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From weddings to new cars: 24 Italian tax ‘bonuses’ you could claim

Incentives are on offer for everything from making your property more eco-friendly to buying a new TV. Here’s a guide to some of Italy's most advantageous tax breaks, subsidies and discounts.

From weddings to new cars: 24 Italian tax 'bonuses' you could claim
The bonuses in Italy you could be eligible for. Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

Italy often deploys financial incentives to nudge its residents into useful projects, whether it’s installing energy-efficient appliances or having children.

There are usually strings attached, and applying can be a fiddly and time-consuming process. You may well need to ask a professional to shepherd you through the various steps, and even once you’ve claimed, don’t bank on receiving anything back straight away. 

But with those provisos in mind, Italy’s government bonuses could make a significant difference to your budget – in some cases, to the tune of tens of thousands of euros.

Here’s a list of the main perks on offer.

  • €200 cost of living bonus

You could get €200 from the government in June or July, aimed at supporting people against rising inflation and offsetting the soaring cost of living.

Certain categories of workers, as well as pensioners and the unemployed can claim the one-off bonus. Italy’s social security and pensions agency (INPS or ‘Istituto nazionale della previdenza sociale’), has released its initial guidelines on claiming the bonus.

Find details on who can claim here.

Bonuses for buying, building and renovating property

  • First home bonus

People buying their first residential property in Italy are eligible for reductions on registration, mortgage and land registry tax, as well as a lower rate of VAT if the purchase is subject to sales tax. They can also claim credit against personal income tax on estate agent fees and mortgage interest. Find official information here.

First-time homebuyers aged 35 or under are entitled to further savings, provided their household income does not top €40,000 a year. In this case, certain taxes are wiped out altogether, notary fees are halved, and the state will even cover your deposit and guarantee loans of up €250,000. Read The Local’s guide here

READ ALSO: Revealed: The most expensive places in Italy to buy a house in 2022

  • Renovation bonus

The bonus ristrutturazioni allows you to apply for a 50 percent tax reduction on renovating your property, on expenses up to €96,000. Work might include repairing structural damage, having the wiring replaced, adding a garage, making the property more wheelchair-accessible, installing security systems, removing asbestos or adding safety features such as gas detectors.

You’ll receive the bonus in the form of an annual offset on income tax over ten years, or there are also credit transfer (la cessione del credito) and discount on the invoice (sconto in fattura) financing options, leaving other parties to recover the credit on your behalf. Find official information here.

  • Facades bonus

If your property needs work on its exterior, the bonus facciate in 2022 allows you to deduct 60 percent of the cost incurred for renovating the facades of buildings (including street-facing balconies), with no maximum spending limits.

For any work carried out in 2020 and 2021 and not claimed for, the previous higher deduction of 90 percent stands.

The main condition is that your property should be located in a town centre or other populated area, not in the middle of nowhere where no one else will see the improvements. Find the full terms here

Photo: Tiziana Fabi/AFP
  • Ecobonus

If you carry out work to make your home more energy efficient and eco-friendly, for example by replacing your boiler with a low-carbon alternative, improving insulation, installing solar panels, fitting sun-resistant mosquito screens or even adding charging points for electric cars, you can claim between 50 and 85 percent of the expenses back.

The amount depends on the type of work you have done, and it’s delivered either in the form of tax credits or via creditors or contractors who’ll recover the credit on your behalf – which means that even people who aren’t tax residents in Italy can benefit. Find out more here

READ ALSO: Budget 2022: Which of Italy’s building bonuses have been extended?

  • Earthquake bonus

The so-called sisma bonus is for properties in areas of Italy classed at medium to high seismic risk (categories 1, 2 or 3). You can claim back 50 percent of the cost of making your property earthquake-safer, rising to as much as 80 percent if you can demonstrate that the final result reduced seismic risk by one or two classes and 85 percent if it involves work on shared parts of apartment buildings.

READ ALSO: Six things you need to know about claiming Italy’s ‘Sismabonus’

The percentage of the deduction and the rules for eligibility are different depending on the year in which works are done. Higher deductions are granted when the interventions result in a reduction of seismic risk.

The scheme also covers buildings that are demolished altogether and rebuilt. Find more details here

  • Superbonus

A ‘super’ version of both the eco and earthquake bonuses is also available, which in certain cases could allow you to benefit from a tax deduction of up to 110 percent.

