Much interest has been attracted by the launch of the “Superbonus” and other significant measures linked to tax deductions for increasing the energy efficiency of buildings, in line with the extraordinary underlying macroeconomic targets (GDP, employment, the environment and energy savings).
In this new contribution, we would like to stake stock at the end of this “first phase” – studying the newly issued rules –, which has lasted 5 months, following which we can finally expect to see large quantities of these “Super incentive” interventions.
Super eco-bonus: the state of the art
As of October 20, 2020 we can ideally consider the first phase of the “Superbonus”, launched on May 19 last through the issue of the D.L. “Rilancio” (“Relaunch” Decree-Law) and its articles 119 and 121, which have revolutionized the framework of deductions for increasing building efficiency.
October 20 also saw the entry into force of the D.M. “Asseverazioni” (“Certification” Ministerial Decree), the last of the regulations that, in various ways, help to define the scope of the new laws.
In addition to the aforementioned D.M., the framework of new rules consists of D.M. “Requisiti tecnici” (“Technical requirements”) – which entered into force on October 5, 2020 –, the Provisions of the Head of the Italian Inland Revenue (IIR) dated August 8, 2020 and August 12, 2020, articles 119 and 121 of the D.L. “Rilancio” and a series of other legal provisions which, although relating to condominium law and building-urban planning law, also effect efficiency, and were issued within the procedure for issuing and converting other significant “Summer” Decree-Laws, specifically the D.L. “Semplificazioni” (“Simplifications”) and the D.L. “Agosto” (“August”), the latter only recently converted into law.
In terms of interpretation, the Agency Guide, the first Agency Circular Letter (no. 24/E of August 8, 2020), some resolutions and, on a weekly basis, replies to queries and FAQs issued by the IIR and Enea were published.
Without forgetting the key clarifications provided in late September by the Government, through the Under-secretary for Finance, in a series of “Question Times” in the Chamber of Deputies. This has been supported with articles and guides commenting the various general and specialist press, as well as informative seminars.
Shortly, another Decree of the Minister of Development is expected to be published in the Official Journal, in some way related to what stated above because it aims to define the rules and the tariff of the clean energy production incentives for collective self-consumption and renewable energy communities, to foster the ecological and energy transition of our country’s electricity system, bringing environmental, economic and social benefits to the people.
The Provision will render operational a measure introduced in December 2019 by D.L. “Milleproroghe” (the “Thousand extensions” Decree-Law), which allows the possibility to establish collective self-consumption, by families and other people in the same building or condominium, and energy communities of natural persons, SMEs, local authorities, located within a broader perimeter than that of condominiums.
The new challenges
In fact, the baggage of knowledge required of consultants, businesses and private individuals is truly huge, varied and complex, and must be handled with great care due to the difficulties in interpreting and practically applying these measures, with consequent risks and responsibilities, faced with very high stakes when we consider that the cost of these recent measures (and we refer only to the Superbonus), for 2021 alone, is €1.3 billion, in addition to around €6 billion for 2022 and 2023, and so on for subsequent years (see art. 16 quater, last para., of the converted D.L. “Rilancio”).
Certainly, the new deductions have many new – different and more complex – characteristics compared to the previous ones which are still in force, and demand a highly integrated approach right from the start, much more so than with the “old” bonuses of the past, between technical and fiscal professionals, then without forgetting the fundamental role of the banks (and, subordinately, other financial intermediaries) due to the now generalized possibility of transferring tax credits deriving from almost all deductions in force (Superbonus, eco-bonus, seismic bonus, facades bonus, building renovations and photovoltaic systems, electric vehicle charging stations).
Therefore, (even higher) professional skills and multidisciplinary integration (among technical, fiscal, financial and legal skills) are the “buzzwords” characterizing this field today.
A significant effort must be made particularly by accountants and other administrative and fiscal figures (e.g. labor consultants) to be able to sufficiently manage this vast but fundamental baggage of underlying technical notions, thus being able to approach technical professionals in order to be able to work together to correctly apply the new rules. Likewise, and for the same reasons, technicians must make efforts to acquire fiscal notions.
The scope of application of the 110% “Superbonus”
Currently, although it has not yet been fully clarified – there are indeed some gray areas and quite a few reserves over some restrictions announced by the IIR and the Ministry of Development – the scope of the “Superbonus” refers essentially
- to actual condominiums,
- to single-family homes,
- to “intermediate” situations represented by “terraced housing”
and other types of residential units characterized by the fact of being part of multi-family buildings yet, at the same time, with independent entrances and independent utility systems.
Main home or second home?
No distinction is made between “main” or “second” home: both are eligible for the Superbonus, but up to a maximum of two housing units per person, even though this limitation can easily be overcome in a completely legitimate manner.
Super eco-bonus and seismic bonus
The 110% bonus applies to all these buildings, both in the “Super - eco-bonus” and “Super - sismabonus” forms, with the possible combination of “major” works (cladding and/or heating system or seismic prevention) and “minor” works (doors and windows, insulation, solar captors and shading, remote controls, photovoltaic panels and storage batteries, electric vehicle charging stations and more besides).
Cases excluded from the provision
Almost completely excluded from the scope are non-residential buildings, residential buildings owned by real estate companies or by parties other than natural persons and that slice of “whole” buildings that are not strictly condominiums as they are owned by a single (natural or legal) person.
Almost all the aspects of the Superbonus for “third sector” parties still have to be clarified.
Scope of application of other deductions
While, as explained, significant types of buildings are excluded from the (110%) Superbonus, the “other deductions” still in force can still play an important “supplementary” role, in any case offering quite high cost recovery percentages (from 50 to 90 percent) and the possibility (just like the Superbonus) for the supplier to offer a discount in the invoice and/or the debt to be transferred to a bank or other broker or other parties (both by the supplier and the taxpayer), and subsequent assignment, as an alternative to the direct entry of the deduction in the taxpayer's tax returns, although in this case with longer recovery times (generally 10 rather than five years), even though with fewer requirements to be met compared to the Superbonus.
However, rationality must have the upper hand, without rejecting all potential interventions that cannot take advantage of the Superbonus, as we have seen in this first phase quite frequently, with an unusual yet foreseeable effect of cannibalization by the Superbonus of the other deductions, as these too are able to generate high real estate value, in terms of lower running costs and greater marketability of the building, obviously without neglecting the environmental and comfort benefits.
In this varied and complex context (many types of deductions, each with their own different types of interventions, buildings, rules, requirements, expenditure ceilings, eligible parties), the technical and tax professionals are also required to possess skills of analysis and invention, in order to “compose” the best possible framework, “combining” individual deductions and individual interventions in the best way aiming to optimize the returns for the “client – taxpayer”.
With this in mind, the Government must however promptly extend – at least at the current percentages – the “old” deductions, almost all of which expire on 31 December 2020 (building renovations, eco-bonus, facades bonus, as well as the furniture bonus linked to building renovations).