Ecovis – Last minute changes in connection with the COVID-19 aws Investment bonus

In order to support the Austrian economy in times of Corona crisis the federal government has created a support program in the form of the aws investment bonus (“Investitionsprämie”). The investment bonus is intended to create an incentive for corporate investments. Thus it makes significant contributions to securing business locations, creating new jobs and strengthening the international competitiveness of Austria as a business location.

Currently the government plans to extend the deadline for setting „first measures“, the implementation period for investments as well as the deadline for the final settlement vis-à-vis the Austrian Wirtschaftsservice (aws).[1] Changes should affect already processed as well as future applications.

1. Key facts on aws investment bonus

Eligible for the investment bonus are all entities, regardless of their date of foundation, size and industry with a registered office and/or domestic permanent establishment in Austria. The acquisition of tangible and intangible assets are supported. Furthermore the acquisition of low-value assets (up to EUR 800) and used assets can be supported by the aws investment bonus.

The granted amount is in principle 7% of the acquisition costs of the eligible investment. In the case of eligible investments for ecologisation/greening, digitization, health and life science the investment bonus could be increased up to 14% of acquisition costs.

2. Planned deadline extensions in detail

In the following, the various planned deadline extensions in connection with the aws investment bonus are described in detail. Irrespective of those planned extensions it should be noted that the deadline for submitting applications for the investment bonus should remain unchanged until 28.2.2021.

a.) Extension of deadline for setting „first measures“

Initial measures mark the start of investment activity. This includes for example orders, deliveries, the start of services, advance payments, payments, invoices, the conclusion of a purchase contract or the start of construction of the eligible investment (not, however, planning services and financing discussions and financing applications or commitments).

The deadline for the “first measure” marking the start of the investment is to be changed from currently 28.2.2021 to 31.5.2021. This means that planned investments for which initial measures are taken in the extended period can be included in a funding application (investment costs are to be estimated as best as possible).

If the investment costs that have been invoiced and recognized as eligible for funding are higher than the amount specified in the funding commitment of the aws, the funding is reduced aliquot. An increase in the grant due to higher investment costs than those specified in the funding commitment is not possible (see FAQ, point 3.8.).

b.) Extension of the investment implementation period

The commissioning and payment of the investment must take place within the investment implementation period (“Investitionsdurchführungszeitraum”). In this context the investment implementation period – depending on the total investment volume – should be extended to 28.2.2023 (investment volume < EUR 20 Mio excluding VAT) or 28.2.2025 (investment volume > EUR 20 Mio excluding VAT).

Full payment is understood to mean, among other things, the existence of a financing agreement. This usually includes an instalment purchase or a credit agreement (see FAQ, point 8.5).

c.) Extension of deadline for final settlement vis-à-vis aws

The funding applicant must submit a final settlement (“Endabrechnung”) electronically via the aws funding manager (“aws Fördermanager”) no later than 6 months (until now: 3 months) after the last commissioning and payment of the investments to be funded.

Only one final settlement can be made per funding application, which contains the investments to be funded in accordance with the funding commitment. If the investment bonus exceeds EUR 12,000 the final settlement must be confirmed by an auditor, tax advisor or accountant with regard to the capitalization of the investments.

3. Overview of the entire time schedule in connection with the aws investment bonusOverview of the entire time schedule in connection with the aws investment bonus

4. Outlook

Since the adaptation of the directive on the investment bonus and the necessary amendment of the law are still pending, further developments remain to be seen. The planned changes should subsequently affect existing funding applications and commitments as well as new applications.

Therefore it should be examined which investments could still be funded due to the planned extension of the „first measures“ and could also be completed within the presumably extended investment implementation period. But attention: An application for funding would have to be submitted to the aws by 28.2.2021.

[1]   See https://www.aws.at/corona-hilfen-des-bundes/aws-investitionspraemie/.

 

Authors:

Christoph Puchner, Managing Director and Tax Advisor & Katharina Geweßler, Tax Advisor from ECOVIS Austria