Italy: Debiti tributari e responsabilita' solidale del cessionario d'azienda

Last Updated: 26 September 2019
Article by Giovanni Leoni and Camillo Melotti Caccia

Con le recenti risposte alle istanze di Interpello n. 276 e n. 277, l'Agenzia delle Entrate ("Agenzia") ha commentato la disciplina dell'articolo 14 del d.lgs. 472/1997 in materia di responsabilità solidale del cessionario (o conferitario) d'azienda in relazione ai debiti tributari del cedente (o conferente)1.
In particolare, l'Agenzia ha chiarito che la responsabilità del cessionario non è limitata ai debiti inerenti al ramo d'azienda trasferito, anche ove sia possibile 'targarli' come tali, bensì concerne indistintamente i debiti tributari del cedente.
Le uniche limitazioni alla responsabilità del cessionario sono rappresentate dal valore dell'azienda trasferita e, in caso di richiesta del certificato ai sensi dei commi 2 e 3 dell'articolo 14, dalle risultanze del medesimo1.

1. LE RISPOSTE N. 276 E 277 DEL 2019

Nel caso oggetto di esame da parte della Agenzia, una società operante su due linee di business ("servizi" e "prodotti") riferiva di avere accumulato una posizione debitoria nei confronti dell'Erario per IVA, ritenute fiscali, IRES e IRAP, principalmente dovuta al fallimento di alcuni importanti clienti della linea "servizi". La società aveva dunque valutato la possibilità di separare le due attività, conferendo il ramo d'azienda "prodotti" in una newco.

In sede di interpello, la società istante sosteneva che la newco fosse responsabile per la sola esposizione tributaria del ramo d'azienda conferito, come "certificata" nella perizia redatta ex art. 2343 c.c., e non per il valore complessivo dei debiti tributari della società conferente.

L'Agenzia ricordava al riguardo che l'art. 14 del D.Lgs. 472/97 è posto a "salvaguardia degli interessi erariali a fronte di operazioni che, smembrando il tessuto aziendale, implicano anche un potenziale depotenziamento del soggetto debitore (il soggetto conferente), il quale ha maturato queste posizioni debitorie in una fase in cui l'impresa era unica e in quanto tale rispondeva di tutte le obbligazioni tributarie. In altre parole, le misure antielusive a tutela dei crediti tributari contenute nell'art. 14 sono volte ad evitare che, attraverso il trasferimento dell'azienda, sia dispersa la garanzia patrimoniale del contribuente in pregiudizio dell'interesse pubblico".

Concludeva l'Agenzia che la newco era chiamata a rispondere dei debiti tributari della conferente e non dei soli debiti tributari imputabili al ramo d'azienda "prodotti" conferito.

L'Agenzia precisava, altresì, che il valore del ramo d'azienda da assumere quale limite alla responsabilità solidale del cessionario era quello accertato dalla Agenzia ovvero, in mancanza di accertamento, quello dichiarato dalle parti.

Sebbene nulla venga detto al riguardo, il principio affermato dalla Agenzia risulterà applicabile anche in presenza di certificato fiscale: la responsabilità del cessionario (o conferitario) d'azienda riguarderà i debiti tributari del cedente (conferente), evidenziati nel certificato, sempre nei limiti del valore del ramo d'azienda ceduto e previa escussione del cedente.

* * *

1 Ai sensi dell'articolo 14, commi da 1 a 5, del d.lgs. 472/1997: "Il cessionario è responsabile in solido, fatto salvo il beneficio della preventiva escussione del cedente ed entro i limiti del valore dell'azienda o del ramo d'azienda, per il pagamento dell'imposta e delle sanzioni riferibili alle violazioni commesse nell'anno in cui è avvenuta la cessione e nei due precedenti, nonché per quelle già irrogate e contestate nel medesimo periodo anche se riferite a violazioni commesse in epoca anteriore. 2. L'obbligazione del cessionario è limitata al debito risultante, alla data del trasferimento, dagli atti degli uffici dell'amministrazione finanziaria e degli enti preposti all'accertamento dei tributi di loro competenza. 3. Gli uffici e gli enti indicati nel comma 2 sono tenuti a rilasciare, su richiesta dell'interessato, un certificato sull'esistenza di contestazioni in corso e di quelle già definite per le quali i debiti non sono stati soddisfatti. Il certificato, se negativo, ha pieno effetto liberatorio del cessionario, del pari liberato ove il certificato non sia rilasciato entro quaranta giorni dalla richiesta. 4. La responsabilità' del cessionario non è soggetta alle limitazioni previste nel presente articolo qualora la cessione sia stata attuata in frode dei crediti tributari, ancorchè essa sia avvenuta con trasferimento frazionato di singoli beni. 5. La frode si presume, salvo prova contraria, quando il trasferimento sia effettuato entro sei mesi dalla constatazione di una violazione penalmente rilevante."

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