We offer you a special in-depth look at what is actually provided for by the new measures introduced by Decree-Law no. 23 of 8 April 2020, the so-called Decreto Liquidità (Liquidity Decree).
On 9 April, the so-called Liquidity Decree (Decree-Law No. 23 of 8 April 2020) came into force, containing urgent “measures on access to credit and tax compliance for businesses and professionals, special powers in strategic sectors, as well as interventions on health and labor, and extension of administrative and procedural deadlines”; worth: € 400 billion.
On the basis of the measures contained in this Decreto Legge (Decree-Law), public coverage is ready to be activated, which will support the financing granted by banks or credit grantors in favour of the enterprises affected by the Coronavirus emergency.
Below is a summary of the rules, amounts, and limits of access to credit.
The Liquidity Decree provides for two channels to access state-guaranteed loans:
– Sace (a joint-stock company of the Italian group Cassa Depositi e Prestiti, specialized in the insurance-financial sector) for large enterprises.
– The Fondo di Garanzia (Guarantee Fund) for small and medium-sized enterprises with up to 499 employees (Pmi).
As regards access to Sace, three bands have been provided for:
– state guarantee covering 90% of the loan for companies with fewer than 5,000 employees in Italy and a turnover value of up to EUR 1.5 billion;
– 80% guarantee for companies with a turnover of between EUR 1.5 and 5 billion or with more than 5,000 employees in Italy;
– 70% guarantee for companies with a turnover of more than EUR 5 billion.
As regards the amount of the guaranteed loan, this may not exceed the greater of these two amounts:
– 25% of turnover in 2019;
– twice the company’s personnel costs for 2019, as shown in the balance sheet or certified data (if the company was founded after 31.12.2018, the personnel costs expected for the first 2 years of activity are used).
The beneficiary company (or other companies in the same group) will not be allowed to distribute dividends or buy back its own shares during 2020; in addition, the company will have to commit to managing employment levels through trade union agreements. It will also have to comply with a “Made in Italy” clause, i.e. use the financing only for activities located in Italy.
Costs and duration:
The loans are to be repaid over 6 years, with a grace period of up to 2 years. Commissions are differentiated: for SMEs, in relation to the amount guaranteed, they are 0.25% in the first year, 0.5% in the second and third years, and 1% from the fourth to the sixth year. For larger companies, they are 0.5% of the guaranteed amount in the first year, 1% in the second and third years, and 2% from the fourth to the sixth year.
For the first band, under 1.5 billion euro turnover, the procedure is as follows: application to the bank, which in the event of a positive decision requests the guarantee from Sace. Sace processes the request and issues a loan code, which the bank then disburses. For larger companies, the procedure is more complex and a Mef-Mise decree is needed.
Fondo di Garanzia (Guarantee Fund)
The basic guarantee will be 90%, for a maximum guaranteed amount of € 5 million.
The loans will have a maximum duration of 6 years with a limited amount.
The guarantee rises to 100% for loans up to € 25,000 and in any case up to 25% of revenues, intended not only for companies with up to 499 employees but also for the self-employed. For this category of loans, there is no credit assessment: a self-certification on revenues is enough. Repayment is in 6 years with repayment starting no earlier than 2 years.
In the case of revenues of up to € 3.2 million, a 90% guarantee is envisaged, which may rise to 100% if the additional 10% is guaranteed by Confidi. Only companies with up to 499 employees and revenues of up to € 3.2 million, and in any case up to 25% of turnover, are eligible, i.e. a loan not exceeding € 800,000.
A self-certification certifying Covid-19 damage is required.
Costs and duration:
Until the end of 2020, access is free for all Fund operations.
– For loans of up to € 25,000 there is an interest rate linked to the yield on government bonds, with a mark-up of 0.2% (a value between 1.2 and 2% can be estimated).
– For companies with revenues of up to € 3.2 million, the text does not stipulate a minimum rate or a fixed maximum repayment period.
For loans up to € 25,000, as mentioned, there will be no creditworthiness assessment.
For the other categories (90% loans or 100% loans from the State + Confidi) there will be a lighter bank inquiry: only the economic-financial structure of the company will be assessed (excluding the evaluation of the trend over the last 6 months).
N.B. In order to apply for funding, it is advisable to first contact your bank, which will be able to provide you with all the necessary instructions and information at this early stage.
Suspension of tax obligations and payments (April and May)
Among its measures, the Liquidity Decree also contains the extension of tax, administrative and procedural obligations.
The 4-day mini-extension (from 16.03 to 20.03.2020) has been extended until 16.04.2020.
They are suspended:
– payments to Public Administrations, including those relating to social security contributions and compulsory insurance premiums. Therefore, payments due on 16.03.2020 are considered timely if made by 16.04.2020.
– VAT payments due in March 2020.
– Payments for tourist accommodation businesses, restaurants, ice cream parlors, pastry shops, bars, and pubs, etc…… The suspended payments must be made in a single payment by 31.05.2020 (postponed to 1.06.2020), or through a maximum number of 5 monthly installments of equal amount, from the same date.
– With regard to businesses, artisans, or professionals with revenues or compensation not exceeding € 2 million in 2019, the decree confirms the suspension of self-assessment payments, which were due between 8.03.2020 and 31.03.2020 and related:
- to withholding taxes on income from employment and income assimilated to employment;
- social security contributions and compulsory insurance premiums.
The suspended payments must be made by 31.05.2020 (as a single payment or in 5 instalments).
– For business, art, or professional operators with revenues or fees up to € 50 million in 2019, the decree introduces the same suspension for taxpayers who started their activity after 31.03.2019. This suspension only applies if there is a drop in turnover or fees of not less than 33% in the month of March 2020 compared to March 2019, or in the month of April 2020 compared to April 2019.
In addition, for the same category, the tax obligations due from 8.03.2020 to 31.05.2020 remain suspended, while the obligations regarding electronic invoicing and telematic payments remain fully effective. The suspended obligations can be fulfilled by 30 June 2020, without penalties.
In addition, payments of withholding tax, social security contributions, compulsory employee insurance premiums, and VAT due in April and May 2020 are suspended.
Under no circumstances are obligations relating to the payment of withholding taxes suspended.
€600-bonus for VAT holders
Finally, the Liquidity Decree on the issue of the €600-bonus for VAT matches provides that, in order to benefit from the allowance, professionals must be “not pensioners and exclusively registered with the Fund”.