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First-time home bonus for Italians living abroad

Real estate law

First-time home bonus for Italians living abroad

In October, a series of articles appeared in Italian newspapers, mainly aimed at Italians living abroad, announcing (incorrectly) the abolition of tax benefits for the first home in Italy for Italians living abroad and registered with the A.I.R.E. (register of residents abroad); until now, Italians living abroad could claim tax benefits for their first home without having to transfer their foreign residence to Italy. The concession (which is therefore still in force for the time being) consists in paying a registration tax of 2% instead of 9% on the cadastral value of the property acquired and a mortgage and cadastral tax of 50 euros, or, if the property is sold by a company subject to VAT, applying a rate of 4% instead of 10%, and paying the registration, cadastral and mortgage taxes of 200 euros each.

In fact, in the draft decree, the government had originally foreseen the abolition of the benefit for Italians living abroad, probably to avoid condemnation by the European Court of Justice, which considers this practice discriminatory against owners from other EU member states, precisely because only Italian citizens residing abroad are favoured. In the final version of the tax decree for 2022 approved by the government and published in the Official Gazette on 21 October 2021, this article was deleted and the benefits in question remain in force for the time being, but who knows until when; it is not conceivable, as too costly for the Italian state, that such a benefit would be extended to all European citizens buying their "first home" in Italy.

It is possible that the abolition of the benefit for Italians living abroad will be included in the 2022 budget law, even if the draft law does not currently contain an article to this effect. The Tax Office has recently commented on this issue and confirmed in its Circular No. 751 of 28 October 2021 that residence abroad does not preclude the application of the reduced VAT rate of 4%. This relief therefore applies even if the expatriate acquires the property without settling permanently in Italy; however, the acquired house must be his main residence during the time he is in the territory.

The tax office also intervenes in this context to clarify whether or not the capital gain from the resale without repurchase within this period constitutes a taxable capital gain. The non-taxability of capital gains from sales within the five-year period between purchase and sale presupposes that the property was used as the principal residence of the transferor or members of his family for most of this period.

In its answer to question 627 of 27 September 2021, the Agenzia delle Entrate also points out that "the condition of being an expatriate abroad does not necessarily have to be evidenced by a certificate of registration with the AIRE, but can be confirmed by the interested party itself by means of a declaration in the purchase contract".

Court of Cassation: The claim to payment of the brokerage commission arises even if no order was placed. It is sufficient that a brokerage service has been provided.

The Second Civil Chamber of the Court of Cassation has ruled in its decision no. 7029/2021 that the real estate agent is entitled to the payment of a commission even if there has been no express prior commission. It is sufficient that an agency activity has taken place which has favoured the parties - even tacitly - and led to the conclusion of the transaction. The agent's activity must have been indispensable for the conclusion of the transaction, whereby the causal connection need not necessarily be direct and exclusive.