Certification and Audit

Prior Certification of Research and Development Bonus and Audit are two key services to support your business growth in a safe and tax-compliant way.

Audit Service for the Verification of the Maintenance of the Hyper-Depreciation Requirements

What we can do for you

The consulting and assistance service covers the activities necessary to carry out a conformity audit to certify that the technical requirements that make the good eligible under the standard have been maintained and the resulting issue of a conformity report.

  • we can plan an annual technical visit to your company in order to verify the condition of the subsidised assets;
  • we verify their technical compliance for hyper-depreciation purposes;
  • we prepare a report examining the compliance with the technical specification requirements in order to maintain the benifts envisaged by the above-mentioned legislation;
  • in the event that not all of the technical specification requirements are met with regards to maintaining the benefit envisaged by the legislation, a non-compliance report will be issued, including guidance on whether or not a new sworn technical report should be carried out.

How we do it

By providing you with a team of specialists to guide you through the management and use of this complex incentive. Specifically:

  • a commercial consultant with specific expertise, who - after running an initial check to establish the possibility of accessing the hyper-depreciation scheme - will coordinate subsequent activities and be responsible for your satisfaction;

  • our Research Department, which investigates every aspect of the legislation and monitors all updates; the Research Department studies the circulars, FAQs, resolutions, and interpretations of the inspection authorities, updates the commercial and technical consultants and discusses the issues with the internal team that specialises in the measure in question;

  • the hyper-depreciation technical team, which monitors the progress of the applications to ensure every form is filled in on time and provides the technician assigned to the company with support for the more complex aspects;

  • a dedicated technician (usually an engineer), who liaises with the client in the handling of the application; the technician is also in charge of preparing the related interconnection report/certificate or audit report;

  • a customer service department, for administrative aspects and the collection of paperwork.

Prior Certification of the Research and Development Bonus

In the context of the recent Simplification Decree (Decree Law No. 73 of 21 June 2022 'Urgent Measures Concerning Tax Simplifications ...', Gazzetta Ufficiale, General Series No. 143 of 21 June 2022), the legislator intervened on the issue of the correct use of the Research and Development bonus.
The season of inspections led to the identification of a series of alleged irregularities in the management of the bonus, which was followed by numerous tax disputes on the recoveries made, which then merged into an 'amnesty' procedure that would allow companies to return, free of penalties and interest, the amounts used on projects that were not consistent with the clarifications provided by the Tax Authority. 
A further piece is thus added to the matter, introducing the possibility of availing oneself of a certification prior to checks on the activities implemented.

Disputes over the nature of expenditure

Let us briefly clarify what is the discriminating element in the assessment made by the Tax Authority on the expenditure projects carried out.
In particular, the Tax Revenue's attention focuses on what paragraph 200 of Article 1 of Law 160/2019 has clarified, according to which 'research and development activities eligible for the tax credit are considered to be fundamental research, industrial research and experimental development in the scientific or technological field, as defined, respectively, in points m), q) and j) of point 15 of paragraph 1.3 of the Commission Communication (2014/C 198/01) of June 27th 2014, concerning the regulation of State aid for research, development and innovation. By decree of the Minister of Economic Development criteria for the correct application of these definitions are dictated, taking into account the general principles and criteria contained in the Frascati Manual of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)'.

Afterwards, the Mise decree of May 26th 2020, in Article 2, clarified that works classifiable in one or more of the following general categories may qualify as research and development activities eligible for the tax credit:

  • Fundamental research: experimental or theoretical work undertaken primarily with the aim of acquiring new knowledge in science or technology is regarded as fundamental research activities;
  • Industrial research: industrial research activities are considered to be original work undertaken in order to identify possible uses or applications of the new knowledge resulting from a fundamental research activity or in order to find new solutions for achieving a predetermined purpose or practical objective; 

  • Experimental development: systematic work, based on knowledge gained from research or practical experience, carried out with the aim of acquiring additional knowledge and gathering the technical information necessary for the realisation of new products or new production processes or with a view to the significant improvement of existing products or processes.

In short, the clarification that the subsidised expenses 'pursue progress or advancement of general knowledge or skills in a scientific or technological field and not merely the progress or advancement of the knowledge or skills of an individual enterprise' has resulted in a not insignificant dichotomy on the concept of 'novelty' underlying the research projects implemented between the 'up-to-date' vision of the Tax Authority and the spirit with which many enterprises approached the research conducted. This dichotomy led the Tax Authority to suggest a mediated peace, through the aforementioned amnesty measure, with payment of the sums offset without penalties and interest.

The certification of expenses as a prior element to the use of the bonus

With the provisions contained in Article 23, paragraphs 2 to 5 of Decree-Law No. 73/2022, the legislature introduced the possibility for companies benefiting from the bonus to request and obtain prior certification of the expenditure sustained, so as to ensure that the bonus can be used as compensation without unpleasant consequences following later inspections. 
According to the text of the rule, it will be qualified entities that will be able to issue the certification. A decree of the President of the Council of Ministers will identify the requirements of the public or private entities authorised to issue the certification, ensuring their professionalism, honourability and impartiality. The entities thus identified will be included in a special register of certifiers held by the Ministry for Economic Development. The same decree will lay down the implementing procedures. 
However, it may be requested on the condition that any violations relating to the use of tax credits have not already been ascertained or, in any case, no accesses, inspections, audits or other administrative assessment activities have begun. 
Finally, the decree states that it has binding effects towards the tax administration.