Revenue shortfall bonus
To further mitigate the economic impact of the lockdown on Austrian companies, the Austrian Federal Government announced the revenue shortfall bonus (“Ausfallsbonus”) as an additional measure at the beginning of January 2021. On 16 February 2021, the corresponding Guidelines were published in the Austrian Federal Law Gazette. In the following entry, we provide information on the most important points (last updated 17 February 2021):
Companies which have their legal seat or permanent establishment (PE) in Austria, and which carry out operational activities in Austria, which lead to (business) income in accordance with Sections 22 or 23 Austrian Income Tax Act (EStG), are eligible to apply.
The applicant company must not have been judged (in a legally binding manner) to have committed abuse within the meaning of Sec. 22 Austrian Federal Fiscal Code (BAO) in the last 3 assessed years, which led to a change of the tax assessment base of min. EUR 100,000 in the relevant assessment period.
In the last five assessed years, the company must not have been affected by a ban on deductions of a total amount of more than EUR 100,000 under Sec. 12 para 1 subpara 10 Austrian Corporate Income Tax Act (KStG) or under Sec. 10a KStG (CFC rules, method change).
The company must not have a legal seat or branch in a country named in the EU List of Non-cooperative Jurisdictions for Tax Purposes, and must not have generated predominantly passive income within the meaning of Sec. 10a para 2 KStG at the legal seat or branch in this country in the first fiscal year that began after 31 December 2018.
Furthermore, neither the applicant nor any of its executive office holders (in the course of their official duties) may have received a legally binding fine for a financial crime or corresponding corporate criminal fines due to intent in the 5 years before application. This excludes administrative penalties or corporate fines which did not exceed EUR 10,000.
If companies are currently involved in insolvency proceedings, then they are excluded before application due to the lack of operational activities, except in the event that reorganisation proceedings have been opened.
Assessment period and calculation
The revenue shortfall bonus is comprised of a bonus and an optional advanced payment of the fixed costs subsidy 800,000 (“FCS 800k advance”). The grant of a bonus and an FCS 800k advance presupposes a revenue shortfall of min. 40% in the calendar month used as an assessment period.
For the grant of an FCS 800k advance, the prerequisites of Point 5.3.2 of the FCS 800k Guidelines must be fulfilled, and the applicant is also required to submit an application for the grant of the FCS 800k by 31 December 2021.
The calendar month must be used as the assessment period for the revenue shortfall bonus. The earliest possible assessment period is November 2020 and the latest possible assessment period is June 2021.
A company will be excluded from the grant of an FCS 800k advance in the following circumstances:
- If the company has already applied for the FCS 800k; this applies also in cases in which the application for grant of the FCS 800k was rejected.
- If the company has already applied for compensation for losses. If an application for an FCS 800k advance is submitted, it is not possible to apply for compensation for losses.
The grant of the revenue shortfall bonus for the assessment periods November 2020 and December 2020 is excluded if lockdown revenue compensation or lockdown revenue compensation II has already been claimed. Nevertheless, if the applicant repays the lockdown revenue compensation or lockdown revenue compensation II, it will be possible to apply for the revenue shortfall bonus. An application for the revenue shortfall bonus excludes the possibility of later applying for lockdown revenue compensation II.
The amount of the bonus and the FCS 800k advance corresponds to 15% of the revenue shortfall respectively, thus a total of 30% of the revenue shortfall. Both the bonus and the FCS 800k advance are capped at EUR 30,000 per calendar month – the highest amount is therefore EUR 60,000 per month. The minimum amount for the bonus thus amounts to EUR 100.
If the prerequisites for application are fulfilled, the revenue shortfall bonus can be granted until the maximum amount under the law on state aid of EUR 1.8m, minus any other subsidies received, is reached (other subsidies include in particular lockdown revenue compensation, lockdown revenue compensation II, the FCS 800k, 100% guarantees, as well as payments from Austrian federal states, municipalities, or regional economic and tourism funds). The revenue shortfall bonus cannot be granted if the maximum amount under the law on state aid is less than the minimum amount.
Companies which on 31 December 2019 constituted “undertakings in difficulty” in accordance with the EU’s General Block Exemption Regulation (GBER) can apply for the revenue shortfall bonus under the EU’s De-minimis Regulation, up to a maximum amount of EUR 200,000. There are further exceptions for undertakings in difficulty, if these are small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) within the SME definition of Annex 1 of the GBER.
The comparison period for the calculation of the amount of the revenues is the calendar month in the period March 2019 to February 2020 which corresponds to the calendar month of the assessment period. The comparison revenues will be determined by the tax authorities using a variety of methods, e.g. based on the revenues declared in the monthly VAT returns for the comparison period (Code 000).
The revenues in the comparison period must be disclosed by the applicant to the tax authorities. The relevant amounts (Code 000) must be determined in accordance with the provisions of the Austrian VAT Act (UStG). When determining the revenues or the sales revenues, the following must be excluded:
- revenues and sales revenues from the sale of plots of land, if the sale (in accordance with the criteria of the UStG) constitutes an incidental transaction
- revenues and sales revenues generated without an operational activity.
It is possible to apply from the 16th day of the calendar month following the assessment period until the 15th day of the third calendar month following the assessment period. For example, if February is the assessment period, then it is possible to apply until 15 May 2021.
For the assessment periods November 2020 and December 2020, the application must be made in the period 16 February 2021 to 15 April 2021.
The optional FCS 800k advance must be applied for together with the bonus, at latest by the time of the initial application for the FCS 800k. When applying for the FCS 800k advance, the provisions of the Revenue Shortfall Bonus Guidelines and the FCS 800k Guidelines apply.
COFAG will decide whether the revenue shortfall bonus will be granted. Applications can only be made via FinanzOnline.
When applying for the revenue shortfall bonus, the company may be represented by a tax advisor, auditor, or accountant.
You can find further information on the following site: https://www.fixkostenzuschuss.at/ausfallsbonus/
Authors: Daniela Stastny, Alexandra Velic