IMU 2022: Uncertainties over the Choice of the Main House

June 16 is the deadline for the advance payment of the 2022 Municipal Property Tax (IMU). In calculating this year’s[1] tax, however, one must also consider the novelty introduced by the rule that requires each household to choose only one main house to be exempted.

To start with, it may be useful recalling that a benefit is currently in force that exempts from the tax the only dwelling – the so-called main house – in which there exist jointly:

  • the “de jure” requirement (registered residence)
  • and the “de facto” requirement (civil residence, habitual dwelling)

of the family unit.

 

2022 News

The lawgiver (Art. 5-decies of Italian Decree-Law No. 146 of 2021) intervened to amend the previous text by recognizing the possibility to benefit from the relief for the main house only on the property chosen by the members of the family unit; the alternative concerns both the case of properties located in the same municipality and properties located in different municipalities.

The amendment under consideration became necessary in order to address, on the one hand, the contrasting positions of the Court of Cassation (ex multis, Ordinances No. 4166 and No. 4170 of 2020) and the MEF (Circular No. 3 of 2012) and, on the other hand, the proliferation of cases in which spouses set their habitual dwelling and registered residence in different municipalities, benefiting – often without entitlement – from a double exemption.

 

How to make the choice

To this end, the choice will have to be made in the IMU tax return, to be submitted by June 30, 2023, according to the operating procedures defined by the Italian Ministry of Economy and Finance during the “Telefisco 2022” training and update session as follows:

  • field “15” (Exemption) must be ticked next to the chosen property
  • and in the “Annotations” at the bottom it is necessary to indicate that ‘the main house [was] chosen by the household pursuant to Article 1, para. 741, letter b) of Law 160 of 2019’.

 

Possible evolutions of the rules

Lastly, it is worth drawing attention to the fact that the rule may be subject to change before the deadline for submission of the property tax return, as (in Order No. 94 of April 12, 2022) the Constitutional Court independently raised the question of constitutional legitimacy on the previous wording of the rule (and, specifically, on the fourth sentence of Art. 13, co. 2 of Decree-Law 201/2011, as amended by Law 147/2013) insofar as it differentiated the treatment of property owners based on whether or not they belonged to a family unit[2].

If therefore, the aforementioned declaratory ruling of unconstitutionality were to intervene, disassociating the main house from the concept of a family unit/dwelling, there would certainly be repercussions also on the current discipline and the taxpayer would then have to be allowed to file – if appropriate – a claim for reimbursement for payments not due on the other house, made during 2022.

 

Federico Ciravegna

 

[1] IMU is due in proportion to the share of possession of the property and the effective months of possession, considering the whole month if the possession lasted for more than half of the days of the month.

[2] Even considering that the nexus with ” family unit” was neither present in the original IMU regulations (Art. 8 of Legislative Decree No. 23 of 2011) nor in the later wording, which constituted its first application.