowance essentially until the end of 2021.
The basis of these special regulations is the Act to facilitate short-time work (Gesetz zu Erleichterungen der Kurzarbeit).
As a result, the following special regulations for short-time allowance apply until 31/12/2021:
- a claim to KUG exists if at least 10% of the employees have a loss of earnings of more than 10%. For companies that have introduced short-time work by 31/03/2021, it is still sufficient if at least 10% of employees are affected by lost work. Otherwise at least a third of the employees must be affected.
- Employers will be reimbursed for the social security contributions in full by 30/06/2021. For companies that have introduced short-time work until then, afterwards half of the social security contributions (50%) will be reimbursed by the Federal Employment Agency by December 2021.
- If employees on short-time work have lost wages of at least 50%, the short-time allowance will be increased to 70% (77% for households with children) from the fourth month of receipt - calculated from March 2020.
From the seventh month of short-time work, the short-time work allowance increases to 80% (87% for households with children) of the net pay. These regulations will also be extended until 31/12/2021 for all employees whose entitlement to short-time work allowance arose until 31/03/2021.
- The subscription period for the KUG will be extended up to 24 months, until 31/12/2021 at the latest. However, the extended payments only apply to establishments that have introduced short-time work by 31/12/2020 (please see the second regulation on the period of entitlement to short-time-work allowance dated 12/102020).
- Temporary employees can also go into short-time work and are entitled to KUG. This also applies if the temporary employment company introduces short-time work by 31/03/2021.
- in companies in which agreements on working time fluctuations are used, no negative working time accounts are set up. This continues to apply if short-time work was started by 31/03/2021.
- Until 31/12/2021, it is still possible to earn without salary imputation during short-time work in a mini-job that was started during short-time work. If the secondary activity already exists before short-time work in the main occupation, the remuneration from the secondary activity generally remains without salary imputation.
- the other requirements for the use of KUG remains valid.
II. Basic requirements
The legal basis is § 95 SGB III, according to which the following basic requirements must be met:
- Considerable loss of working hours with loss of pay
- It must be an "unavoidable event" (e.g. measures taken by the authorities, Exceptional weather conditions, accident) or
- economic causes (e.g. lack of orders, order cancellation, missing material).
- the loss of work must be temporary and unavoidable.
The minimum requirements are:
retroactively from 01/03/2020 to now at the end of 2021, at least 10% of the employees must have a loss of earnings of more than 10%, if the company started with short-time work by 31/03/2021.
- on the holding or in the relevant division of the holding
- in the respective calendar month
- Work stoppage must be unavoidable
- the failure may not be due to reasons customary in the industry, customary in the business or seasonal.
- at first, overtime and working time accounts must be reduced - but: no negative working time balances will be built up retroactively from 01/03/2020 until the end of 2020. This continues to apply if short-time work was started by 31/03/2021.
- The Federal Employment Agency, on the other hand, has decided against extending the special regulation for annual leave that was valid until 31/12/2020, according to which recuperation leave from the current leave year was not to be brought in to avoid short-time allowance.
In justifying this decision, the Federal Employment Agency argued that there was no longer any need for the special arrangement, as Section 56 (1a) IfSG provides for compensation for loss of earnings for parents in the event of daycare centers and schools being closed until the end of March 2021.
Consequently, in order to avoid short-time work from 01/01/2021, unused vacation from the current vacation year must be brought in as a matter of principle. In its comments, the Federal Employment Agency refers to the unavoidability test, set out in the Technical Instructions on the KuG dated 20/12/2018, section 2.7.2.
According to the instructions, there are two different ways of dealing with remaining leave:
It is possible to carry over leave to the following leave year on the basis of a labor or collective bargaining agreement: if there is still residual leave entitlement that has been carried over, it must be used to avoid work stoppages. This means that employers must agree with employees who still have "old" and previously unplanned vacation entitlements, which are now threatening to expire, to take this vacation during periods of work absences in the company. The vacation wishes of the employees are given priority.