The basic principles are the same, but the government has upped the allowance on work carried out on various categories of property. To qualify for the highest deductions, the renovations have to be significant.

Read The Local’s guide to the superbonus here.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s building ‘superbonus’ has changed in 2022

  • Garden bonus

If you’re considering adding or renovating green space, you can apply for a 36 percent tax deduction on landscaping, installing irrigation systems, building a well, creating a roof garden or other significant work on your property’s outdoor areas.

The bonus verde is worth a maximum of €1,800 per property and can be claimed on more than one home in your name. Routine maintenance and upkeep of your garden does not qualify. Find all the conditions here

Photo: Alicia Steels/Unsplash

Other home improvement bonuses

  • Drinking water bonus

With the bonus acqua potabile, you’ll get back 50 percent of the cost of installing filtering, cooling or mineralisation systems that improve the quality of your tap water and make you less likely to buy bottled.

You can claim on expenses of up to €1,000 for individuals or €5,000 for businesses. The Budget Law 2022 has extended this until 2023. Find more details here.

  • Furniture and appliances bonus

The bonus mobili lets you claim a 50 percent tax deduction on the cost of furnishing a property that’s under renovation – so not just if you fancy getting a new wardrobe. 

It also applies to new appliances such as fridges, ovens, washing machines and electric heaters, which must be rated at least A+ for energy efficiency (or A for ovens).

The allowance is available for purchases made by December 31st, 2024 and can only be claimed by those who carry out a building renovation that began on or after January 1st of the year preceding the year you bought the goods.

The deduction is calculated on a total amount not exceeding €10,000 for 2022 and €5,000 for 2023 and 2024 – a reduction from last year’s €16,000.

You can claim the bonus delivered in the form of ten annual tax credits. Find more information here

  • TV bonus

The government extended its TV bonus – previously only for low-income households – to every resident in Italy, to help with the cost of replacing older sets as Italy switches its signal to DVB-T2 in June 2022 and only the latest-generation equipment will work. 

In exchange for trading in a TV purchased before December 2018, you can get up to €100 off the price of a new TV or decoder, in the form of a discount applied directly at the cash register. Find more information here.

Bonuses for families

  • Universal child credit

From 2022, families can apply for Italy’s single universal child benefit (L’assegno unico e universale).

READ ALSO: How families can claim Italy’s new universal single allowance

The new single allowance replaces a raft of other so-called ‘baby bonuses‘ and benefits for parents, such as the ‘separated parents bonus’, thereby unifying a series of measures to support families.

Due to the introduction of this bonus, previous one-off lump sum payments for expectant parents or those who have just had a baby have been scrapped.

Note that some of the previous baby bonus websites are still live, but will not allow you to claim after completing the application.

Find official information on the single child allowance here.

Giving birth in Spain
Photo: Pexels / Pixabay
  • Nursery bonus

Other support still available for parents since the single allowance’s introduction includes the bonus asilo nido, financial help towards the cost of kindergarten for children under three years old. The bonus is means-tested and ranges from €1,500 to €3,000 per year depending on your income.

The same amount is available for forms of support at home to cover children who cannot attend daycare due to a chronic illness.

Apply online here

  • Wedding bonus 

Could the government help cover the cost of your big day? While plans put forward last year to offer brides and grooms a tax reduction on wedding expenses were rejected, the government has instead provided a pot of €60 million directly to Italy’s wedding industry, which has been hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions.

However, some regions are offering their own newlywed bonus, such as Lazio, which is providing up to a maximum of €2,000 to couples planning their special day. The funds can cover expenses such as wedding outfits, catering, flowers, photographers, wedding rings and the honeymoon. Check your specific region’s website – details of the Lazio Bonus Sposi can be found here.

Photo: Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Health bonuses

  • Disability bonuses

Italy offers a range of financial support for people with disabilities and their families, from tax relief on medical expenses to discounts on wheelchair-friendly vehicles and help with the cost of making your home more accessible.

Find out more about the assistance available here

  • Glasses bonus

You may be aware that medical expenses not covered by the public health system are tax deductible by 19 percent, but not everyone realises that sight tests, glasses, contact lenses and even lens solution are included.

