New tax credit for research and development in the semiconductor sector

Edited by Vitalba Passarelli, Giovanni Marra and Antonio Maresca

The so-called Omnibus decree (DL no. 104 of 10 August 2023) containing “Urgent provisions to protect users, regarding economic and financial activities and strategic investments” introduced – in line with the objectives indicated in the European Commission communication (COM 2022) 45 final of 8 February 2022, concerning «A chip regulation for Europe» – a new bonus, in the form of a tax credit, for companies investing in research and development activities in the microelectronics and semiconductors, an increasingly strategic sector for our country to be able to compete with other advanced economies.

The regulations in this regard are contained in Article 5 of the aforementioned decree “Tax credit for research and development in microelectronics and Technical Committee for microelectronics” which provides that the tax credit is used in compensation in the F24 model, starting from the subsequent tax period the one in which incurred the eligible costs. For this measure, resources equal to 530 million have been allocated which will be divided as follows: 10 million for 2024, and respectively 130 million for the following years up to 2028, thus covering the costs incurred from the entry into force of the decree until to the period ended 31 December 2027.

It should be noted that there will be no cumulation with the already existing tax credit for R&D, innovation, and design activities, provided for by law 160/2019 and subsequent amendments.

Beneficiaries and eligible costs

A further novel element of the new tax credit is represented by the fact that the eligible taxpayers – companies resident in the territory of the State and permanent organizations in the territory of the State of non-resident subjects – will also be able to benefit of the tax credit in case of the so-called “inbound” R&D, or “commissioned R&D”, i.e. taxpayers which carry out R&D activities in the case of contracts stipulated with companies resident or located in other member states of the European Union, in states adhering to the agreement on the European Economic Area (EEA ). Green light, therefore, for Italian companies that are owned by foreign multinationals, but which carry out R&D activities in Italy on commission from the foreign entities.

The list of eligible expenses includes those for personnel, equipment, and patents while costs relating to properties are expressly excluded. Unlike what concerns the general R&D&I credit, the use of this tax credit is subordinated not only to the certification by the auditor in charge of the audit of the accounts which verifies the actual sustaining of the costs, but also to the certification of the technical merit referred to in the art. 23 of Legislative Decree 73 of 2022, the implementing decree of which is awaiting publication in the Official Journal in these days.

The intensity of the aid is in line with the provisions of the art. 25 of EU Reg. n. 651/2014 (General Exemption Regulation) which establishes the maximum levels for each beneficiary, namely: 100% of the eligible costs for fundamental research activities, 50% for industrial research and feasibility studies and 25% for development experimental. Higher rates are foreseen for SMEs or in cases of collaborative projects.

The Microelectronics Committee

Furthermore, the establishment of a permanent technical committee for microelectronics is also envisaged, composed of a representative of the Ministry of Enterprise and Made in Italy, a representative of the Ministry of Economy and Finance and one of the Ministry of Universities and research, with control and coordination functions and with the aim of reporting any supply crises in the sector and preparing a three-year national plan with organic indications on the actions to be undertaken. For the technical analysis in this regard, the Committee will be able to count on the support of the Italian Center for the design of integrated circuits and semiconductors.

For the measure to be fully operational, however, a further implementing decree is still awaited, aimed at strengthening the entire semiconductor supply chain and reducing its dependence on foreign countries which, based on press rumors, should be forthcoming emanation.

For a deeper discussion, please contact:

Vitalba Passarelli

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti


Giovanni Marra

PwC TLS Avvocati e Commercialisti