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MONEY

How you can claim a discount on air conditioning units in Italy

Thinking of installing a new cooling system in your Italian home? Here’s a breakdown of the incentives you might be able to benefit from.

Facade of an Italian house.
A number of financial incentives are available to those looking to buy an AC unit for their Italian home. Photo by Tim Alex on Unsplash

With summer 2022 likely to go down as one of the hottest summers in Italian history, it’s safe to assume that many homeowners are looking at buying an air-conditioning system at the moment.

And with energy costs constantly rising, even those who already enjoy the perks of artificially cooled air might be thinking of replacing their old ACs with a brand-new system.

READ ALSO: How to stay out of trouble when renovating your Italian property

Having a cutting-edge, high-efficiency AC unit might make all the difference when it comes to the size of your bollette (bills). Switching from a class B to a class A ++ model can reduce running costs by around 30-40 percent every year, according to newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Regardless of whether you’re installing an AC system for the first time or you’re simply replacing an old unit with a new one, the work is still going to set you back quite a bit. 

The price for the purchase and installation of a multi-split AC generally ranges between 1000 and 2500 euros

But don’t despair (yet). As part of its 2022 Budget Law, the Italian government has made a number of financial incentives (AC bonuses, bonus condizionatori) available to those looking to buy an AC unit for their home.

There are three main ‘bonuses’ homeowners may be able to use. Here’s what you need to know about each. 

Renovation bonus (Bonus Restrutturazioni)

If a new AC system is installed as part of wider home renovation works, part of the cost could be covered by this bonus.

Italy’s renovation bonus grants a 50-percent discount on the total amount spent on renovation-related works, including any expenses associated with the purchase and installation of a new AC unit.

Note that the bonus in question only applies if the purchased AC system has an A+ energy efficiency rating or higher (a breakdown of all available classes can be found here) and if the relevant home renovation works started after January 1st, 2021.

The renovation bonus is only applicable when the total amount spent on renovation is below 96,000 euros.

READ ALSO: From weddings to new furniture: 24 Italian tax ‘bonuses’ you could claim

Scaffolding in Barcelona, Spain

The Renovation Bonus grants a 50-percent discount on the total amount spent on renovation-related interventions, including the purchase and installation of a new AC unit. Photo by Pau BARRENA / AFP

Furniture bonus (Bonus Mobili)

The ‘Furniture Bonus’ also grants a 50-percent discount, this time to works involving the purchase of new furniture and/or domestic appliances, including AC units.

Once again, the discount is only applicable if the unit has been purchased after January 1st, 2021.

The incentive is not available if expenses exceed 16,000 euros for items purchased in 2021 and 10,000 euros for items purchased in 2022. The threshold will drop to 5,000 euros for 2023 and 2024.

Ecobonus

Homeowners can also claim back part of the cost of a new AC unit using the ‘Ecobonus’, which affords a 65-percent discount on construction works aimed at enhancing the energy efficiency of a property.

Any expense related to the installation of a new AC system can be included in the Ecobonus as long as the purchased item is a high-efficiency, heat-pump unit with an A+++ energy rating (the highest available rating).

READ ALSO: Do you have to be Italian to claim Italy’s building bonuses?

Under the current Ecobonus regulation, the maximum amount you can claim back is 46,154 euros. Also, as in the previous instances, the bonus only applies to construction works and purchases made after January 1st, 2021.

How to claim your discounts

There are two ways to claim the above-mentioned bonuses:

  • Through the independent tax declaration form known as ‘Form 730’ (Modello 730). In this case, the amount you’re owed will be divided into 10 equal yearly instalments.
  • Through a discount directly applied to your invoices. This option is only available if the homeowner agrees to pay via bank transfer. 

To avoid any delay in the disbursement of the discount, homeowners are advised to keep a copy of all relevant invoices and bank payment receipts.

Worker carrying out construction works in an apartment.

All of the AC bonuses can be claimed via a 730 tax declaration form and through direct invoice discounts. Photo by Henry & Co on Unsplash

A further bonus: Superbonus 110

Technically, the famed superbonus 110 does not cover the purchase of AC units. 

However, homeowners may be able to enjoy a tax rebate of up to 110 percent of the cost if the unit is installed as part of ‘leading construction works’ (lavori trainanti) aimed at increasing the property’s energy efficiency by at least two classes (or at reaching the highest possible rating). 

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

In particular, the replacement of a property’s central climate control system is considered to be a lavoro trainante and the purchase of a unit suitable for both heating and cooling can be included in this category.

The superbonus can be claimed via a 730 tax declaration form and through direct invoice discounts. Additionally, homeowners can also choose to transfer their tax credit to third parties such as tax credit institutes or banks. See further information on the tax agency’s official website here.

Useful links

Renovation Bonus (Bonus Ristrutturazione)
Furniture bonus (Bonus Mobili)
Ecobonus
Superbonus 110

Please note that The Local is unable to advise on individual cases. For further information about claiming tax rebates in Italy, consult your local Italian tax agency office or an independent tax advisor.

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ENERGY

What does the shut-off of Russian gas supplies mean for Italy?

After Russian energy giant Gazprom suspended gas deliveries to Italy on Saturday, many are wondering what consequences the stoppage will have on the country’s energy supplies.

What does the shut-off of Russian gas supplies mean for Italy?

What’s going on?

Over the past three days, Italy has received none of the gas supplies it expected from Russian energy giant Gazprom. 

