Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions about de minimis aid.
Should all funding under €200,000 (or other relevant ceiling) be awarded as de minimis ?
Not necessarily. Where aid is present and an approved State aid scheme exists, we recommend that it is used to award funding. For example, funding for a small scale R&D project might be provided under an approved R&D scheme, or funding for training provided under the Training provisions within the General Block Exemption Regulation.
We recommend that de minimis funding is kept as a last option – to provide support where no approved scheme or suitable block exemption regulation exists; or possibly to supplement aid given under an approved scheme.
Can de minimis aid be cumulated with other forms of State aid?
De minimis funding cannot be used to circumvent the maximum aid intensities allowable under approved schemes and block exemption regulations. For example, if a company is receiving support for certain eligible costs up to the maximum possible aid intensities for an R&D project, de minimis cannot also be awarded to ‘double fund’ those project costs. De minimis can, however, be awarded to support other costs associated with the project, or other aspects of the company’s operations.
Any previous de minimis received during this period must be deducted from the €200,000 total, where €200,000 is converted at the current EC exchange rate to provide the new maximum de minimis funding ceiling. E.g., company 'K' has received previous de minimis within the qualifying period - £50,000 in August 2011. This is converted to Euros at the date of the offer (€57,214) and deducted from the €200,000 threshold, leaving €142,786 available to the beneficiary under its de minimis threshold.
SGEI De Minimis
Under the EC's decision on Services of General Economic Interest (SGEI), up to €500k can be awarded without notification for services which meet the SGEI definition. The SGEI de minimis Regulation allows cumulation of SGEI de minimis aid granted under another Regulation up to the ceiling of €500k. This means, for example, that if an undertaking has already received €150k over the last three fiscal years under the general industrial de minimis Regulation, it can still receive up to €350k under the SGEI de minimis Regulation.
The €500k ceiling per undertaking for an SGEI is an absolute maximum for all types of de minimis aid added together. It applies irrespective of whether the amount granted under the general de minimis Regulation was granted for an SGEI or for a separate non-SGEI activity.
How does the 3 fiscal year period work?
This period refers to the fiscal years immediately prior to the award of de minimis aid. The period should be the beneficiaries' current fiscal year (i.e. normally a 'part year' at the time of any award) and its previous two completed fiscal years
What date is used to calculate the relevant fiscal years?
The three fiscal years used to calculate a beneficiary's de minimis entitlement are determined by the date of the proposed award.
What date is used to calculate the rate awarded in Euros?
Any award of de minimis aid should be converted into Euros using the exchange rate as at the date the offer of aid is made. This should be explained in writing to the beneficiary.
Is each branch or subsidiary of a company entitled to the full allocation of de minimis aid?
The European Court of Justice has ruled that all entities which are controlled (on a legal or on a de facto basis) by the same entity should be considered as a single undertaking. Individual subsidiaries or branches of such an undertaking cannot therefore be treated as separate entities and awarded separate allocations of de minimis aid.
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