n 1 January 2014, a new law entered into force providing additional regulations for the offsetting of tax credits relating to income taxes, withholding taxes, substitute taxes and the Regional Tax on Productive Activities (IRAP). As of this date, companies, entrepreneurs and professionals that wish to offset a tax credit (relating to the above) higher than € 15,000 as resulting from their tax return in any given year, are required to have a 'conformity permit' added to their tax return in which the credit arises. The maximum amount of tax credits that can be offset against other tax liabilities is, as of 1 January 2014, € 700,000 overall (2013: € 516,456).
It has been clarified that, in principle, tax payers can proceed to offset of the above tax credits immediately; there is no need to wait until the tax return in which the credit arises is filed in September with the 'conformity permit'. However, tax payers should always preliminarily verify that there are no unpaid tax liabilities exceeding € 1,500 in the register of unpaid taxes, because otherwise a penalty will be raised for an amount equal to 50% of the difference between the amount offset and € 1,500. Therefore, a check with the Italian tax authorities is highly advisable. The 'conformity permit' must be issued by a qualified professional or the audit company or the Board of the Statutory Auditors in case of companies subject to a statutory audit. The purpose of the 'conformity permit' is to certify that the information included in the tax return matches the accounting records as well as to confirm that the accounting records have been properly and regularly kept in accordance with Italian tax and accounting legislation. If the tax payer claims an unjustified tax credit and uses this to offset other tax liabilities, specific penalties apply.