The impasse officially started last Saturday, when Gazprom announced it would not be able to deliver gas to Italy due to “the impossibility of gas transport through Austria” – Russian gas supplies are delivered to Italy through the Trans Austria Gas pipeline (TAG), which reaches into Italian territory near Tarvisio, Friuli Venezia-Giulia. 

READ ALSO: Russia suspends gas to Italy after ‘problem’ in Austria

Though Gazprom originally attributed the problem to Austrian gas grid operators refusing to confirm “transport nominations”, Austria’s energy regulator E-Control said that the Russian energy mammoth had failed to comply with new contractual agreements whose introduction had been “known to all market actors for months”. 

Additional information about the incident only emerged on Monday, when Claudio Descalzi, the CEO of Italy’s national energy provider ENI, said that supplies had been suspended after Gazprom failed to pay a 20-million-euro guarantee to Austrian gas carrier Gas Connect. 

Descalzi also added that ENI was ready to step in and deposit the guarantee itself in order to unblock deliveries to Italy.

Logo of Italian energy regulator ENI.

Italian energy regulator ENI said it was ready to pay Austrian gas carriers a 20-million-euro guarantee to unblock deliveries. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

READ ALSO: Italy’s ENI ready to pay guarantee to unblock Russian gas

At the time of writing, however, no agreement between ENI, Gas Connect and Gazprom has yet been reached, with the stoppage expected to continue until Wednesday at the very least.

What would an indefinite stoppage mean for Italy’s upcoming winter season?

Though energy giant ENI appears to be confident that a compromise between all the involved parties will be reached shortly, the “indefinite shutdown” of the Nord Stream 1 pipeline in early September is somewhat of a menacing precedent. 

After fears of a long-term supply suspension cropped up over the weekend, outgoing Ecological Transition Minister Roberto Cingolani publicly reassured Italians that “barring any catastrophic events, Italy will have the whole of winter covered”.

It isn’t yet clear what exactly Cingolani meant by “catastrophic”, but the latest available data seem to suggest that Italy wouldn’t have to resort to emergency measures, chiefly gas rationing, should Gazprom halt deliveries indefinitely. 

Italian Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani.

Outgoing Minister for Ecological Transition Roberto Cingolani said that, “barring any catastrophic events”, Italy will have enough gas supplies for the winter. Photo by Andreas SOLARO / AFP

In 2021, prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Italy received around 20 billion cubic metres of Russian gas per year, which accounted for about 40 percent of the country’s annual gas imports. 

But, thanks to the supply diversification strategy carried out by outgoing PM Mario Draghi and his cabinet over the past few months, Russian gas currently accounts for, in the words of ENI’s CEO Claudio Descalzi, only “about nine to 10 percent” of Italian gas imports.

READ ALSO: Italy’s Draghi criticises Germany over latest energy plan

Granted, Italy still receives (or, given the current diplomatic deadlock, expects to receive) a non-negligible total of 20 million cubic metres of Russian gas per day. But, should supply lines between Rome and Moscow be shut off until further notice, Italy could fall back on existing gas stocks to meet winter consumption demands. 

Last Wednesday, Cingolani announced that the country had already filled up 90 percent of its national gas stocks – Italy has nine storage plants for an overall storage capacity of 17 billion cubic metres of gas – and the government was now working to bring that number up by an additional two or three percentage points.

These supplies, Cingolani said, are set to give Italy “greater flexibility” with respect to potential “spikes in winter consumption”.

Gas storage station in Loenhout, Belgium.

Italy has nine storage plants for an overall storage capacity of 17 billion cubic metres of gas. Photo by Kenzo TRIBOUILLARD / AFP

Finally, Italy is expected to receive an additional four billion cubic metres of gas from North Europe over the winter months – deliveries which will be complemented by the first shipments of LNG (Liquefied Natural Gas) from Egypt.

Both of these developments are expected to further reinforce Italy’s position in the energy market for the cold season.

What about the long-term consequences of an indefinite stoppage?

An indefinite shut-off of Russian gas supplies would effectively anticipate Italy’s independence from Moscow by nearly two years – Draghi’s plan has always been to wean the country off Russian gas by autumn 2024.

However, the Italian government’s strategy is (or, perhaps, was, as a new government is about to be formed) centred around a gradual phasing out of Russian supplies. As such, although not immediately problematic, a ‘cold-turkey’ scenario might create supply issues for Italy at some point during 2023.

READ ALSO: EXPLAINED: How much are energy prices rising in Italy this autumn?

Granted, Algeria, whose supplies currently make up 36 percent of Italy’s national demand, is expected to ramp up gas exports and provide Rome with nine billion cubic metres of gas in 2023.

But, even when combined with LNG supplies from several African partners – these should add up to a total of four billion cubic metres of gas in 2023 – there’s a risk that Algerian gas might not be able to replace Russian gas on its own.

An employee works at the Tunisian Sergaz company, that controls the Tunisian segment of the Trans-Mediterranean (Transmed) pipeline, through which natural gas flows from Algeria to Italy.

Algerian gas supplies, which reach Italy through the Trans-Med pipeline (pictured above), might not be enough to replace Russian gas in 2023. Photo by Fethi BELAID / AFP

Therefore, should an indefinite shut-off be the ultimate outcome of the current diplomatic incident between ENI, Austria’s Gas Connect and Russia’s Gazprom, Italy, this time in the person of new PM Giorgia Meloni, might have to close deals with other suppliers or ask existing suppliers to ramp up production. 

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