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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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Reader question: Why are wood pellets so expensive this year?

Has the price of pellets risen so dramatically simply because of increased demand and production costs, or are there other factors at play?

Reader question: Why are wood pellets so expensive this year?

Question: This week I saw pellets that last year were on offer at €4.80, now on offer at €13.50! Yes I can understand the cost of transport has increased, as has electricity and gas, but I can’t see how that can justify a more than a doubling of a 15kg bag of pellets.

Have the production costs gone up so substantially, or is it just because other energy costs have gone up that there is yet another opportunity to rip people off?

The fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the main reason why the price of pellets has risen so steeply this year – though increased production and transport costs are just part of the equation.

Italy’s demand for both wood pellets and wood in general far exceeds its domestic production levels, so the country is heavily reliant on imports.

Annalisa Paniz, director of the Italian Association of Agroforestry Energies (Aiel), told the newspaper Libertà that sanctions on timber from Russia and Belarus and reduced flows from Ukraine have directly caused the Italian timber market to shrink by ten percent.

The reduction in the supply of raw material from these countries, the processing of which creates the byproducts (i.e., wood chippings and sawdust) used to make wood pellets, has also put the brakes on domestic pellet production.

Countries that previously imported large amounts of Russian timber, such as the UK and Baltic states, have significantly reduced their exports to meet domestic needs, so the price of both pellets and firewood from those countries has risen significantly.

Overall, the interrupted supply of wood from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine has created an estimated shortage of 3 million tons of wood pellets in Europe.

READ ALSO: What are the rules on using wood-burning stoves in Italy?

Meanwhile, out-of-control gas prices mean these shortages have coincided with increased demand from customers looking for alternative energy sources – not just private households, says Paniz, but also industrial plants, that can easily outbuy individual consumers.

Then there’s the issue of increased production costs as a result of the high price of gas.

According to Paolo Sandri, president of the forestry companies section of the Trentino Tradesmen’s Association, energy expenses account for about 40 percent of the cost of pellet production, as the wood chippings and sawdust need to be heated and dried before they can be processed. These increased production costs are passed on to the end consumer.

All that’s on top of the fact that Europeans’ interest in pellet stoves has been increasing anyway in the past few years, with the EU seeing an average increase of 10 percent in the number of wood pellet stoves and boilers used each year.

They’re particularly popular in Italy and France, which are expected to account for 50 percent of all sales of wood pellet heaters in Europe by 2029; so there was an increasing demand for wood pellets even before the war.

These factors have all conspired to create a “perfect storm” that has driven up the price of pellets to between two and three times the normal cost, says Imerio Pellizzari, vice president of the Trentino Tradesmen’s Association’s forestry section.

This doesn’t mean there hasn’t also been a little bit of self-interested price-gouging from businesses looking to cash in on the situation, Sandri acknowledges, noting that “there is a bit of speculation, because whoever has pellets raises the price.”

To bring down the cost of pellets in the future, both Sandri and Pellizzari say Italy should focus on increasing domestic production to meet the country’s growing demand.

“In Trentino, sawmills produce one million cubic meters of timber, but all the waste that could be processed in Trentino is exported,” says Sandri.

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