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The 2016 Stability Law contains significant new features for the National road transport sector

Massimo Lanari

As usual, great expectations were fuelled by the 2016 Stability Law, as it contains many important news for the Italian road transport sector.  Many of the provisions relate directly to road hauliers, starting with the delicate issue of excise duty reimbursements on diesel. Here the Law states that as from January 1, 2016  tax credits on Diesel will not be available for Euro 2 vehicles or lower, an environmental turning point which aims at rewarding only “Eco-friendlier” companies.

The above mentioned Stability Law even goes as far as evaluating the savings forecasted from these measures -160 million euro/year from 2016 to 2020, 80 million euro in 2021, 40 million euro in 2022 - and states that any discrepancy will be communicated by the Customs Agency directly to both the Ministry of Finance and Transport no later than October 31 each year. In case of increased savings, the corresponding amounts will be allocated to the estimates of the Ministry of Transport. In case of lower savings, however, the Ministry of Economy and Finance will reconsider the financial allocations of the resources in question, while, if the forecasted savings are confirmed, the resources will be allocated as follows: up to 15%  to facilitate the purchase of new and “eco-friendly” road transport vehicles and up to 85% to the new Fund for vehicles intended for local and regional public transport. Furthermore, the Law confirmed the "Marebonus" scheme which authorizes the Ministry of Transport to grant contributions for projects aimed at improving the intermodal chain and decongesting the national road network through new maritime services or improving services on existing routes, for goods arriving and departing from Italian ports. On this front a sum of 45.4 million Euro has been authorized for 2016, 44.1 million for 2017 and 48.9 million for 2018.

Furthermore, the Law includes a "ferrobonus", authorized by the Ministry of Transport, which grants contributions for intermodal rail services for goods arriving and/or departing from Italian ports and logistic nodes. The funds authorized in this case amount to € 20 million / year for the 2016-2018 triennium. The same regulation provides that part of the resources allotted in 2015 can be diverted on the measures planned for 2016: 250 million Euro/year are expected.

Moreover, a further fund of 10 million euro is guaranteed to the road transport sector, established within the Guarantee Fund for SMEs, whose operations had been recently suspended due to the exhaustion of resources.

Important news for international hauliers: the stability law also provides for social security contribution relief for the employers, up to 80% for drivers engaged in international transport on vehicles equipped with digital tachographs. To this end, in fact, a total expenditure of 65.5 million euro/year for the 2016-2018 period has been authorized. The measure was introduced starting from January 1, 2016 on an experimental basis for a three year period, and takes into account previous applications, in a strict chronological order, by the undertakings concerned, provided that the annual driving days for a driver engaged in international transport are no less than 100. Tax exemptions - which do not concern Inail premiums and contributions - are recognized by INPS in a strict chronological order (application dates), subject to the availability of resources, and evaluated also on a multiannual basis taking into account the duration of the exemption. The institution will monitor the loss of revenue, sending monthly reports to the relevant ministries, and will keep an updated report on resource depletion also on its web site.

Finally, undocumented expenses funds for the sector’s small businesses have been restructured. The law makes changes to the Concessionary tax deduction regime for undocumented expenses on behalf of smaller companies, especially for transport operations carried out personally by the entrepreneur. The old system - based on a distinction between transport performed by companies in the region of origin or in neighboring ones and transport performed from beyond these areas - is replaced by a subdivision based on two categories: transport performed beyond the territory of the municipality, where the company is based, and transport performed within the municipality in which the undertaking is located. Deductions, the precise amount of which will be determined later, will be lower for transport within the municipality where the company is located, 35% of the total deduction expected for the same operations beyond the borders of the company’s municipality.


Hauliers against heavier motorway tolls

On January 1 2015, adjustments to highway toll rates entered into force after the signing of a few Intergovernmental Decrees between the Minister of Infrastructure and Transport and the Minister of Economy and Finance.

"Unfortunately, the annual toll increases - said the president of Confartigianato Trasporti Amedeo Genedani - are becoming a significant cause of harm to road transport companies. Hence our decision to share in the protests against tolls increase, for example the Torino-Milano motorway has, for the umpteenth time, experienced an increase in fares, the seventh consecutive one, in fact. An unbearable situation for transport companies, and serious food for thought for our Government’s executive branch".

"With the rate of inflation at such low levels - insists Genedani – this is yet another blow for motorists and trucking companies alike, which makes it even harder for them to recover from the recent crisis, given also the unfair competition of illegal cabotage performed by foreign carriers. Transporters cannot and should not always have to be forced to such disbursements, especially in the light of a lingering economic downturn. If the recovery of the sector is high on the list, then a radical change of direction is necessary".



Register of Injuries abolished: Inail introduces the “cruscotto infortuni”

The goal is to simplify the employer’s responsibilities. The abolition of the register of injuries became effective on December 23, 2015, date from which employers no longer have the obligation to keep the register. However,  INAIL makes it clear that nothing has changed  as far as the obligations of the employer to report any accidents immediately to INAIL, whose aim is to provide supervisors and safety inspectors with an alternative tool that can supply the necessary data. Hence the creation of a "cruscotto infortuni" (injury dash-board) able to show any injury occurred starting  from December 23, 2015 and reported to INAIL by the employer. The “cruscotto infortuni” ,which will be accessible to supervisory bodies in the website by inserting the tax code, allows a supervisor to consult data relating to each injured worker.

In this case, the circular letter concludes, the user receives a report with details of all cases of injury related to the individual worker. It must be noted though, that in case accidents occurred  prior to the 23rd of  December 2015, these must still be recorded in the registry of injuries: therefore all the sector’s companies still need to keep the old log in the premises, at least for a while.

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