It is not possible to carry over vacation to the following vacation year due to the absence of a provision in the employment contract or collective bargaining agreement: these vacation entitlements must be taken by the end of the vacation year at the latest in order to avoid short-time work.
- the transfer of employees to another division/department must be examined (temporary transfer if necessary)
- economically reasonable countermeasures must have been taken beforehand (e.g. work in storage, clean-up or repair work).
- Operational requirements
The legal basis is § 97 SGB III.
At least one employee must be employed in the company or the company department
- Personal requirements (of the employees)
The legal basis is § 98 SGB III.
- Continuation of employment is subject to compulsory insurance (without notice of termination).
- Continuation of employment is subject to compulsory insurance for compelling reasons or following training.
- Indication about work loss
The legal basis is § 99 SGB III, according to which
The notification of the loss of work must be received in the month in which the short-time work begins:
- at the employment agency at the company headquarters.
A justification of the substantial loss of work is required.
The following internal company regulations or deadlines must be observed where applicable:
- agreements with the works council and, if applicable, notice periods, if applicable
- short-time work clause within employment contracts
- tariff regulations for the introduction of short-time work compensation
- potentially: individual agreements with the workers.
Insolvency advice - Status as of 16/02/2021
In the spring of 2020, the German government already implemented meaningful relief for companies that may have found themselves in an insolvency situation as a result of the Corona crisis. The COVID-19 Insolvency Suspension Act (COVInsAG), as amended on 27/03/2020, makes important changes to the Insolvency Code and to commercial and corporate law in light of the Corona crisis. Under certain conditions, the statutory insolvency filing obligations were suspended for a limited period at the start of the Corona crisis to give companies more time to respond to the crisis and stabilize themselves economically, e.g. with the support of government aid programs and the newly issued KfW special loans. In addition, avoidance rules were also defused in order to make the framework conditions for e.g. shareholder loans more attractive.
Important changes were already made to the new law on 25/09/2020. For example, the obligation to file for insolvency due to illiquidity has been in force again since 01/10/2020. The obligation to file for insolvency due to overindebtedness has been suspended for the companies concerned until 31/12/2020. This means that from 01/01/2021, the familiar insolvency filing obligations in the event of illiquidity pursuant to Section 17 InsO and in the event of overindebtedness pursuant to Section 19 InsO must in principle be considered as being valid again.
With a new resolution of the Bundestag of 17/12/2020, (small) changes were again made to the COVInsAG, which in our view, however, only affect a few companies and were also partially misrepresented in the daily press. According to the new regulation, the obligation to file for insolvency is further suspended from 01/01/ to 31/01/2021, if an application for financial assistance under government aid programs has been filed but has not yet been granted. However, this relief does not apply if the assistance that can realistically be obtained cannot eliminate the insolvency maturity. (Update 05/02/2021: On 20/01/2021, the German government decided to extend this very special exemption until 30/04/2021. However, the legislative process for this has not yet been completed).
A further amendment was added to Section 4 of COVInsAG by a resolution dated 17/12/2020: Under certain circumstances, the forecast period for the over-indebtedness test pursuant to Section 19 InsO is to be shortened to four months in 2021. This regulation only applies to companies that most recently still generated a positive result and whose revenues in year 2020 have dropped by more than 30 percent compared to the previous year. The regulation therefore only applies to fundamentally economically sound companies whose business model has been hit particularly hard by the crisis.
Further changes to COVInsAG (sections 5 and 6) relate to relief for self-administration proceedings and protective shield proceedings - also limited to the year 2021. However, these issues are so complex that they always require detailed consultation.
Outside COVInsAG, it was added to Section 19 of the Insolvency Code that the forecast period for the over-indebtedness test should be twelve months. This legal clarification makes the preparation of a going concern forecast somewhat easier, because only a planning "at sight" has to be prepared and the uncertainties that become greater with a longer planning horizon can be ignored. In this context, the deadline for filing for insolvency pursuant to Section 15a InsO in the event of over-indebtedness has also been extended to a maximum of six weeks after the occurrence of over-indebtedness. (In the case of insolvency, the deadline remains a maximum of three weeks).
