Hyper-depreciation: tire equipment now to fall under new tax relief
The Ministry of Economic Development considered valid AICA's observations about the possibility of including brake test benches, electronic headlight testers, tire profilers and garage lifts as well as tire changers, wheel balancers and aligners among the capital goods of a company.
Gian Primo Quagliano • Presidente Centro Studi Promotor
Only a few months are left for Italian companies to take advantage of the tax relief plan for the Industry 4.0 program, and obtain a 250% hyper-depreciation for the purchase of innovative capital goods. The hyper-depreciation, introduced by the 2017 Budget Law, can be used to purchase devices with advanced features, considered vital elements for the development of companies 4.0. These can include numerically and/or logically controlled machine tools, connected to the company's IT systems and integrated in the logistics system or with other machines in the production lines. In addition, a user-friendly human-machine interface is required along with compliance to safety and health standards in the work place as well as the possibility to be operated from remote being continually monitored as far as working conditions and process parameters. Hyper-depreciation refers to investments made between January 1 and December 31, 2018, with the possibility of extending this period to December 31, 2019 against orders placed and accepted by the seller within December 31, 2018 followed by the payment of a deposit equal to or more than 20% of the total cost of the purchased item.
In the last few months, AICA - the Italian Garage Equipment Manufacturers Association - has questioned the Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) over the possibility for operators who purchase vehicle control and maintenance systems, as well as specific types of equipment, of benefiting from the hyper-depreciation scheme, based on the legislation in force. The MISE confirmed the admissibility of the products in question to the tax relief scheme, which represent a matter of great interest for all garage specialists. Below, we summarised some of the main AICA questions and the answers obtained from the MISE.
Brake test benches, electronic headlight testers, tread wear indicators and garage lifts
Considering that the assets falling under the hyper-depreciation act are only those referred to in the items listed in Annex A under Law no. 232 dated 2016; AICA asked whether brake test benches, electronic headlight testers and tire profilers can be included in the list found at point 1 under "Systems for the assurance of quality and sustainability" on "coordinate-measuring systems (whether on contact or contactless, hybrid systems, multi-sensor or based on three-dimensional computed tomography) and related equipment for the verification of micro and macro geometric product requirements for any level of dimensional scale (from large scale to micro-metric or nano-metric scale) in order to guarantee and track the documented quality of the product and production process and connected to the factory IT system". As far as the classification brake test benches, AICA added that these must "verify geometric requirements as they measure braking efficiency and therefore calculate the braking distance of the vehicle, i.e. they define a geometric requirement". On vehicle lifts AICA demanded that they be included in point 11 under "Instrumental goods controlled by computerized systems or operated by sensors and electric drives" and, specifically, among "tools and devices for loading and the unloading, handling, weighing and automatic sorting of parts, automated lifting and handling devices". Based on the information contained in AICA’s query, the MISE decided to accept the characteristics proposed by AICA with the clarification that, for the purpose of benefiting from the hyper-depreciation scheme, the goods included in the "Quality assurance and sustainability" category must meet the general requirement of connectivity, while vehicle lifts must comply with the 5 + 2 mandatory requirements provided for by the grant for "Capital goods controlled by computerized systems or managed by sensors and electric drives".
Aligners, diagnostic tire changers, diagnostic balancers
Furthermore, AICA requested confirmation that the following machines fall under the category “Coordinate-measuring systems (whether on contact or contactless, hybrid systems, multi-sensor or based on three-dimensional computed tomography) and related equipment for the verification of micro and macro geometric product requirements for any level of dimensional scale (from large scale to micro-metric or nano-metric scale) in order to guarantee and track the documented quality of the product and production process and connected to the factory IT system". The machines considered are the following:
• Robotic wheel alignment systems
• Diagnostic tire changers
• Diagnostic balancers
Additionally the Ministry of Economic Development specified that the robotic aligners, diagnostic tire changer and diagnostic balancer can be included in the aforementioned category, as they can be considered a hybrid system that measure specific geometric requirements. However, they must still be supported by a connected IT system able to document the process.
Concept of integration with the supply chain
"Integration with the supply chain" is a relevant feature if one is to benefit from the hyper-depreciation scheme, therefore AICA asked whether this might include automatic communications (e.g. with an "app") sent from a spray booth in a body shop to the end customer to warn him that the car is ready, or a communication sent from the booth to the paint suppliers warning them that the paint is running out. The Ministry replied that the term 'supply chain' includes both upstream suppliers and downstream customers. This implies that both the above examples can benefit from the tax relief scheme. However, it is necessary to consider a few aspects pertaining to automatic communication (e.g. with an "app"): this in fact implies that there is a process of data exchange (finished product ready for delivery or managing orders for raw materials - paint in this case) through an IT system and not a simple notice or notification.
This means, therefore, that the condition is to be considered acceptable if there is a system that identifies a need to be communicated by means of specific devices (e.g. 'paint running out' or 'work being completed'), to a platform or software management which, in turn, will add other information (e.g. type of paint, delivery date, identification of the supplier, or 'order date confirmation, payment confirmation etc.) and communicate these to the user (customer or supplier) also via an app.
On a practical level, therefore, if the spray booth communicates with its supplier or its customer through a platform or management software aimed at optimizing orders and customers management, this will satisfy the 3rd constraint necessary for the tax relief.
On the other hand, in the event that communication between the body shop and the customer takes place only by means of a simple notice (e.g. a simple phone notification), then the conditions set in the 'Integration with the supply chain' category cannot be considered satisfied.
Concept of integration with other machines in the production cycle
Regarding the concept of "Integration with other machines in the production cycle" AICA asked if it is possible to include a simple M2M (signal exchange) dialogue between the spray booth and upstream preparation areas. The MISE replied that communication between the booth and the upstream preparation area is to be considered as M2M communication if:
• communication takes place even outside the industrial context in which it is found through an internationally recognized protocol (e.g. Ethernet standard (TCP/IP) and that its configuration is based on the existence of a central hub/router whose role is to collect and process the data (received via cable or wirelessly) from different devices.
• there is an exchange of precise information between the spray booth and the upstream preparation phase. Therefore, only the exchange of specific data or requests are considered and not a simple acoustic or visual signal.