The tax credit shall be granted to all undertakings carrying out investments in research and development activities from the tax period following that in progress on 31 December 2014 to that in progress on 31 December 2020, without any limit in relation to:

  • Legal form.
  • Productive sector (including agriculture).
  • Size (e.g. in terms of turnover).
  • Accounting regime.

In particular, the following are also included:

  • Consortia and business networks.
  • Non-commercial entities, universities, or other research centres, such as resident commission agents to whom the principal non-resident has commissioned research and development.
  • Permanent establishments in the territory of the State of non-resident enterprises.

For expenditure incurred since 2017, and also on the basis of previous contracts in progress, the tax credit is also payable to companies operating on the national territory (resident or permanent organisations) on the basis of buyer contracts with foreign companies, local universities or other research organisation:

  • In other Member States of the European Union.
  • In the States party to the Agreement on the European Economic Area (EU members, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein).
  • In countries that allow an adequate exchange of information (DM 4 September 1996 and subsequent modifications and additions).

It does not apply to:

  • Persons with income from self-employment.
  • Subject to insolvency procedures not aimed at the continuation of economic activity.
  • Enterprises researching for third parties commissioned by resident enterprises.
  • Non-commercial entities (for institutional activities).

The tax credit applies only to “research and development” (R&D) activities. The scope of the R&D concept is defined according to the criteria established in the OECD’s Frascati Manual 2015 “Guidelines for Collecting and Reporting Data on Research and Experimental Development”. Only if the activity carried out falls within the scope of the R & D can it be assessed to which type of eligible activity it can be attributed.

Eligible R & D investment (Art. 2 DM):

  • Experimental or theoretical work carried out, the main purpose of which is to acquire new knowledge on the foundations of phenomena and observable facts, without any direct commercial applications or uses.
  • Planned research or critical surveys aimed at acquiring new knowledge, to be used to develop new products, processes or services or to allow an improvement of existing products, processes or services or the creation of components of complex systems, necessary for industrial research;
  • Acquisition, combination, structuring and use of existing scientific, technological and commercial knowledge and skills for the purpose of producing plans, designs or designs for new, modified or improved products, processes or services; these may also be other activities for conceptual definition, planning and documentation of new products, processes and services;
  • Production and testing of products, processes, and services, if they are not used or processed for industrial applications or for commercial purposes.

R & D activities shall not be considered: ordinary or periodic changes to products, production lines, manufacturing processes, existing services, and other ongoing operations, even where such changes represent improvements.

Methods of determining and conditions for the use of the benefit

Modalities of use:

  • No prior request (automatic credit).
  • Credit offset in F24 exclusively through the telematic services Entratel and Fisconline (with tax code “6857”).
  • It shall be reported under the RU framework of the UNICO model for the tax period in which the subsidised investments were made.
  • The possibility of compensation shall run from the tax period following that of the payment of the costs, whereas only for the credit corresponding to the accounting certification costs the use in compensation is allowed only from the day following the date of completion of the said certification;
  • The credit does not contribute to the formation of taxable income (IRPEF/IRES/IRAP).
  • The credit may be combined with other preferential measures, unless the rules governing the other measures provide otherwise; in any event, the amount resulting from the cumulation may not exceed the costs incurred.

Documentation and certification:

  • Obligation to attach to the financial statement’s documentation certifying eligible costs certified by the entity in charge of carrying out the statutory audit, board of auditors, statutory auditor, or an audit firm by the date of approval of the financial statements.
  • If the budget is already certified this certification is not required.

What to keep and produce in terms of documentation:

  • Research project describing the activities undertaken by the beneficiary undertaking.
  • Personnel (both employee and collaboration).
  • Laboratory instruments and equipment.
  • Contracts of research.
  • Prospectus containing the analytical listing of the investments made in previous tax periods and used for the basis for calculating the incremental share determining the amount of the tax credit.
  • Documentation showing the investments made referred to in the previous point.
  • In the event that the R & D client is a non-resident entity, the commission agent receiving the tax credit will have to prepare and maintain a descriptive report of the activities carried out accompanied by a prospectus linking the expenses.