As part of the German Bundestag's legislative resolution of 17/12/2020 on the Act on the Further Development of Restructuring and Insolvency Law (SanInsFoG), a number of other legislative amendments were adopted. The most comprehensive is certainly the new Corporate Stabilization and Restructuring Framework Act (StaRUG). Although the underlying legislative project was accelerated enormously under the impact of the Corona crisis, it has general applicability. Due to its scope, complexity and the detailed issues still unresolved in the fast legislative process, practical implementation remains to be seen and is not likely to be without legal risks.
Financial assistance to generate liquidity – Status as of 17/02/2021
Subsidies from the federal and state governments:
Extraordinary economic aid in the form of November and December aid:
- The following general conditions apply to the extraordinary economic aid:
- Eligible to apply are companies, businesses, self-employed persons, associations and institutions directly affected by the temporary closures according to the resolution of 28/10/2020 and indirectly affected companies that already had to cease business operations in November and were still affected by these closures in December on the basis of the federal and state resolutions of 25/11/2020 and 02/12/ 2020. It does not include regional closures of industries or facilities not named in these resolutions, or closures based on later resolutions (for example, the federal-state resolution of 13/12/2020).
- With the November – and December aid, subsidies are granted per day of closure in the amount of 75% of the average weekly turnover in November / December 2019 up to a maximum of EUR 1 million, provided that the company's scope under state aid law allows for this (EU Small Grant Regulation).
- Other government benefits paid for the funding period November/ December 2020 will be credited. This applies in particular to benefits such as financial aid II or short-time work compensation.
- If sales are generated in November / December despite the basic closure, these are not counted up to 25% of the comparative sales. A special regulation applies to restaurants if they offer food „to go“ such as delivery service. In this case, the sales refund of 75% of the comparative sales in the 2019 reference period is limited to those sales that are subject to the full rate of VAT, i.e. the food consumed in the restaurant.
- Applications for November- and December aid can be submitted until 31/04/2021, via the financial aid‘s nationwide IT platform (https://www.ueberbrueckungshilfe-unternehmen.de/UBH/Navigation/DE/Home/home.html)
- The electronic application must be submitted by a third party.
- For solo self-employed persons who do not apply for more than EUR 5,000 of November aid, the obligation to submit an application via a third party is waived.
- The financial aid Phase II from September until December is available until 31/03/2021.
- Applications for Phase II can still be made exclusively via tax consultants, auditors / sworn accountants and lawyers.
- Paymets from other economic aid options will be credited
- Self-employed persons in sideline employment
- Companies that have ceased business operations or filed for bankruptcy.
- Companies that were in difficulties as defined by the EU on 31/12/2019
(for small and micro-enterprises: only if they have been the subject of an insolvency proceeding or have received rescue aid they are regarded as a company in difficulties)
- Companies qualifying for the Economic Stabilization Fund
- Increase of the subsidy rates. The following amounts will be reimbursed:
- 90% of fixed costs with more than 70% slump in sales (previously 80% of fixed costs),
- 60% of fixed costs in the event of a sales slump between 50 and 70% (previously 50% of fixed costs) and
- 40% of fixed costs in the event of a sales slump of more than 30% (previously in the event of a sales slump of more than 40%)
- the flat rate for personnel costs is 20%
- In the future, it should be possible to make additional payments and reclaims during the final billing-procedure
- The maximum amount is EUR 50,000 per month.
- Eligible costs are ongoing, contractually based or officially determined fixed costs incurred during the funding period that cannot be changed unilaterally, such as rent, interest expenses for credits and loans, licence fees, insurance, costs for trainees, costs for applying for the financial aid (tax consultant), etc.
