The regime, which applies as from 20 October 2012, still must be approved by the EU, with specifics of implementation of the incentives to be provided in a Ministerial Decree A decree law published by the Italian government on 18 October 2012 introduces a new type of company, the ‘innovative start-up company,’ and temporary corporate tax incentives for such companies, with a view to encouraging technological development and promoting employment in the country. For a company to qualify as an innovative start-up, all of the following requirements must be met:
It must be resident and subject to tax in Italy;
It must have been established for no longer than 48 months (and may not result from a merger, split-off or transfer of a business);
It must not be listed on a stock exchange;
The majority of the company’s share capital and voting rights must be owned by individuals;
The company may not be distributing profits or dividends;
The exclusive purpose of the company must be the development, production and marketing of innovative products and services with high technological value;
The total turnover of the company may not exceed EUR 5 million as from the second year of operations; and
One of the following requirements must be met:
R&D costs (except lands and buildings) as shown in the most recent financial statements are at least equal to 30% of the higher of the value of production and total costs; or
At least one-third of the total work force are individuals with higher level education (e.g. PhD, etc.); or
The company holds at least one patent related to its business activities.
The following tax incentives are available for the period 2013 to 2015:
A corporation that invests in a qualifying innovative start-up company will be able to deduct an amount equal to 20% of the investment up to a maximum of EUR 1,800,000 annually (provided the investment is held for at least two years). The deduction will be 27% for investment in start-ups operating in the social or energy sectors;
Innovative start-up companies will not be subject to the provisions relating to ‘non-operating companies,’ including the measures applying to taxpayers showing ‘a recurrent loss position;’ and
An exemption will be granted from stamp duties and fees for registration and filing with the registrar of companies.