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Article Italy: Urgent Measures Taken to Boost the Economy and Counteract Mafia Infiltration

On November 7, 2021, Decree-Law No. 152 (D.L. No. 152) on urgent provisions to implement the National Recovery and Resilience Plan (NRRP) and prevent Mafia infiltration entered into effect in Italy. 

The new legislation complements Decree Laws Nos. 77 and 80 of 2021.

Tax Credit for Tourism Businesses

The decree establishes a tax credit of up to 80% of the expenses incurred by certain businesses to improve the quality of the bids made for projects included in the NRRP’s “Improvement of Accommodation Infrastructures Through the Tax Credit Tool,” to be used until December 31, 2024. (D.L. No. 152, art. 1(1).)

Beneficiaries of this tax credit include hotels, companies that carry out agritourism activities or use open-air accommodation facilities, tourism and recreation businesses, trade fairs, swimming facilities, spa complexes, tourist ports, and theme parks. (Art. 1(4).)

These incentives are granted according to the chronological order of the applications, with a spending limit of 100 million euros (about US$113 million) for 2022. (Art. 1(10).)

Guarantees for Tourism Sector Financing

Additional incentives are established for young people up to 35 years of age who intend to start a business in the tourism sector that qualifies for investment under the NRRP, as part of the Guarantee Fund for small- and medium-sized enterprises. (Art. 2(1).)

Tax Credit for the Digitization of Travel Agencies and Tour Operators

Travel agencies and tour operators are eligible for a tax credit of 50% of the costs incurred for investments and digital development activities implemented within the NRRP’s “Digitization of Agencies and Tour Operators” project, until December 31, 2024. (Art. 4(1).)

Italy Resilience Recovery Fund

The decree establishes the “Italian Resilience Fund,” with the Italian state as its the sole contributor, to be managed by the European Investment Bank, with a budget of 772 million euros (about US$871 million) for 2021 for the implementation of projects spearheaded by enterprises in the tourism sector. (Art. 8(1).)

Measures to Protect Water Resources and Tackle Climate Change

To ensure the sustainable development of water systems from an environmental perspective, the decree forbids the expansion of existing irrigation systems if the water bodies concerned are in poor condition or if a climate change analysis indicates they would be harmed by expansion of the systems. (Art. 16(6).)

Measures to Foster “Brain Reentry” Programs at Italian Universities

The decree includes provisions aimed at encouraging Italian academics who have obtained permanent teaching positions abroad or at foreign universities or research institutes, even if located in Italy, to return to Italian universities by granting these institutions additional funding for professor and researcher positions. (Art. 26(1)(a).)

Fund for the Digital Republic

The decree establishes the Fund for the Digital Republic as part of the “Digital Services and Digital Skills” program of the National Plan for Complementary Investments, on an experimental basis, for the years 2022 through 2026, to support training and digital inclusion projects, with the aim of increasing digital skills. (Art. 29(1)–(2).)

Provisions Relating to Alitalia

Complementing Decree-Law No. 73 of May 25, 2021, which provided financial incentives to the airline Alitalia, D.L. No. 152 also allows use of the funds established in D.L. No. 73 for reimbursing holders of unused travel tickets and vouchers, even if not connected with the emergency created by the COVID-19 pandemic. (Art. 44(1).)

Additional Measures

Among additional incentive measures, there are measures to

  • simplify procedures for making investments in the national railway infrastructure’s sustainable development strategies (arts. 5(1) and 6(1)),
  • expand scholarships for access to university and research institutions (art. 12(1)),
  • require the government to issue a specific action plan for redeveloping orphan sites to reduce land congestion and improve urban renewal, in accordance with the provisions of the NRRP, within 60 days of the decree’s entry into force (art. 17(1)),
  • simplify and strengthen digital services (art. 27(1)), and
  • reduce the time frame for the strategic environmental assessment procedure to expedite review and approval of projects (art. 18(1)(a)(2), (1)(b), and (c)(1)–(2)).

Measures Strengthening the Anti-Mafia Prevention System

The decree hardens measures aimed at detecting and preventing Mafia infiltration in legitimate businesses, including protection of targeted businesses and improved communication by the respective police prefectures with the joint task force about certain suspicious transactions, in particular those involving the participation of third parties. (Art. 94-bis(a)–(e) of Legislative Decree No. 159 of September 6, 2011, added by D.L. No. 152, art. 49(1).)

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