- Cost of living/entrepreneurial wage
- Costs for private rooms
- Fixed costs to affiliated companies
- Financial aid Phase III for the months November 2020 to June 2021 can be applied for until 31/08/2021
- Application and payment of installments should still be possible in January
- The funding amounts are to be up to €1.500.000 per month for companies directly or indirectly affected by the government closures
- The same fixed cost scales apply as for Bridging Assistance III.
- New features include: Fixed cost allowances for months with sales losses of at least 30% between November 2020 and June 2021.
- Larger companies (up to 750 million euros annual sales) are also eligible.
- Maximum subsidy amount per month: €1.500.000 within the maximum limits of EU state aid rules.
- More fixed costs eligible: e.g. also structural modernization, renovation or conversion measures up to € 20.000 per month for implementing hygiene concepts (also retroactive to March 2020); investments in digitization (e.g. setting up an online store, entry costs for major platforms) one-time up to € 20.000
- Additional regulations for travel industry (commissions as well as reimbursement of external cancellation and preparation costs as well as a lump sum for personnel costs for certain trips retroactive to March until December 2020), culture and event industry (reimbursement of cancellation and preparation costs retroactive to March until December 2020), stationary retail (depreciation costs for perishable goods and goods for winter season 2020/2021 that were purchased before 01/01/2021and could not be sold due to the lockdown
- Direct applications for natural persons can be submitted without an examining third party
- An application for corporations or the consideration of the sales of partnerships is only possible at a later point in time
- The new start-up aid amounts to a one-time payment of 50 % of a six-month reference turnover calculated on the basis of the 2019 annual turnover, up to a maximum of € 7.500, and is paid out in one lump sum
- All information on eligibility, application and funding amount of the new start-up assistance can be read in detail here:
Who receives the November – and December aid?
What support is available?
Are services or sales credited?
How and when can applications be made?
You can find all the details about the November aid here:
Financial aid phase II from September until December 2020:
Who receives the financial aid II?
The financial aid will be granted to small and medium-sized enterprises across all sectors of industry that have had to cease their business activities completely or to a significant extent as a result of the Corona crisis.
Not eligible to apply:
Which costs and what amounts will be funded?
What costs can be considered?
Not eligible for funding:
Full details of the financial aid phase II program can be found here:
Financial aid Phase III November 2020 to June 2021:
For all the information on eligibility and funding levels Financial aid Phase III please follow that link:
New start-up assistance for solo self-employed persons:
If you are interested in applying for the financial aid, please contact your regular contact person or send us an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Loans:KfW Corona help
In order to improve your liquidity and cover running costs, entrepreneurs and freelancers can apply for a KfW loan with a risk assumption by the KfW with up to 100%. The application can only be made through your house bank.
You can use the following link to prepare the application for a KfW loan in accordance to your specific application- and capital requirements for the bank meeting:
Various loan-based development programmes for corporate financing are offered through the Landesbanken. Some of the development programs can also be used to bridge liquidity bottlenecks caused by companies' loss of sales due to the corona virus. For small and medium-sized enterprises, for example, the development programmes "KfK - Kapital für Kleinunternehmen" for Hessen or "Betriebsmittelkredit RLP" for Rheinland-Pfalz are available here.
The Hesse micro-liquidity program is available again .
Applications are made exclusively through the house bank procedure or in conjunction with the cooperation and regional partners (chambers of trade and industry).
Here you can find detailed information on application requirements and conditions:
Wirtschafts- und Infrastrukturbank Hessen:
Investment and Structural Bank Rheinland-Pfalz:
Please note that the level of information is constantly developing dynamically. You can find the detailed and up-to-date application requirements and conditions in the links above.
Tax aid measures by the tax authorities in the context of the Corona crisis - Status as of 22/02/2021
In order to combat the economic consequences of the corona pandemic, the tax authorities have adopted the following measures to alleviate the additional burden of tax payments:
Deferral of tax payments:
If your company is unable to make tax payments due to the economic consequences of the corona pandemic, it is possible to defer these payments until 30/06/2021 without interest. Income tax, corporation tax, real estate transfer tax, inheritance tax and VAT amounts can be deferred. The deferral of trade tax amounts must be applied for separately at the responsible municipality. If an appropriate installment payment has been agreed, a deferral can take place until December 31, 2021.
