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Salvasport tax, a decision on the merits is necessary for the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio

On 29.3.2023, the Administrative Court of Lazio in the council chambers decided not to proceed with the request for suspension, but to refer directly to the merits in the public hearing of June 28 next, to definitively decide the matter of the so-called "Savesport tax". As is known, this tax was introduced in the midst of the Covid emergency with the 2020 Relaunch Decree and was used to feed a fund to support sport in order to overcome the tough phase of the lockdowns. The withdrawal affected betting operators, called to pay 0.5% of the collection for two years, 2020 and 2021. The last installments had been paid in 2021. At the beginning of 2022, the Customs and Monopolies Agency had drawn up the final calculations, establishing how much each operator should pay. On 05.01.2023 the same Administration with resolution had asked the betting operators to pay more money, as the tax had to be paid for a longer period than what was said at the beginning. It would have been the State General Accounting Department that asked ADM to collect the tax for the whole year. In fact, the Relaunch Decree provides that operators pay a levy equal to 0.5% of the collection of bets, and that these sums are paid "at the entrance of the state budget" and remain acquired "to the treasury". The latter must then use the resources to feed the Salva Sport fund. And here finally we are talking about the ceiling of 40 million in 2020, and 50 million in 2021. Basically, until now it was believed that that ceiling related to the tax itself, and that if the amounts had been reached in advance, the concessionaires would have stopped to pay for the remaining period. Now, however, according to the interpretation of the Accounting Office, the ceiling refers only to transfers to the fund, and does not concern the tax. Which means that bookmakers must continue paying 0.5% even if the fund is full, and that the surplus remains with the exchequer. Hence the decision taken by A.D.M. with the aforementioned Resolution dated 5 January last. Now the Lazio Regional Administrative Court on June 28 will finally have to decide on the merits of the appeals presented by land-based and online concessionaires for the annulment of the aforementioned Determination of the Customs and Monopolies Agency and subsequent notes, with which the ADM itself recalculated the amount relating to the so-called "Salvasport" levy.