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Practical Handbook for Companies 2021

Depreciation of intangible fixed assets

Act 22/2015, of 20 July, on Accounts Auditing, in its first final provision, amended article 39.4 of the Commercial Code, establishing that for financial statements corresponding to financial years beginning on or after 1 January 2016, all intangible fixed assets are considered to be assets with a defined useful life, becoming amortisable over that useful life.However, where the useful life of such intangible assets cannot be reliably determined, they shall be depreciated over a period of 10 years, unless a different period is established by law or regulation.

Article 39.4 of the Commercial Code allows goodwill to be amortised for accounting purposes with effect from 1 January 2016, provided that it is acquired for consideration.In the absence of evidence to the contrary, the useful life of goodwill shall be presumed to be ten years.

As a consequence of the amendments made in the accounting field, the aforementioned Law 22/2015 amended article 12.2 of the LIS establishing that for tax periods beginning on or after 1 January 2016, intangible assets will be amortised on the basis of their useful life, and when this cannot be reliably estimated, the amortisation will be deductible up to a maximum annual limit of one twentieth of its amount.

With regard to goodwill, article 12.2 of the LIS establishes the deductibility of the amortisation of goodwill with an annual limit of one twentieth of its amount.

As a result of these amendments, the amortisation expense of these intangible assets will be required to be booked for tax deductibility.

Therefore, for tax periods starting on or after 1 January 2016, this new regime determines that intangible assets will be depreciated for accounting and tax purposes on the basis of their useful life.Where the useful life of these items cannot be reliably determined, they are depreciated by 10 per cent per annum according to accounting regulations and by maximum 5 per cent per annum according to tax regulations.

The goodwill is amortised for accounting purposes at 10 per cent per annum and for tax purposes at a maximum of 5 per cent per annum .

Important:

The thirty-fifth transitional provision of the LIS establishes a transitional regime whereby the provisions of article 12.2 of this regulation will not be applicable to intangible assets, including goodwill, acquired in tax periods commencing prior to 1 January 2015, from entities that form part with the acquirer of the same group of companies according to the criteria established in article 42 of the Commercial Code, regardless of residence and the obligation to prepare consolidated annual accounts.

Filling in form 200

This difference in criteria from a tax and accounting point of view will generate the need to make adjustments to the taxable base of the Corporation Tax to be entered in the boxes [01005] and [01006] "Amortisation of intangible fixed assets and goodwill (art. 12.2 LIS) and amortisation of the DT 13ª.1 LIS" on page 12 of form 200.These adjustments shall be recorded in the first years of the useful life of the item in the box [01005] of increases and subsequently, to the extent that these positive adjustments reverse, in the box [01006] of decreases.

Transitional regime (13th.1 TD of the LIS)

A transitional regime is established for the application of the depreciation table provided for in the LIS to assets acquired prior to its entry into force, according to which:

  • Assets for which, in tax periods commencing prior to 1 January 2015, a depreciation coefficient other than than that which would apply if the depreciation table provided for in Article 12.1 of the LIS were applied, will be depreciated during the tax periods remaining until their new useful life is completed, in accordance with the said table, on the net tax value of the asset existing at the beginning of the first tax period commencing on or after 1 January 2015.

  • Taxpayers who were applying a different depreciation method to that resulting from applying the straight-line depreciation coefficients in tax periods commencing prior to 1 January 2015 and, in application of the depreciation table provided for in the LIS, have a different depreciation period, may opt to apply the straight-line depreciation method in the period remaining until the end of their new useful life, on the net tax value existing at the beginning of the first tax period commencing on or after 1 January 2015.

  • The new assets acquired between 1 January 2003 and 31 December 2004 will apply the maximum straight-line depreciation rates provided for in the LIS, multiplied by 1.1.

In application of the different criteria established by the thirteenth transitional provision of the LIS, the taxpayer must make adjustments to the taxable base for corporation tax, the corrections to which will be shown in the box [01005] of increases and in the box [01006] of decreases.