You have to explain to the tax office how the Corona pandemic is affecting your economic situation. However, the value of the damage incurred does not have to be substantiated in detail.
Adjustment of advance payments:
Companies, self-employed and freelancers can have the amount of their advance payments adjusted for income tax, corporate income tax and trade tax if their income from the corona pandemic in 2020 and 2021 is likely to be lower than before the corona pandemic.
Suspension of enforcement measures:
The Enforcement of overdue tax debts is to be waived until June 30th, 2021 if a suspension of enforcement is requested. Late payment surcharges, which are legally due during this period, are to be waived. This concerns income tax, corporate tax and VAT.
Deferral of enforcement is also possible for tax amounts that are already in an ongoing enforcement procedure upon application to the tax authorities.
Repayment of special advance payments of turnover tax:
If you have made a special advance payment to the tax office when submitting advance VAT returns in order to obtain a permanent extension in 2020, this special advance payment can be reimbursed on request without losing the extended deadline in the advance VAT return procedure.
For the year 2021, you can also apply for a permanent extension of the deadline for submitting advance VAT returns without having to make a special advance VAT payment.
Extended deadline for advance return for tax on sales/purchases:
In principle, you are still obliged to submit and pay the advance return for VAT on time. If you are so affected by the consequences of the Corona pandemic to such an extent that you are unable to fulfil your obligations in this context, the tax offices may grant an extension of the deadline upon request.
Tax-free special payments:
In order to recognize the increased work of employees in times of the Corona pandemic, the special benefits granted by employers, which are paid between 01/03/2020 and 30/06/2021, will be tax and social security free up to an amount of EUR 1,500. The special payments can be in cash or in material performance.
Reduction of VAT rates:
Because of the first Corona Tax Aid Act, a VAT reduction for the restaurant and catering services provided, with the exception of the distribution of beverages, from 19% to 7% for the period from 07/01/2020 to 06/30/2021.
The general reduction in VAT expired on December 31, 2020, so that the reduced tax rates of 16% and 5% no longer apply.
Flat rate reduction of prepayments already made for 2019:
On the basis of the Second Corona Tax Aid Act, advance payments made for 2019 can be subsequently reduced and repaid, assuming a flat loss carry-back from 2020 in the amount of 30% of the total amount of income (excluding income from non-self-employed work) that is relevant for calculating the advance payments. The prerequisite for this is that the advance payments for 2020 have already been reduced to EUR 0.
Lump-sum preliminary loss carry-back for 2020:
As part of the tax assessment for the year 2019, a lump-sum loss carry-back amounting to 30% of the total amount of income (excluding income from employment) for 2019 can be made for a loss that is likely to arise in 2020. The prerequisite for this is that the advance payments for 2020 have already been reduced to EUR 0. A higher deduction is possible if it is demonstrated on the basis of evidence. As soon as the actual loss incurred through the tax assessment of 2020 is determined, the tax assessment for 2019 will be changed according to the actual loss carried back.
Extended investment period in connection with § 7g EStG:
If you formed an investment deduction amount within the meaning of Section 7g EStG for future investments between 01.01.2017 and 31.12.2017, the investment period will be extended from 3 to 4 years due to the corona pandemic, so that an investment is possible until 31.12.2021 is without the profit-increasing compulsory dissolution having to be made in 2020.
Degressive depreciation on movable assets:
As a fiscal investment incentive, a declining balance depreciation of 2.5 times the normal depreciation, up to a maximum of 25%, per year was introduced for movable fixed assets for the years 2020 and 2021.
Trade tax relief:
The reduction factor in the tax reduction for income from business operations was increased from 3.8 times to four times the trade tax base. In addition, the allowance for trade tax additions, such as for interest on debts, was increased from EUR 100,000 to EUR 200,000.
