• Italy Tax Updater
  • September 12, 2011
  • Law Firm: Norton Rose Canada LLP - Montreal Office
  • Changes to the Robin Hood Tax: extension to renewable energy companies

    Law Decree no. 138 of 13 August 2011 (the Decree) (effective as from the same date) envisages a number of austerity measures, mainly aimed at reducing the Country’s deficit, including an extension of the so called “Robin Hood Tax” to renewable energy companies.

    The Decree was published in the Official Gazette no. 188 of 13 August 2011, and shall be converted into law by the Italian Parliament within 60 days thereof. Some amendments may occur during conversion.

    Background

    Law Decree no. 112 of 25 June 2008, converted into Law no. 133 of 6 August 2008, introduced an additional corporate tax (IRES) of 6.5 per cent for companies:

    • having gross revenues in the preceding year of more than €25 million, and
    • carrying out one of the following activities:
      • exploration and exploitation of liquid and gas hydrocarbons
      • refining, production and trade of oil products (petrol, oil, gas oil, lubricating oil, residual oil, liquefied and natural gas)
      • production and trade of electricity.

    As a result, the overall IRES rate applicable to the above energy companies was increased from the ordinary 27.5 per cent rate to a 34 per cent rate.

    Companies engaged in the production of electricity from biomass and solar/photovoltaic or wind power (Renewable Energy Companies) were excluded from the application of the increased IRES rate.

    Changes introduced by the Decree

    The Decree introduced some relevant amendments to the Robin Hood Tax legislation1. In particular:

    • it broadened its scope of application (effective as from 20112) to Renewable Energy Companies, in addition to companies operating in the (a) transmission, dispatch and distribution of electricity, and (b) transportation or distribution of natural gas
    • it increased the additional IRES rate from 6.5 per cent to 10.5 per cent, with limited respect to fiscal years from 2011 to 2013
    • it changed the relevant thresholds and extended the scope of the additional IRES rate, to capture companies (i) with gross revenues for the preceding year of more than €10 million and (ii) with taxable income for the same year of more than €1 million.

    Consequently, as from 2011, all companies engaged in the activities outlined above which meet the thresholds provided by the Decree, will be subject to the 6.5 per cent Robin Hood Tax (ie, overall IRES rate of 34 per cent rather than 27.5 per cent), temporarily increased up to 10.5 per cent (ie, overall IRES rate of 38 per cent rather than 27.5 per cent) from 2011 to 2013.

    Footnotes

    1.Protection of consumers should be granted by forbidding to pass on the additional tax burden on to consumers through price increases.
    2.The Decree makes reference to the fiscal year in course at the date of the entering into force of the same Decree.