Prepared by Carlo Romano, Marco Longobardi and Giulia Faustini
The Italian Government has issued the Law Decree n. 18/2020 (so called “Cura Italia” – hereinafter “LD”), introducing economic support measures for families, workers and enterprises to deal with the epidemiological emergency caused by COVID-19.
This LD sets out, inter alia, some specific measures in favor of the “world of sport”, in order to reduce the big economic damage deriving from:
- the suspension of sports competitions due to Covid-19 (eg. UEFA has postponed the European championships to 2021, FIBA and Euro League have suspended all their competitions indefinitely);
- the closure of sports facilities and centers (in this regard, it must be highlighted that more than 1 million people are employed in fitness sector) with inevitable repercussions on the entire production chain (clothing, sports shoes, etc.).
The main measures in favor of sport provided in the Decree are – in summary:
- the suspension of payments, withholdings, contributions and premiums in favor, among others, of associations and sports clubs;
- the suspension of payment of fees for sports, professional and amateur clubs, with tax domicile, registered office or operational headquarters in the Italian territory;
- the assignment of an allowance to “sports collaborators”.
In particular, article 61, paragraph 2, lett. a) of the LD – in conjunction with article 8, paragraph 1, of the Law-Decree n. 9 of March 2nd,2020, n. 9 – sets out the suspension of withholding tax payments on employment income and similar income and VAT payments having deadline in March, as well as the suspension of payment of social security contributions and premium for mandatory insurance on employment for all national sports federations, sports promotion bodies, professional and amateur sports associations and clubs, as well as for all the subjects who manage stadiums, sports facilities, gyms, clubs and structures for dance, fitness and bodybuilding, sports centers, swimming pools and swimming centers.
According to par. 5 of article 61, notwithstanding the provisions of paragraph 4, it is expressly provided the suspension of payments for national sports federations, sports promotion bodies, associations and sports, professional and amateur clubs until May 31st, 2020. The provision also sets out that the suspended payments must be made in full by June 30th, 2020 or in five equal installments starting from June 2020, without the application of penalties and interests (paragraph 5) and without providing for any «Reimbursement of what has already been paid».
It is not clear, therefore, whether this derogation is also applicable to all the subjects who manage stadiums, sports facilities, gyms, clubs and structures for dance, fitness and bodybuilding, sports centers, swimming pools and swimming centers (referred to in paragraph 2, letter a of the 61 of the Legislative Decree): in fact, if this were not the case (and, therefore, if the failure to recall these subjects in the provision of paragraph 5 was “intentional” for the legislator), the suspension set out by the LD for these subjects would follow, otherwise , the terms referred to in paragraphs 1, 2 and 3 of the Law Decree issued on March 2nd, 2020, n. 8 (suspension until April 30th, payments suspended to be made in full by May 30th or in five equal installments starting from June 2020, without applying penalties and interest).
This LD also sets out – for national sports federations, sports promotion bodies, professional and amateur sports associations and clubs – the suspension (from the date of entry into force of the Legislative LD until May 31th, 2020) of the terms for the payment of the “rental and concessionary fees” related to the assignment of public sports facilities which belong to the state and to the local authorities. In this regard, article 95 of this LD postpones this fulfillment, in paragraph 2, providing that the payment of the aforementioned fees would be made in full by June 30th, 2020, without the application of interest and penalties, or in five equal installments starting from June 2020.
Finally, this LD introduces an ad hoc measure for those who work with and for national sports federations, sports promotion bodies, amateur sports associations and clubs. In particular, article 96 of the LD foresees the assignment of an allowance, up to a maximum of 50 million euros for 2020, to all the subjects who have a collaborative relationship with sports clubs or associations (pursuant to art. 67, paragraph 1, letter m of the Presidential Decree n. 917/1986) already in place on February 23rd, 2020.
Therefore, the LD sets out, according to par. 2 of article 96, that the resources transferred to Sport and Salute S.p.A. must be increased by 50 million euros for 2020. It will be up to “Sport and Salute SpA” to process the applications in the chronological order of receipt, after having analyzed the self-certification of the pre-existing cooperation relationship and the lack of perception of any other income from employment. In this regard, according to par. 4 of article 96 of the LD, a decree of the Minister of Economy and Finance, in consultation with the delegated authority on sports (to be adopted within 15 days from the date of entry into force of this LD), will set out the methods to file the applications and the management criteria of the fund referred to in paragraph 2, as well as the forms of monitoring and controlling of the expenditure.
This provision is, therefore, aimed at workers engaged in amateur sport who, before the current emergency, received tax-exempt fees of up to 10,000 euros per year and would have risked of remaining “excluded from the disbursement of the aid measure granted by this decree only in favor of self-employed, professionals and coordinated and continuous collaborators” (pursuant to art. 27 of LD), not being registered in compulsory insurance and into a single-separately-managed fund (INPS).
Finally, the LD sets out some other measures which, although not expressly referred to the “world of sport”, can still be considered applicable to the latter. In particular:
- a tax credit for 2020 of 50% of the costs borne by enterprises and professionals to sanitize spaces and work instruments is provided for 2020 up to an amount of 20.000 euros, in order to encourage the sanisation of the workplace, as a measure to contain the contagion from COVID-19 (pursuant to art. 64 of the Legislative Decree);
- the deducibility for income tax purposes equal to 30% (for an amount not exceeding 30.000 euros) for the cash donations and donations in kind made in 2020 by natural persons and non-commercial entities, in favor of State, regions, local territorial bodies, public bodies or institutions, legally recognized non-profit foundations and non-profit associations, aimed at financing interventions related to the containment and management of the epidemiological emergency caused by COVID-19 (pursuant to art. 66 of the Legislative Decree).
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