As small amounts of aid are unlikely to distort competition, a useful approved EU mechanism for State aid is the industrial de minimis regulation which allows small amounts of aid i.e. less than €200,000 over 3 consecutive fiscal years, to a single undertaking for a wide range of purposes.

Using the de minimis regulation

If you use the de minimis regulation you don't need to formally notify the aid to the European Commission or get prior approval, but you must comply with all of the conditions of the regulation.

Granting de minimis aid

When granting de minimis aid you must ensure that the award does not breach an undertaking's de minimis ceiling over a 3 year fiscal period as defined by Article 2, para 2 of the de minimis regulation

  • You must ask the undertaking concerned about any other de minimis aid they have received during the current and previous 2 fiscal years before any aid is provided
  • You must also inform the recipient explicitly that it is de minimis aid you are giving them, for their future reference. They should also be told that they must declare this in future if asked

Sample texts for these letters are given in Annex B of the BEIS State aid Manual.

If you are going to use the de minimis regulation for State aid cover, you must be able to justify your decision, and you must understand the requirements of the regulation and be sure that you can meet them. 

Recording awards of de minimis aid

The de minimis regulation requires that public authorities keep records of all de minimis aid paid out for 10 years from the last payment. Beneficiaries must keep records of de minimis aid for 3 years. Records must also be kept to show that all conditions of the de minimis regulation has been met.

De minimis aid to the Agriculture, Fisheries and Road Transport sectors.

De minimis aid to the agricultural sector is covered by a separate regulation and is capped at €15,000 over three consecutive fiscal years.

De minimis aid to the fisheries and aquaculture sectors also has its own regulation and is capped at €30,000 over three consecutive fiscal years.

De minimis aid to perform road freight transport for hire or reward is capped at €100,000 over any period of 3 fiscal years. The aid shall not be used for the acquisition of road freight transport vehicles.

Further information

Links to the relevant legislation and further guidance on how to apply them can be found on the State aid Regulations and Guidance page.

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