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Road Transport caught between EU reforms and economic measures

Road Transport



Great attention to any news on the European market and satisfaction for the Government’s recent economic measures 

Paolo Castiglia

Despite the constant state of anxiety pervading the transport sector, the summer should pass without protest demonstrations, although expectations on new European law initiatives, aimed at transforming road freight management in the coming months, are running high, driven by the positive effects forecasted for the industry from the pre-summer government’s economic measures.

All this emerged during a recent meeting between the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport and all freight forwarding associations, including a special focus on the recent changes that the European Commission is making to the sector following the issue of the new "EU Road Transport Package".

The Package in question is part of more general one called "Europe on the Move", which aims for a complete review of the current legislations in all the sectors involved in moving both goods and passengers, with the goal of simplifying administrative burdens, contrasting illicit employment and standardizing European regulations for all Member States.

It all stems from a simple consideration, the transport sector and mobility in general, has a great influence on the daily lives of European citizens, and directly employs more than 11 million people in the EU. The sector as a whole is undergoing a series of deep technological, economic and social transformation all in need of suitable Laws including support measures aimed at favouring investment in infrastructures and in research so as to facilitate the development of new and innovative vehicles, superior equipment for the transport sector and greater solutions for a “greener”, interconnected and automated mobility.

EU proposals provide for a first set of eight laws focused on road transport, a particularly important sector that employs directly 5 million Europeans, but also responsible of producing about a fifth of the total greenhouse gas emissions in the EU. This first set of 8 proposals, which will be followed by a few more over the next 12 months, will stimulate innovation, as well as contribute to greater competitiveness, reducing CO2 emissions and improving the quality of the air, public health and transport safety.

However, Government and trade associations, also discussed about national issues of primary importance to the sector: a chapter dedicated to the transport sector is, in fact, expected in the next Government economic measure, which covers areas such as tax, labour and banks. The budget measure, promoted by the government to respond to European requests for a corrective fiscal package, was met with appreciation by the whole haulage sector.

The measure contains positive news for road hauliers, measures to contrast unfair competition and promote aggressive policies against unregulated activities both for cabotage and international transport, following the example of France or Germany.

According to the Draft Law, in fact, those who carry out these operations must provide appropriate documentation on wages and travel expense reimbursements and are required to keep on board a copy of the communication notified to the Ministry of Labour, at all times. Penalties ranging from 1,000 to 10,000 euro for irregularities on documentation are expected.

The measures also include resources for International road hauliers, toll reductions and funds in favour of intermodal transport: 34 million for Mare-bonus and 20 million for Ferro-bonus for 2018.

Furthermore, the most recent measures includes other important news: whoever parks his car in a loading and unloading zone will be sanctioned and will receive a fine automatically at home. In these areas, approved electronic control devices could be installed, which, in the event of a violation, will send the fine directly to the transgressor’s home.

News are also expected as far as fuel is concerned and safeguard clauses on VAT and excise duties for the next three-year 2018-2020. The 10% discounted rate is expected to be increased to 11.5% in 2018 rather than 13%, while the 22% rate will go up to 25% next year, to 25.4% in 2019 and then fall to 24.9% in 2020 and return to 25% in 2021. Excise duties on petrol increases will remain as they are at least until 2019.

More relief came from the Inland Revenue Agency, which has finally published a statement confirming flat-rate deductions for un-documented expenses.

The communication was issued on July 4 2017, i.e. four days after the June 30 expiry date for tax declarations, "but in our country – as pointed out by sector associations – we know, bureaucracy is not obliged to meet the deadlines imposed on citizens, calling for sanctions in case of delay".

So, "the Agency, taking its time,  has finally confirmed for 2017, and only on the basis of available resources", support measures for the transport sector in terms of flat-rate deductions for un-documented expenses by third-party haulage companies and the National Health Service tax being offset by civil liability car insurance premiums.

The flat-rate deductions for un-documented expenses are for transport carried out personally by the entrepreneur beyond Municipal boundaries where the company is located during the 2016 tax period. The Agency explains that the amount to be deducted is € 51 Day, while for transport within the municipal boundaries the deduction is 35% of the same amount (i.e. 17.85 euro).

The public statement points out that "the flat-tax deduction should be reported in the relevant fields on the income tax form as indicated in the instructions on how to fill in the form: the codes to be used refer to the deduction for transport within the Municipality and to the deduction for transport beyond those boundaries, respectively".

As far as receiving back the National Health Service contribution paid out with the vehicle insurance premiums in 2016, the statement explains that third party and own-account companies can hope to receive back up to 300 euro per vehicle in compensation.



National Register of Road Haulage: Toll reduction procedures soon to kick-off

The Administrative Machine for the Repayment of Highway Tolls started from the National Register. The companies who are entitled to it must go through the procedure online, using the Tolls app on the National Register’s website. This procedure is divided into two phases. The first concerns the booking of the application: applicants must enter their identification data and their customer codes issued by the motorway companies.

Eligible for repayment are businesses - including cooperatives, consortia and joint venture companies – found in the National Registers of Road Haulage and based in a country of the European Union with a Community third party freight transport licence, companies or joint venture companies based in Italy with own account licenses and companies or joint venture companies based in the European Union that likewise carry on business with own account licence.

The second step begins with entering the application data, signing and submitting the application. Only those companies that have completed the first phase will be able to participate. The calculation of toll deductions is always made in terms of turnover starting from € 200,000 as well as in different percentages based on the emission ratings since Euro 2 vehicles are not entitled to the benefit. Businesses who have paid at least 10% of the tolls at night - that is, entering the motorway between 10:00 p.m. and 02:00 a.m. and exiting before 06:00 a.m. - are entitled to a further 10% reduction.



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