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From renovating property to buying a new car: 28 tax ‘bonuses’ you can claim from the Italian government

From renovating property to buying a new car: 28 tax 'bonuses' you can claim from the Italian government
Could you benefit from Italy's government bonuses? Photo by INA FASSBENDER / AFP
Italian bureaucracy is notoriously complicated, but for those who know how to navigate the system, 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.

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

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.

Covid-19 emergency bonus

Various rounds of emergency aid have been made available over the past 18 months for people affected financially by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Small business owners and self-employed people with a VAT number (partita IVA) are eligible for the latest payout if they can demonstrate they took a significant hit to their income in 2020-21 compared to the year before. Applications are open until September 2nd: find all the details 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

  • 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. Find official information here.

  • Facades bonus

If your property needs work on its exterior, the bonus facciate allows you to deduct 90 percent of the cost incurred for renovating the facades of buildings (including street-facing balconies), with no maximum spending limits.

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

  • 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.

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 between July 1st 2020 and June 30th 2022. To qualify for the highest deductions, the renovations have to be significant.

Read The Local’s guide to the superbonus here.

  • 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

READ ALSO: The building bonuses you could claim in Italy in 2021

Photo: Alicia Steels/Unsplash

Other home improvement bonuses

  • Water-saving bonus

The government will pay you up to €1,000 to upgrade your toilet, taps, shower and other bathroom or kitchen fittings to make them more water-efficient.

The bonus risparmio idrico, which you can claim until the end of 2021, was introduced in the latest budget but has yet to be finalised. Details of how to apply will be published here.

  • 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. 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).

If you buy them by the end of 2021 you can claim on expenditure of up to €16,000, with the bonus delivered in the form of ten annual tax credits. Find more information here

  • TV bonus

The government recently extended its TV bonus – previously only for low-income households – to every resident in Italy, to help with the cost of replacing older sets when 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

  • Expectant mothers bonus

The bonus mamma domani is a one-off cash payment of €800 for women either expecting or adopting a child, and can be claimed from the seventh month of pregnancy. You can apply online via INPS, Italy’s social security and welfare system.

  • Baby bonus

The bonus bebè is a means-tested monthly allowance for parents of babies born or adopted in 2021, until they pass their first birthday or adoption anniversary. How much you get depends on your economic circumstances, but it starts at €80 a month and rises to €160 (or more if you have another child). Find more details here

READ ALSO: Italy’s ‘baby bonuses’: What payments are available and how do you claim?

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

Other support available for parents includes the bonus asilo nido, an allowance 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. Apply online here

  • Separated parents bonus

Italy plans to introduce a monthly allowance for separated or divorced parents who are struggling to pay child support as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government has not yet approved the details, but preliminary proposals are for a payment of up to €800 per month for parents who have lost, reduced or suspended work due to the health emergency.

  • Wedding bonus 

Could the government help cover the cost of your big day? To help out Italy’s wedding industry, which has been hit hard by Covid-19 restrictions, there are proposals to offer brides and grooms a tax deduction on spending of up to €25,000 on outfits, catering, flowers, make-up artists, photographers, wedding planners and other services. The details are still being finalised, but the bonus matrimonio could apply from 2021 to 2023.

READ ALSO: How weddings are restarting in Italy with the ‘green pass’

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.

  • Third child bonus

Households with three or more children under 18 and an ISEE of around €8,800 are eligible for a bonus terzo figlio, in the form of a yearly allowance paid in instalments. It’s worth around €1,900 in total.

You can apply for the 2021 bonus until January 31st 2022, after which it will be replaced by a universal child allowance (assegno unico figli) that the government is currently in the process of introducing.

  • Utility bills bonus

Households with an ISEE below €8,265 (or €20,000 for families with four children or more) are entitled to a discount on their water, electricity and gas bills, which from July 2021 is calculated based on tax returns and applied automatically without the need to request it. Find more details here

  • Internet bonus

Until October 1st 2021, households with an ISEE of under €20,000 can claim up to €500 from the government towards boosting their connectivity: €300 to get a new high-speed internet connection and €200 to buy a new computer or tablet. It’s up to the provider to give the discount at check-out. More details 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).

The government has even upped the maximum discount available: as much as €10,000 off the price tag if you trade in a pre-2011 model for one that produces less than 20g of CO2 per km. You’ll get less for a new car that produces more emissions, or if you don’t hand over an old car for scrap. Find full 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 2002 – 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 2022 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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