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HOW TO ELIMINATE ARCHITECTURAL BARRIERS?

  • 25/09/2022
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What are architectural barriers and how can they be eliminated?

Architectural barriers are obstacles that hinder the free, comfortable and safe use of spaces, buildings and structures by persons suffering, for whatever reason, from permanent or temporary motor, sensory and psychic difficulties or disabilities.
Architectural barriers can be eliminated through a specific building bonus, consisting of a deduction from gross tax, up to its amount, for documented expenses incurred from 1 January 2022 to 31 December 2022.
The benefit concerns interventions directly aimed at overcoming and eliminating architectural barriers in existing buildings with a deduction percentage of 75% calculated on different ceilings depending on the case.
If work to remove architectural barriers is absorbed by the Superbonus, the deduction is 110%.
The deadlines for taking advantage of the maxi-deduction are the same as for the Superbonus.


ADMINISTRATIVE REGIME

According to the provisions of the so-called "Scia 2 decree", the works aimed at removing architectural barriers fall, depending on the case, within the free building activity or subject to the issuance of a building permit.
In particular, works that do not involve the construction of external lifts or other structures that alter the outline of the building are considered free building activities.
If these conditions are not met, a CILA must be submitted.


BENEFICIARIES

The following are eligible for the bonus for the removal of architectural barriers:
* Condominiums;

* IACP ( I institutes of public housing);

* Individuals; 

* Cooperatives of indivisible dwellings.



SUBSIDISED BUILDINGS

* Multi-family building (whether or not a condominium has been set up); 

* Single-family building or similar; 

* Building unit (in a condominium). 



PERMITTED INTERVENTIONS

* Installation of lifts;

* Installation of goods lifts; 

* Installation of stair lifts;

* Construction of an external lift; 

* Construction of ramps;

* Interventions that favour internal mobility through the use of communication, robotics and any other advanced technological means.

The allowance is also available for interventions to automate the systems of buildings and individual building units to reduce architectural barriers and, in case of replacement of the system, for the costs of disposal and reclamation of materials and the system replaced.
In order to qualify for the deduction, the measures must meet the requirements laid down in the regulations in Decree 236/1989 of the Minister of Public Works.


DEDUCTION

The deduction is 75% of the expenditure incurred for the removal of architectural barriers.
The ceiling varies according to the case:
* € 50,000 for single-family buildings or similar; 

* 40,000 multiplied by the number of building units for buildings with 2 to 8 building units; 

* 30,000 multiplied by the number of building units for buildings with more than eight building units. 

The expenditure can be deducted over 5 years in equal annual instalments.

After 1 January 2023, the deduction will return to normal:
.until 31 December 2024: 50% deduction on a maximum ceiling of € 96,000
.from 1 January 2025: 36% deduction on a maximum ceiling of € 48,000
The deduction will be divided into 10 annual instalments.



ELIMINATING ARCHITECTURAL BARRIERS IN BLOCKS OF FLATS

When the removal of architectural barriers concerns a condominium, a resolution of the assembly is required.
The majorities required for the correct constitution of the assembly and for the deliberative quorum are those foreseen by article 1136, paragraphs 2 and 3, of the Italian Civil Code (first and second call respectively). (first and second call, respectively).
In particular, the ordinary majorities apply, unless the changes:
* affect the stability or safety of the building;
* alter the building's architectural decoration;
* make the common parts unusable for the use or enjoyment of even a single owner.
According to the Court of Cassation (sentence 24235/2016), the fact that the common property is unusable for the use or enjoyment of even a single owner also applies if the innovation entails a "significant impairment of the utility which the owner previously derived from the property".


ACCUMULATION WITH DIFFERENT BENEFITS

The Italian revenue Agency has clarified that for interventions other than those covered by the Superbonus, the benefits already provided for by current legislation remain applicable.
There are two possible scenarios:

1. A single intervention and different categories of benefits
In this case, the taxpayer can make use of only one of the above-mentioned benefits for the same expenses, choosing the most economically convenient one.
It is necessary to comply with the obligations specifically provided for in relation to the benefit chosen.

