Cover Eligibility

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Marking capacity is in the budget law public budgets an instrument by means of which the factual binding of individual outputs to the predetermined output titles can be broken in order to provide more expenses in a domestic title as in the budget has been estimated or assigned, which, however, savings in one or more connections presupposes.


As a rule, expenditures are estimated in the budget under one title, so that an objective link is established with the intended purpose of the expenditure ( §§ 20, 46 BHO , § 19 GemHKVO). When implementing the budget, the administration is bound by the management principle. As a result, the actual expenditure for precisely this purpose is limited to the amount of the budgeted funds. However, this principle proves to be inflexible when unexpectedly higher than budgeted expenses have to be paid for a particular purpose. This can especially be the case with public construction investments if unplanned cost increases occur. If the budgetary principle of specialization were to apply here, the higher expenditure could only be taken into account in the next budget and would thus only jeopardize the current solvency of public clients for budgetary reasons. The expenditures eligible for cover also include the remainder of the budget taken over from the previous year, i.e. expenditure titles that were not paid out.


In order to avoid overly rigid budget management, budgetary law provides for cover eligibility as an exception. In order to be able to afford additional expenditure, there must be materially corresponding shortfalls in other titles. A permit is formally required for this, according to which funds saved may be used as additional expenditure in another title. A distinction is made between permanent (born) and temporary (granted) permits.

Born to cover

The permanent cover capacity ordered by law is called the born cover capacity and is regulated in Section 20 (1) BHO. Since this is an exception to the otherwise budgetary principle of specialization, it is limited to the types of expenditure listed there (personnel expenditure) and may only be used within the scope of the federal budget regulations and the state budget regulations. In municipal law , a natural coverage eligibility is also provided for in the area of administrative budgets (e.g. § 18 GemHVO Rhineland-Palatinate).

Corrected coverage

The possibility of the approved cover eligibility results from § 20 Abs. 2 BHO. According to this, the titles eligible for cover must be intended for a related or similar purpose, have an administrative context and at least promote the goal of economical and economical use of the expenditure. If these requirements are met, permission can be granted under the budget law or budget. The general permit is given in the Budget Act, while a permit limited to an administrative branch of the federal / state governments is granted by means of a budget note (cover note) in the budget.

Mutual and unilateral coverage

Mutual cover eligibility exists if issue titles can be used mutually. As a result, they are mutually entitled and subject to coverage. According to Section 19 (1) GemHKVO, this also includes the household leftovers. Municipal administrative budgets are usually mutually eligible. Unilateral coverage is given if additional expenditure for a certain title can only be met by under-spending from another title, but the latter title is not flexible on the other hand. The consequence of this is that the budget item that is subject to coverage is not also eligible for coverage.

False cover eligibility

The cover eligibility described so far only extends to the expenditure side of a budget and is therefore also referred to as real cover eligibility. Of improper coverage ability is used when revenues or additional revenues will be used to boost or cover expenses. Conversely, earmarked shortfalls in income reduce the corresponding expenditure estimates.


The cover eligibility thus serves to compensate for the deviations that occur even with the most careful estimate of the budget estimates. It enables the so-called flexible housekeeping both in the cameralistic as well as in the double , whereby expenses of the budget units entitled to cover can be covered until no more funds are available. The planned budget result must not be jeopardized by using the cover eligibility (Section 17 (3) GemHKVO). The determination of cover eligibility is a budgetary process and, according to local law, usually requires the municipal council to make a decision (e.g. Sections 76 (2), 41 (2) no. 3 Saxon GemO).

Individual evidence

  1. Joachim Rose, Kommunale Finanzwirtschaft Niedersachsen , 2009, p. 201.
  2. § 18 GemHVO Rhineland-Palatinate
  3. Herbert Wiesner / Antonius Vestermeier, The state budget and accounting , 2007, p. 60 ff.
  4. Joachim Rose, Kommunale Finanzwirtschaft Niedersachsen , 2009, p. 204.