The tax relief only kicks in once you spend more than €129.11, and you’ll need to detail your expenses on a 730 tax returnFind more information here

  • Pet bonus

Similarly, pet owners can deduct 19 percent of their vet bills from their 730 tax return if they spend between €129.11 and €550 over the year. That makes the maximum tax relief available worth around €80. Find out how to claim here

Bonuses for low-income households

Italy reserves some benefits for low-income households, defined as those with an ISEE (Indicatore della Situazione Economica Equivalente, or Equivalent Financial Position Indicator – a way of measuring total income and assets divided by members of the household) below a certain threshold.

  • Utility bills bonus

Households with an ISEE below €12,000 (or €20,000 for families with four or more members) are entitled to a discount on their water, electricity and gas bills, under the the ‘Social bonus for electricity and gas.

It’s calculated based on tax returns and applied automatically without the need to request it. Find more details here

  • Internet bonus

This bonus provides a refund from €300 – and up to €2,500 for businesses – for the purchase of a computer or the installation of an internet connection. The internet bonus 2022 (or bonus digitalizzazione) can be claimed by the provider, who can give the discount at check-out. Find more information here.

Transport bonuses

  • Low-emission car bonus

Italy first introduced a bonus to tempt drivers to trade in their old cars for lower-emission models back in 2019, and you can continue to benefit from the scheme until the end of 2021 (or as long as funds last).

Between 2022 and 2024, the Italian government has allocated €650 million per year for the scheme, with a maximum of €5,000 allocated for every new car bought. You can apply for the new bonus to purchase older models of petrol and diesel cars within a certain limit of CO2 emissions, as well as low-emission electric or hybrid vehicles and motorbikes.

Find more details here.

READ ALSO: ‘How we used a government bonus to buy an electric car in Italy’

Photo: Gabriel Bouys/AFP
  • Public transport bonus

Season passes for local, regional or interregional public transport in Italy are tax-deductible to the tune of 19 percent, up to a maximum spend of €250. Find details here.

Cultural bonuses

  • Culture bonus

In a drive to get teenagers into cultural activities, anyone who turns 18 this year – born in 2003 – can claim €500 from the government to spend on books, music, cinema or theatre tickets, entry to museums or heritage sites, foreign language lessons, newspaper subscriptions and more.

You have until August 31st to register on the government’s 18app website, and until the end of February 2023 to spend the bonus.  

  • Teacher bonus

Teachers can benefit from a similar €500 bonus, to be used on books, magazines, cultural events, masters courses or any other training that serves their professional development. 

READ ALSO: ‘The job can come as a shock’: What it’s really like working as an English teacher in Italy

Only teachers employed in Italian state schools are eligible: claim by applying for the carta del docente (teachers’ card) here.

  • Heritage bonus

Make a donation to restore, maintain or support Italy’s cultural heritage and you’ll be able to deduct 65 percent of the amount from your tax bill over three years.

Projects you can help fund include maintaining the Roman amphitheatre in Verona, supporting the Ravello Festival on the Amalfi Coast or restoring Florence’s public statues and fountains, with thousands of large and small institutions to choose from. Find details (in English) here

READ ALSO: Rome’s Colosseum opens restored underground labyrinth to the public

Photo: Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Italian regions may offer additional bonuses for local residents, so check your region’s website for details.

There are also several bonuses for business owners, investors and self-employed people: find more information on the Revenue Agency’s website.

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BUREAUCRACY

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s new digital invoicing rule for freelancers?

Italy is bringing in new rules from July that mean changes for freelancers on the 'flat tax' rate. Here’s what you need to know about the new ‘fatturazione elettronica’, or digital invoicing system.

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s new digital invoicing rule for freelancers?

Italy has been slowly moving more of its bureaucratic systems online in recent years, and in many cases this has made it quicker and easier for residents to access services and get their considerable amounts of Italian life admin in order.

It was hoped that the new electronic invoicing rule would do the same for freelancers on Italy’s flat-tax regime, by doing away with the existing need to print out invoices and affix tax stamps by hand.

READ ALSO: Beat the queues: 19 bits of Italian bureaucracy you can do online

But a close look at the details of the new rules shows that it probably won’t make life easier for those on the flat tax rate, who have so far been spared the bulk of that infamous Italian red tape – but now need to get to grips with a new online system.

Known as the ‘regime forfettario‘, Italy’s flat-rate tax scheme for individuals and small businesses was introduced in 2015 to encourage more commercial activity by slashing tax rates and simplifying bureaucracy.

New freelancers who choose this tax system generally pay somewhere between just five and 15 percent tax on earnings, regardless of overheads.

