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Update on municipal taxes

As we have explained in a previous publication, the Financial Stability Law of January 1, 2014 (“Stabilità 2014”) established the so-called IUC tax (Imposta Unica Comunale).

The IUC groups together three taxes which were formerly either separate or non-existent:

Although lumped together into one tax, the municipalities are still collecting them separately. Consequently, religious entities will be receiving three separate tax bills.

In the new law, IMU is treated as in 2013 with payment deadlines on June 16 and December 16. In addition, the 2013 exemptions will continue to apply for religious institutions, viz., they will be exempt in respect of all properties specified in Legislative Decree 30/12/1992 n. 504, art. 7, par. 1 (b), (d) and (i), namely:

b) buildings classified or classifiable in cadastral categories from E/1 to E/9 (places of worship are classified in category E/7);

d) places of worship and appurtenances other than those referred to in the above sub-paragraph b): here the criterion is the actual use of buildings regardless of their cadastral categories; this includes all buildings used directly by a parish for its pastoral activities (e.g., the pastor’s home, housing for nuns who work in the parish, oratory space, meeting rooms, parish offices, classrooms, etc.);

i) all buildings used by the subjects referred to article 87 [now 73], paragraph 1, letter c) of the Unified Tax Law (Law 22/12/1986 n. 917), exclusively for non-commercial activities in the areas of welfare, social security, health, education, accommodation, culture, recreation and sports, as well as for the activities referred to in Article, 16 letter a) of Law 30/05/1985 n. 222.

Included in this last provision are all of the properties of parishes and other religious institutions used exclusively for activities of worship and the care of souls, the formation of clergy and religious, missionary work, catechesis, and Christian education; also included in this category are religious houses, monasteries, seminaries, episcopal offices, and offices of the diocesan curia. This means that General Houses are fully exempt to the extent that they have no commercial activities.

The above exemptions from IMU also apply to TASI and TARI although there is as yet no case law or practice in this respect. A congregation which receives a TASI or TARI tax bill would have grounds for contesting it and should contact its tax advisor or commercialista.

The Revenue Office has recently issued forms with which religious entities can indicate to the tax authorities those buildings which they consider to be tax exempt. These should be obtained from the commercialista.