A green light to the tax incentives for people investing in start ups, a measure passed at the end of 2012 by the Monti administration to support development and the affirmation of innovative business ideas. According to reports by Il Sole 24 Ore, there are already 14,000 start ups waiting to take advantage of the benefits provided by the regulation. Recently, the European Commission, and specifically the Office of the Directorate General for Competition, completed its examination of the documentation and gave the green light to the measure that should become operation at the beginning of 2014, introducing incentives for the so-called “innovative start ups, that for businesses that have been operating for less than four years with five binding characteristics: headquarters in Italy, a turnover inferior to 5 million Euros, no distribution of profits, a prevalent focus on technological innovation, and a constitution that does not derive from the fusion or division of other companies. A final element qualifies a start up as innovative: it must allocate at least 15% of its expenses to R&D or, alternatively, be in possession of a patent, or of a team composition with a high percentage of doctoral degree and researchers.

From the temporal perspective, the fiscal incentives will be applied to the 2014-2015 period, but will also affect investments made in 2013, and in the future the rule should be extended also to 2016. As for the types of operations that qualify, the incentives will apply to both direct investments in start ups as well as indirect investments, made into companies that invest mainly in start ups: as such, the investments that will reap the benefits are capital increase and the purchase of stocks of either start ups, or of companies that invest primarily in start ups. The most substantial benefits are expected to be for business initiatives with a “social vocation” or those that focus on the energy sector.

Specifically, physical persons, who are subject to the IRPEF (Tax on the Income of Physical Persons), will be able to take advantage of a 19% detraction for investments to a maximum of 500,000 Euros for each year that the incentive is in vigor. Juridical persons (companies), who are subject to the IRES (Tax on the Income of Juridical Persons), will be able to detract 20% from investments to a maximum of 1.8 billion Euros for each year. The two quotas increase for investments in social and energy start ups: 25% for physical persons and 27% for companies.

According to Il Sole 24 Ore reports, the starts ups that have already been included on the new business registry between January and November are nearly 1,400: approximately half started their business at the end of 2012, confirming the virtuous impact that the new measure can have. Based on Infocamere data, a large majority of then new businesses have a turnover below one million Euros, and less than four employees. Nearly one hundred of the start ups are Tuscan.