In order to mitigate the post-Covid-19 economic effects on companies, Law Decree no. 73/2021 has intervened by considerably increasing the Aid to Economic Growth (hereinafter “Super-Ace”), providing that the increases recorded in the year 2021 may benefit from a notional return of 15.00%, instead of 1.30%.
The new enhanced version incentivizes companies to finance their business by using equity rather than recourse to debt capital and provides for a recapture mechanism to discourage the temporary injection of money into companies’ equity.
In addition, the possibility of converting the Super-Ace deduction into a tax credit is foreseen, allowing companies to benefit from the relief without necessarily having to wait for the tax return.
Super-Ace: scope and new features
The SC 2022 tax return related to the fiscal year 2021 shows the new Super-Ace calculation mechanisms in the new box RS 112A. The higher tax concession is due only with reference to the increases in equity registered in the 2021 period and is equal to the difference between:
- the ACE base calculated as at December 31, 2021;
- the ACE base calculated as at December 31, 2020.
Therefore, it is determined by assuming the increases in equity capital recorded in 2021. In particular, the increases for the purposes of the benefit in question are represented by:
- cash contributions by shareholders.
- shareholders’ waivers of receivables
- profits allocated to available reserves.
The most significant changes relating to the calculation of the Super-Ace are as follows:
- the increases for cash contributions made in 2021 are recorded for the entire amount without having to carry out the pro-rata temporis adjustment starting from the date of payment, as provided for the ordinary Ace;
- the increase in equity is recorded for a maximum amount of 5 million euros without considering the limit of the equity shown in the financial statements with a notional return of 15.00%. Should the maximum amount be exceeded, the excess is considered according to the rules for determining ordinary Ace at a rate of 1.30%.
The facility can be used by the company either as a deduction from taxable income or as a tax credit. The quantification of the benefit does not change in relation to the option chosen, but in the case of the option for a tax credit, the benefit may be used in advance. In the latter case, the company will have to communicate this choice to the Tax Office by using a special telematic form to be sent within the deadline for the tax return.
Considering the advantageous effect of injecting cash into the equity of companies, the legislator has provided for a mechanism for recovering the benefit in order to discourage situations of abuse: in the event of reductions in shareholders’ equity for reasons different from the losses off-setting (such as the dividends distribution) occurring in the two tax periods following 2021, the company must repay the benefit previously utilized by increasing equal to the amount of the deduction use in tax return or reimburse the tax credit if it has opted for the conversion of the Super-Ace.
Clarifications by the Tax Agency on the increased benefit
Numerous questions and doubts were raised by operators regarding the determination of the Super-ACE, which have now finally been answered by the Tax Agency during the Telefisco 2022 conference. Among these, answer no. 29 clarified that the cash contribution of companies newly incorporated in 2021 must be considered pro-rata temporis adjustment with consequent penalization for companies founded in the last months of the year 2021.
A further doubt, which was resolved by answer no. 33, concerned the carry-forward of the Super-Ace excess not used for insufficient income (*). In fact, the legislation does not regulate anything in this regard, leaving open the issue of the possibility or not to benefit from the Super-Ace surplus in the following tax periods. In this case, the tax authorities have confirmed that the surplus not used in fiscal year 2021 can be carried forward.