Throughout the coronavirus pandemic and the extensive lockdown measures across the country, the French government has put in place a number of supportive financial measures, to help businesses navigate the financial losses of this period. These have included a number of specially designated funds, grants and other sources of financial aid for businesses of different sizes, particularly the most vulnerable, including sole traders and small, independent businesses across the country.
While there are individual restrictions and limitations in place on the types of business grants available, there is still a wide range of support for business people to gain extra help.
The solidarity fund was initially established and announced on March 25, as a fund to help those businesses that would be most severely impacted by the economic and social measures implemented during the lockdown, as well as the impact of the continuing containment restrictions across the country. This fund is available to businesses in addition to other tax rebates, payment holidays and loans available, depending on meeting particular criteria.
This fund is limited to SME’s only, and for those businesses that have 10 employees or less, with a turnover of less than EUR 1 million for the last tax year. They should also have registered a taxable profit no more than EUR 60,000 in the previous year.
The fund can make aid payments directly to businesses that apply, depending on meeting certain eligibility criteria. A business can apply for aid covering the value of the loss of turnover in the previous month, up to a limit of EUR 1,500. This will be calculated in comparison with the turnover of the same month in the previous year. For businesses that had been established on or after February 2020, the figure will be calculated based on that month.
The funds provided from the solidarity fund are tax exempt, however, for any individuals who receive funds and have also received pensions and other allowances, the fund amount paid out may be reduced accordingly. For further information on the solidarity fund and eligibility criteria, it is advisable to contact local government authorities.
Other financial support options
While the solidarity fund provides some support and assistance to sole traders and small independent businesses, there are also other measures outside of this available to larger corporations and non-profit organisations. With the risk of bankrupty and widespread unemployment continuing to threaten the French economy, despite recent lifting of restrictions across the country, the government is continuing to offer a variety of financial support options to businesses. These include a variety of short and long term loans that are available to organisations of all sizes.
There are also other measures available to mitigate the impact of disputes and conflicts with trade partners, rescheduling debts, and support for companies considering insolvency measures. It is also possible to extend any existing deadlines for pre-established proceedings that had been commenced before the pandemic started, allowing companies to take action with the appropriate tools and advice.