There is good news for owners of photovoltaic (PV) plants in Italy. In circular no. 2/E, released on 1 February 2016 (the circular), the Italian Revenue Agency has provided official guidance on new rules enacted by on 28 December 2015 by Law no. 208, 2016 (the Stability Law), effective as of 1 January 2016.

The Stability Law has made changes to the rules governing the determination of the cadastral rent levied on certain productive properties, such as plants and factories. Cadastral rent forms the parameters assumed as the basis for the calculation of the main property tax, the municipal tax on real estate property (the IMU). The new rules provide that equipment bolted to the ground (imbullonati), which includes machinery, devices, tools and other functional equipment necessary to the production process,must not be included in the determination of the cadastral rent of productive property.

The new rules aim to supersede a controversial interpretation of the pre-existing law that had caused significant increases in the IMU burden for companies owning plants with imbullonati. For PV plants, this meant that the value of panels and inverters was fully taken into account in the determination of the cadastral rent, with punitive financial consequences.

Following the enactment of the 2016 Stability Law, which does not make any express reference to PV plants, doubts immediately arose as to whether or not PV panels and inverters fell under the scope of the new rule. The circular has clarified the situation by stating that, as a general rule, panels and inverters are not considered in the determination of the cadastral rent. The only exception is when the panels are structurally and architecturally integrated in the roof or on the surface of a building.

The exclusion of panels and inverters from the cadastral rent is expected to cause a sharp decrease in the IMU burden for owners of PV plants. In order to take advantage of the new rules starting from the IMU payments due in 2016, a new cadastral declaration (Docfa) must be submitted no later than 15 June 2016.