Ruling 583: Intensive care hospital beds subject to special Covid-19 exemption

Ruling 583/2021

SUBJECT: Article 11, paragraph 1, letter a), Law 27 July 2000, n.212 – Art. 124 d.l. Relaunch – intensive care hospital beds

  • ALFA association reports that the associative purpose is to support the national health system and, in particular, the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • To this end, it has undertaken to purchase and subsequently donate to the health facility no. 6 intensive care beds.
  • These are latest generation beds particularly suitable for the management of environments in a critical area where patients with more serious pathologies are hospitalized.
  • The instant recalls art. 124 of Decree-Law no. 34 of 19 May 2020, which provides, with regard to certain goods, the exemption from value added tax without limitations on the deduction for the related supplies made by 31 December 2020, and asks whether the aforementioned rules apply to the purchases of beds.
  • Article 124 of Decree-Law no. 34 of 19 May 2020 (so-called Relaunch Decree), converted with amendments by Law no. 77 of 17 July 2020, introduced a facilitated VAT discipline in relation to the supply of certain goods, listed therein, considered necessary for the containment and management of the epidemiological emergency from Covid-19.
  • Pursuant to the aforementioned rule, supplies of goods are exempt from VAT without prejudice to the right to deduct by the transferor of the same, if made by 31 December 2020, while if made from 1 January 2021, those supplies are subject to the VAT rate of 5 percent.
  • Specifically, paragraph 1 of the aforementioned article 124 (“VAT rate reduction for the supply of goods necessary for the containment and management of the epidemiological emergency from COVID-19”) adds, in Table A, part II-bis, attached to the decree of the President of the Republic of 26 October 1972, n. 633, containing the goods and services subject to the rate of 5%, the following paragraph ..
  • The Customs and Monopolies Agency, with circular no. 12 / D of 30 May 2020, provided the first clarifications on the discipline in question and, for the purposes of importing the goods, also identified the customs classification codes of the goods subject to the facilitation, to which the Additional Code Q101 was associated in TARIC to be indicated, until 31 December 2020, in box 33 of the DAU.
  • As far as this is of interest here, in the recent circular of 15 October 2020, n. 26 / E, it was specified in this regard that these are, in particular, some of the goods contained in the indicative and non-exhaustive list, annexed to the Commission Decision EU 2020/491 of 3 April 2020 which, starting from 30 January 2020 and until 31 July 2020, authorizes the Member States to grant the import of these goods free of duties and VAT when certain conditions and conditions are met.
  • These assets have obviously been considered, first by the EU Commission and then by the Italian legislator, as necessary to counter the spread of COVID-19 and pandemics in general, the care of people affected by these viruses and the protection of the community, including health personnel.
  • This leads to believe that in order to take advantage of the most favorable regime, similarly to what is provided for imports, the supplies of the goods in question must respect this health purpose which, taking into account the nature of the goods listed in paragraph 1 of Article 124, it is reasonable to consider respected in most cases.
  • Unlike the one annexed to the Commission decision EU 2020/491 mentioned above, in consideration of the formulation of the rule and the exceptional nature of the same, the list referred to in paragraph 1 of Article 124 is exhaustive and not illustrative.
  • With reference to the customs codes provided by the ADM, the aforementioned circular no. 26/E also specified that the goods that can be facilitated under Article 124 constitute a narrower basket than that identified by the TARIC codes referred to in circular no. 12/2020 of the ADM.
  • The latter in fact precedes “ex” to the customs heading identified, as to signify that the item has a wider scope than that of the rule in question.
  • “Ex” essentially means “a part of” and therefore it is necessary to identify within the item in question, which goods are eligible for facilitate under Article 124.
  • That said, as regards the question posed by the applicant, in the same document of practice, in paragraph 2.8 (Definition of ‘equipment for the construction of field hospitals’), it has been clarified that this category includes hospital beds, tents, including plastic ones as goods which, according to the list annexed to Decision (EU) 2020/491 of 3 April 2020, are “field hospital equipment”.
  • The ADM also expressed its opinion in accordance with the customs headings: hospital beds ex 9402 9000, tents 6306 22 00 – 6306 2900, plastic tents 3926 90 97, as described in the following tables. Annex I to European Community Regulation no. 2658 of 23 July 1987 (relating to the tariff and statistical nomenclature and to the Common Customs Tariff) lists the numerical codes established at Community level for the classification of goods, namely the Combined Nomenclature (CN) of goods and the rates of duty of the Common Customs Tariff (TARIC).
  • In that Annex, beds for medical and surgical use are indicated in Section XX – MISCELLANEOUS GOODS AND PRODUCTS, Chapter 94, which includes: furniture; medical-surgical furniture; letterecci objects and the like; lighting fixtures not elsewhere specified or included, advertising signs, illuminated signs, illuminated indicator plates and the like; prefabricated constructions.
  • Given the purpose of the rule in comment, aimed at promoting contrast, management and containment not only of COVID-19, but of pandemics and diseases caused by other viruses, and in the light of the clarifications of an interpretative nature and operational address regarding the application of Article 124 of the Relaunch Decree, illustrated in circular no. 26 / E of 2020, it is considered that intensive care hospital beds will be able to fall within the facilitated regime in comment provided that they are classifiable in the customs codes referred to in the aforementioned circular






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