Home office flat rate:
As part of the Annual Tax Act 2020, the grand coalition decided to take into account the expenses incurred by employees due to increased home office work by means of a flat rate for income-related expenses. The flat rate is € 5 per day and is granted for a maximum of 120 days. The lump sum is only granted for the days on which the work is carried out exclusively in the home. The flat rate is granted for the assessment periods 2020 and 2021. In these cases, the prerequisite for the tax deduction of a home-workspace must not be present.
By clicking on the following link, you can access an FAQ catalogue on the website of the Federal Ministry of Finance, which provides information on the most frequently asked questions in connection with the tax relief measures.https://www.bundesfinanzministerium.de/Content/DE/Standardartikel/Themen/Steuern/2020-04-01-FAQ_Corona_Steuern.html?cms_pk_kwd=06.04.2020_FAQ+Corona+Steuern+&cms_pk_campaign=Newsletter-06.04.2020
Accountancy – Status as of 16/02/2021
Effects of the spread of the coronavirus on the financial statements as of 31/12/2019
The economic effects of coronavirus also have consequences for the commercial accounting of the financial statements and management reports of the companies or groups concerned.
In professional notes dated 04/03 and 25/03/2020, the German Institute of Auditors (IDW) issued a statement on the "Effects of the spread of the coronavirus on the financial statements as of 31/12/2019 and their audit". Accordingly, there are already far-reaching effects on the annual financial statements under commercial law and as at the reporting date of 31/12/2019 and the management report for the 2019 financial year, such as:
- The effects of the coronavirus are to be taken into account as a value-determining development from January 2020 for the first time in financial statements with a cut-off date after 31/12/2019.
- The nature and financial effects of the coronavirus on the company are to be reported - if material - in the supplementary report in the notes. There is no general reporting obligation. The need to report depends on the individual company's exposure to the effects of the corona pandemic on its future development. A "nothing to report" is not required.
- The effects of developments relating to coronavirus on the company are to be dealt with in the risk report in the management report in 2019. For companies whose activities are significantly affected by the spread of the coronavirus, purely comparative forecasts are exceptionally permissible.
- A break in the consistency of recognition and measurement can be justified by the effects of the corona crisis, provided that this provides a better insight into the net assets, financial position and results of operations.
- Continuing operations must be valued independently of the balance sheet date. In this respect, an exception to the reporting date principle applies to the assessment of the appropriateness of the going concern assumption.
- Under certain conditions, it is considered permissible to consider the accounting consequences of a restructuring measure implemented after the balance sheet date of 31/12/2019 already as of the balance sheet date.
- Small corporations are not required to prepare a management report. They are also not required to include a supplementary report in the notes to the financial statements. For micro-corporations, neither an appendix nor a management report is required. However, if there are material uncertainties in connection with events and circumstances that could cast significant doubt on the company's ability to continue as a going concern (so-called going concern risks), the preparer of the financial statements must report on them. Small corporations must include such reporting in the notes to the financial statements. For micro-corporations, the reporting must be included below the balance sheet.
The above notes are intended to provide initial guidance on how to deal with the effects of the coronavirus in external accounting and do not claim to be complete. They are based on the technical notes of the Institute of Auditors (IDW) dated 04/03 and 25/03/2020 on "Effects of the spread of the coronavirus on the financial statements as of the reporting date 31/12/2019 and their audit". In addition, on 08/04/2020 and on 02/07/2020, the Institut der Wirtschaftsprüfer (IDW) (Institute of Public Auditors in Germany) commented on questions of doubt regarding the above-mentioned subject area.https://www.idw.de/blob/122498/31bce74e5b1413b91f74c9de1ea64383/down-corona-fachlicher-hinweis-idw-dok1-data.pdf
We will be happy to assist you at any time with questions regarding the handling of the effects of coronavirus in the context of external commercial accounting.