READ ALSO: The pros and cons of Italy’s five percent flat tax for freelancers

Little has changed since its inception seven years ago, but freelancers using the scheme now need to be aware of new rules coming into force from July 1st, 2022.

How you invoice – how you send, receive and store receipts, therefore – is due to move from analogue to digital, bringing new requirements and know-how on digital invoicing software.

Here’s what’s changing for freelancers with the so-called ‘fattura elettronica‘.

Who is required to send electronic invoices?

While this was already a requirement for the self-employed on other tax regimes, those on the flat tax rate will now be included from July 1st.

They were previously exempt, but that changed under the PNRR (National recovery and resilience plan or piano nazionale di ripresa e resilienza) – the Italian government’s plan for using EU funding for post-pandemic economic recovery.

Digital invoicing is intended to fight Italy’s major problem with tax evasion, as well as to further automate accounting processes.

For now, not all freelancers under this tax scheme need to move to digital accounting – only those who received an income in excess of €25,000 in the previous year are required to comply with the new rule.

It will then extend to all freelancers using the flat-rate scheme from January 1st, 2024.

From that date, everyone subscribed to the ‘regime forfettario’ will have to switch to electronic invoicing and there are hefty penalties in place for those who don’t.

How will electronic invoices work?

Italy’s tax authority has defined a couple of notable differences between the digital or electronic invoice (fattura elettronica) and a paper invoice (fattura di carta) in its updated guidelines.

Firstly, the digital invoice has to be created using a digital device (a computer, tablet or smartphone), and secondly it has to be sent to the client via an ‘Interchange System’, the so-called Sistema di Interscambio (SdI).

READ ALSO: ‘Smart working’? Here’s what you need to know about going self-employed in Italy

Italy’s flat-rate tax scheme is going digital. Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

This electronic postal system checks whether the invoice contains the required data for tax purposes, as well as checking the verified e-address (or the so-called PEC address) of the recipient.

In doing so, the electronic invoice automatically checks that the VAT number (partita IVA), or the tax code (codice fiscale) depending on who you send the invoice to, really exist.

Once the checks are completed, the system sends the invoice to the client, which will trigger an alert to the freelancer with a delivery receipt, showing the date and time the document was delivered.

How can you send an e-invoice?

There are a few accounting software options on the market if you’re now faced with having to send electronic invoices.

Some charge a fee of around €1-€4 per month or come at a cost per transaction.

Platforms such as ‘Aruba‘ or ‘Fatture in Cloud‘, are competitive and may offer you a free trial before you deciding to buy.

The Italian revenue agency (Agenzie delle Entrate) has also created free-of-charge services to help send and receive e-invoices. These include websites as well as apps for completing the required steps, which are detailed in their guide here.

You can access their Invoices and Receipts (‘Fatture e Corrispettivi‘) portal to benefit from these free services.

You’ll either need a Spid ID (‘Sistema Pubblico dell’Identità Digitale‘), a Carta Nazionale dei Servizi (CNS) or accounting credentials known as Fisconline/Entrate, which are issued by the Agenzie delle Entrate.

You can also delegate this task to an intermediary, such as an accountant (commercialista) who would do this on your behalf, the revenue agency stipulates 

What about the Italian tax stamp?

Until now, freelancers issuing invoices under the ‘regime forfettario‘ have had to attach a €2 stamp, called a ‘marca da bollo’, to every invoice over the value of €77,47.

So what happens when e-receipts go digital and you can’t physically stick a stamp on a document? Well, that goes digital too and the Inland Revenue has issued a 16-page guide on how you need to go about it.

It seems the previously attractive ‘light’ accounting of this regime is about to get bogged down by time-consuming bureaucracy too.

Authorities will systematically check that the fee has been paid each quarter for all the invoices that require it.

As a general rule, you can see if there are any discrepancies by the 15th day of the first month following each quarter on their Invoices and Receipts portal.

You or your intermediary have until the end of that month to fix any accounting errors, but make sure to check with an accountant if you have any difficulties or need specific advice for your personal circumstances.

Once you receive your final stamp duty bill for each quarter, you can pay either via IBAN, which you set up on the portal, or by filling out an electronic F24 form – details of how to do that are included in the guide.

For further information and FAQ’s, see Italy’s Inland Revenue Agency website on the electronic invoice here.

Please note The Local cannot advise on personal cases and seeking expert financial advice is recommended.

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