Ecobonus: the Court of Cassation clarifies the late communication to ENEA


Emma Potter

A recent verdict of the Court of Cassation, the sentence no. 7657 of 21 March 2024sheds new light on the management of deductions linked to energy efficiency interventions, i.e. the ecobonus.

At the center of the dispute is the question of the mandatory nature of the communication of interventions a AENEASwhich, according to the Revenue Agency, would be essential to enjoy tax breaks.

However, the supreme justices' decision appears to offer a different perspective, with important implications for taxpayers and industry operators.

The ruling of the Court of Cassation

The issue arose when the Revenue Agency requested the payment of a tax bill from a taxpayer who he had not communicated promptly to ENEA the energy requalification interventions of a building, carried out in 2008.

The notice was subsequently canceled by the provincial and regional tax commissions, arguing that the late or failed communication does not affect the legitimacy of the tax deductions, as the essence of the relief lies in the reality and effectiveness of the expenses incurred, and not in the mere bureaucratic communication.

This position was confirmed by the Court of Cassation, which has the Revenue Agency's appeal was rejectedsetting a significant precedent.

According to the Court, failure to comply with the deadline for communication to ENEA does not automatically lead to the forfeiture of tax benefits, since such communications mainly have a statistical purpose, monitoring and evaluation of energy savings, rather than conditioning the benefit itself.

Legal precedents and contrary interpretations

Despite the verdict in favor of the taxpayer in the specific case, the issue of communication to ENEA has not always been interpreted in the same way. A significant precedent is theOrdinance of 21 November 2022, n. 34151where the Court of Cassation had supported an opposite view, stating that the lack of prior communication to ENEA represented an obstacle to the granting of concessions for energy requalification interventions.

This precedent had emphasized that the rules governing tax breaks must be interpreted restrictively, and that any bureaucratic burden imposed on the taxpayer to access these benefits must be rigorously fulfilled.

The logic behind this interpretation was that compliance with bureaucratic procedures ensures legal certainty and fairness in the tax system, thus avoiding abuses and misunderstandings.

However, the most recent ruling seems to move away from this interpretation, underlining that not all formal failures or delays in communications should automatically preclude the right to tax deductions, especially when they do not affect the substance of the energy interventions carried out.

Practical implications for taxpayers and operators in the sector

The recent ruling of the Court of Cassation opens new perspectives for taxpayers who undertake energy requalification interventions. Essentially, it highlights that, despite the importance of formal communications, the absence of these should not necessarily void the right to tax deductions if the works have been carried out in accordance with the regulations and have actually contributed to energy savings.

This jurisprudential approach reinforces the need for taxpayers to ensure that the expenses incurred are well documented and unequivocally linked to energy improvement interventions.

At the same time, it reduces the burden of bureaucracy, recognizing that a simple delay in communication should not be a punitive factor.

In conclusion, sentence no. 7657 of 21 March 2024 of the Court of Cassation represents a significant step forward in the understanding and application of the rules relating to tax incentives for energy requalification. By confirming that the failure or late communication to ENEA is not in itself sufficient to deny tax deductions, the Court offered greater legal certainty to taxpayers and reaffirmed the importance of looking at substance rather than form in assessing the right to tax breaks.