The status of innovative Smes may be assumed by enterprises operating in the field of technological innovation, irrespective of the date of establishment, the business object, and the level of maturity. In particular, small and medium-sized enterprises employing fewer than 250 persons and whose annual turnover does not exceed EUR 50 million or whose balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 43 million may be classified as innovative Smes, set up as a capital company, including in a cooperative form. Benefits of innovative Smes:
- Exemption from stamp duty for entries in the Register of Companies of the Chambers of Commerce.
- Exceptions to ordinary company rules: the most significant are for innovative Smes set up in the form of SRL, which allows you to create categories of shares with special rights (for example, units which do not grant voting rights, or which do not allocate them in proportion to the investment); to carry out transactions in their own shares; to issue participatory financial instruments; to offer to the public capital shares;
- Loss relief: innovative Smes have a special scheme for the reduction of share capital, including a one-year moratorium on loss relief of more than one-third (the deadline is postponed to the second following financial year).
- Remuneration with equity participation instruments: the innovative SME can remunerate its employees with equity participation instruments (such as stock options), and external service providers through “work for equity” schemes so they accept certain shares of the company as payment for their services. These instruments are governed by a tax and contribution regime of extreme favour: they are not included in taxable income, and are subject only to taxation on capital gain (capital gains, given by the difference between the purchase price and the specific selling price of securities on the stock exchange);
- Tax incentives for investments in innovative Smes operating for less than 7 years, from the first commercial sale, from individuals (Irpef deduction of 19% up to a maximum investment of 500 thousand euro) and legal entities (deduction from the taxable Ires of 20% up to a maximum invested of 1,8 million);
- Use of equity crowdfunding: Innovative Smes, such as innovative start-ups, can also launch capital raising campaigns through authorised online portals; this tool has now been extended to all Smes.
- Simplified intervention, free of charge and directed to the Guarantee Fund for Small and Medium Enterprises, a public fund that facilitates bank financing through the granting of a loan guarantee; This guarantee covers up to 80% of the bank’s lending to the innovative SME (maximum of EUR 2,5 million), and is granted on the basis of extremely simplified access criteria, with an appraisal benefiting from a priority channel.