2. More than one intervention and different eligible categories
If, on the other hand, more than one intervention is carried out that can be classified as different categories of benefits, the taxpayer can benefit from each benefit, respecting the expenditure limits provided for the single facilitations.
The expenses related to the different interventions must be accounted for separately.
It is also necessary to comply with the obligations specifically provided for each deduction.


ALTERNATIVES TO THE DEDUCTION

As an alternative to the deduction from the tax return, it is possible to opt for:

a) a discount on the invoice: a contribution, in the form of a discount on the amount due, up to a maximum amount equal to the amount due, advanced by the company that carried out the work.
By means of the discount on the invoice, the taxpayer can upgrade his property even if he does not have immediate liquidity.
In turn, the supplier will be able to choose whether to deduct from his tax return the amount corresponding to the discount granted or to assign the corresponding tax credit.
It should be noted that the supplier is not obliged to make the discount: it is simply an option allowed by law to the taxpayer.

b) assignment of the tax credit: assignment to a third party (the firm that carried out the work or the Post Office, banks, financial intermediaries, insurance groups) of the tax credit corresponding to the deductible work.
Through this instrument it is possible to obtain immediately the cash used to pay for the works, without waiting for the years in which the deduction can be distributed.
A sum will be deducted from the tax credit: it’s the payment for the transfer.

FAIRNESS OF EXPENSES AND CONFORMITY CERTIFICATE

When the taxpayer exercises the option of invoice discount or assignment of tax credit, the Financial Law 2022 requires the production of the following documentation:

* compliance certificate of the expenses incurred by a qualified technician
* compliance visa (asseveration) by a professional

By certifying the congruity of the expenses, the qualified technician shall asseverate their congruity with respect to certain parameters indicated in the MITE decree of 14 February 2022 (for the interventions indicated therein), the Regional price lists or the DEI price lists. The technician must attach to the certification the estimated metric calculation indicating the maximum specific costs for each type of intervention.
The professional's certificate of conformity certifies the existence of the conditions for the recognition of the deduction.
If these costs are higher than those eligible, the deduction is applied within the maximum limits.
The compliance certificate and the asseveration are not required in the following cases:

. individual income tax return submitted on the basis of the pre-filled form
. individual income tax return made through the withholding agent
. interventions carried out in free building
. interventions whose total amount does not exceed € 10,000

From 1 January 2022, the expenses incurred for the issuance of the above documentation are always tax deductible and enjoy the same rate associated with the bonus deduction.
The Italian revenue Agency has clarified that the expenses incurred for certification and endorsement are also deductible in the period 12 November - 31 December 2021, (period of validity of the anti-fraud decree, repealed and merged into the Financial Law 2022).


THE NEW ANTI-FRAUD MEASURES

The need to act on the numerous frauds related to building bonuses has led to the issuance of the Fraud decree.
The new measures apply to all building bonuses that include the options of credit transfer and invoice discount.
Excluded are the green bonus and the furniture bonus, for which the relief is only available through deduction.
Here is a summary of the main changes introduced by the decree:

1. possibility of making up to three assignments of credit: the last two assignments must be made to banks, financial intermediaries and insurance companies
2. prohibition of partial assignments: the credit must be assigned in full
3. introduction of the unique identification code: as from 1 May 2022, the credit will be assigned a code, which must be communicated on the occasion of each assignment
4. tougher penalties for false declarations: penalties for false declarations or serious omissions range from 2 to 5 years' imprisonment and from a € 50,000 to € 100,000 fine
5. use of credits subject to criminal seizure: such credits may only be used after the criminal effects of the measure have ceased
6. amendment of Article 316-bis of the Criminal Code: embezzlement of public funds and not only that of the State is also punishable under criminal law; the offence of misappropriation of public funds also includes subsidies, which were previously excluded.


