Some States have turned to fiscal policy tools to help citizens create more efficient portfolios, setting aside part of the savings for financial instruments consistent with the satisfaction of medium/long term needs. Fiscal incentives for portfolios containing at least a certain amount of riskier financial activities and/or invested for a minimum predetermined time period have therefore been developed.
Instruments of this kind have been effectively launched in the US and in some European States such as France and Great Britain. Investments for more than 5 years in the French Plans d’Epargne en Actions, for example, allow for a relevant fall in the tax rate on capital gains. The British Individual Savings Accounts make it possible, as of now, to deposit about 10 thousand pounds annually in complete capital gain exemption, although subject to a maximum level of liquidity investments. The famous American 401 k, at last, provide incomes deriving from savings conferred to specific plans with a favorable taxation. Moreover, this taxation is delayed to the time of money withdrawing, which cannot occur before 59 and a half years.
Thanks to a recent law measure, this incentives’ form could soon be available also in Italy. The text of DL August 13th 2011 n.138, containing additional urgent measures for financial stabilization and development, mentions in fact the so called Long Term Saving Plans (Piani di Risparmio a lungo termine in Italian). Investors could benefit from a tax advantage through this type of instrument: capital gains from investments through PIRs would be subject to a lower tax rate equal to 12,5% (standard one is 20%). The legislator has not provided further details. Assogestioni’s (3) Chairman has made suggestions that better define Long Term Saving Plans’ characteristics, referring to the investment’s minimum duration (equal to at least 5 years) and to the portfolio composition (the fiscal incentive should concern only income deriving from ”financial assets for which the legislator has intended to favor subscription”) (4). If Long Term Saving Plans will actually be introduced, Italian investors will dispose of a powerful vehicle to begin thinking of the advantages of investments conceived to last in time, against a fiscal premium that should favor the choice. The expansion of this kind of instrument would bring more stability to asset gathering’s dynamics, with advantages for the financial system and, as a consequence, for the economic one more in general. The specific advantages deriving from the introduction in Italy of the Long Term Saving Plans will be detailed in another article.
(3) Assogestioni is the Association of Asset Management Companies
(4) Senate audition of Domenico Siniscalco, Chairman of Assogestioni. Ocotber 13th 2011.