MAINTENANCE OF THE IRPEF DEDUCTION IN CASE OF RESALE

In order to maintain the IRPEF deduction relating to the expenses incurred for the recovery of the building heritage and for energy requalification, in case of resale the selling party, with the consent of the purchasing party, must expressly declare at the time of the stipulation to reserve in its favour the deductions not yet used.
In the absence of an express declaration, the seller definitively loses the possibility of recovering the above-mentioned deductions.
The seller is obliged to produce the relevant documentation to the competent authorities. 


OTHER BENEFITS PROVIDED BY LAW

Some regions provide other tax benefits in addition to those described above:
* 4% VAT: renovation works and removal of architectural barriers;
* 10% VAT + 50% deduction: renovation work;
* 19% deduction: for certain types of work (e.g. construction of ramps).


ARCHITECTURAL BARRIERS AND ACCESSIBILITY

For the purposes of issuing the certificate of accessibility, the certified report may also concern the declaration of conformity of the works carried out with the current legislation on accessibility and overcoming architectural barriers.
If, in fact, there are obstacles to the use of spaces by disabled persons, the building may be considered uninhabitable with repercussions on the economic marketability of the property.


THE ENERGY DECREE

The Energy decree (Decree-Law No. 17/2022) has made certain changes regarding the options of the invoice discount and the transfer of credit in building bonuses.
Firstly, corporate income tax (IRES) taxpayers and VAT holders who must file their income tax returns by 30 November 2022 have until 15 October 2022 to notify the Revenue Agency of their intention to take advantage of the invoice discount or credit transfer options.
The new provisions apply to notifications of the first assignment of the credit or invoice discount sent to the Revenue Agency with effect from 1 May 2022

THE AID DECREE

In the event that the number of possible assignments of credit had been exhausted, the 'energy decree' (l.d. 17/2022) had already allowed a further assignment by the banks in favour of parties with whom they had entered into a current account agreement.
The "aid decree" (Article 14, paragraph 1, letters b and c, d.l. 50/2022) intervened in the matter by allowing the advance assignment of credit by credit institutions to private professional customers who had entered into a current account agreement with the bank itself or with the parent bank (without the option of further assignment).
In essence, the aid decree specified the nature of the credit assignees, through an explicit reference to Article 6, paragraph 2-quinques, of Legislative Decree No. 58/1998 (Consolidated Law on Financial Intermediation, pursuant to Articles 8 and 21 of Law No. 52 of 6 February 1996).
As specified by the Revenue Agency (Circular 19/E of 27 May 2022), 'professional' customers are defined as those who possess the experience, knowledge and expertise necessary to make informed investment decisions and are able to correctly assess the risks involved.

REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

* Ministry of Public Works decree 236/1989, «Technical prescriptions necessary to guarantee the accessibility, adaptability and visitability of private buildings and public, subsidised and facilitated residential buildings, in order to overcome and eliminate architectural barriers»
* L. 13/1989,  «Provisions to promote the overcoming and elimination of architectural barriers in private buildings»
* Articles 77-82 TUE, Consolidated text on construction (d.p.r. 380/2001)
* L.d. 222/2016 (Scia 2 decree)
* Art. 119-ter, l.d. 34/2020 (Relaunch decree)
* Art. 1, paragraph 389, l. 296/2006 (Finance Act 2007)
* Article 1, paragraph 42, l. 234/2021 (Finance Act 2022)
* Art. 28, l.d. 4/2022 (Support Decree ter)
* MITE Decree 14 February 2022 (New ceiling decree)
* L.d. 13/2022 (Fraud decree), «Urgent measures to combat fraud and safety in the workplace in the building sector, as well as electricity produced by plants from renewable sources»
L.d. 17/2022 (Energy decree), «Urgent measures for the containment of electricity and natural gas costs, for the development of renewable energies and for the relaunch of industrial policies»
L.d. 50/2022 (Aid decree), «Urgent measures on national energy policies, business productivity and investment attraction, as well as on social policies and the Ukraine crisis»
Revenue Agency’s Circular No. 19/E of 27 May 2022, “Amendments to the Superbonus and Bonuses other than the Superbonus - Anti-fraud measures - Amendments to the rules on the assignment of credits under Articles 121 and 122 of Decree-Law No. 34 of 19 May 2020”


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