Super bonuses and ghost houses: the land registry against real estate evasion


Emma Potter

In the Italian tax landscape, evasion linked to the real estate sector represents a constant challenge for the authorities. To combat this phenomenon, the Revenue Agency has outlined a series of strategies and objectives for the three-year period 2024-2026.

This commitment not only aims to discover the so-called “ghost houses” but also intends to make the updating of the cadastral databases more efficient. Through the use of advanced technologies and the post-superbonus compliance obligation, the Italian tax authorities intensify its fight against tax evasion, while promoting the valorization of the national real estate assets.

The operational plan and strategic objectives

The Revenue Agency, with its Integrated Plan of Activities and Organization (PIAO) 2024-2026, has established clear objectives to strengthen the fight against real estate evasion. The plan provides for an enhancement of the information system of the Integrated Real Estate Registry, aiming at a significant increase in the computerization of the databases.

The tax offices are called to expand the computerized period of the Real Estate Advertising Database, with the ambition of going from 70.5% to 74.5% by 2026. Another strategic objective is theincrease in the recovery rate of unregistered automatic transfersimproving the ability of offices to intervene manually to resolve these situations.

These measures are aimed at increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of the control and service action towards taxpayers, demonstrating a constant commitment to the modernization and accuracy of cadastral management.

Hunt for ghost houses

A crucial objective of the Operational Plan is to intensify the fight against “ghost houses“. The term refers to those unregistered or inconsistently represented properties in cadastral maps.

The PIAO 2024-2026 aims to extend cartographic surveys to an ever-increasing portion of the national territory, with the aim of increasing coverage from 45% to 70% within three years.

This ambitious quantitative leap is made possible by the adoption of advanced technologies such as orthophotos, high definition aerial images that leave no room for omissions. The Integrated Territory Service (Sit), combining different cadastral databases into a single system, represents a fundamental resource in this hunt, offering a complete and detailed vision of the Italian real estate fabric.

However, territorial investigations are not limited to aerial monitoring. The Revenue Agency also plans an intense verification activity in the field, with the aim of reaching a control rate of 87% by the end of the three-year period.

This effort demonstrates the financial administration's commitment to closing the circle on tax evasion, guaranteeing the updating and accuracy of land registry records through an approach that combines technological innovation and territorial control.

The properties to be controlled and the owners of the assets

To ensure greater tax compliance in the real estate sector, the Revenue Agency has defined specific objectives regarding the control of properties and the verification of the correctness of the data of the owners of real estate assets. The “Coverage rate of properties to be monitored” is a key indicator: by 2026, it is expected to increase from 34% to 36%.

This increase reflects the intention to broaden the range of checks that can be carried out, for more effective control of the territory in relation to all the declarations presented.

Equally important is the improvement of the “Compliance of owners of properties in the land register”, which should go from the current 63% to 70% within the three-year period. This objective aims to strengthen the reliability of cadastral records by comparing the cadastral data with the information recorded in the land registers.

Greater precision in cadastral headings is essential to provide accurate data, necessary, for example, for the pre-compilation of the tables relating to properties in tax forms such as 730.

Compliance letters for the Superbonus

As part of the strategy to increase tax compliance, a significant innovation introduced in 2024 concerns property owners who have benefited from the Superbonus for energy efficiency interventions and other measures. The latest budget law introduced the possibility for the Revenue Agency to send letters of compliance, in order to verify the correct updating of the cadastral data of the property affected by the interventions.

This initiative is based on the analysis of data already in possession of the financial administration, and aims to identify any discrepancies or omissions in the post-intervention cadastral changes, urging the owners to regularize the situation.

This new approach, focused on cadastral changes linked to the superbonus, highlights the importance of accurately updating real estate information for a correct tax assessment of properties. Through these compliance letters, the Revenue Agency promotes greater transparency and encourages taxpayers to actively collaborate in the process of valorising the national real estate assets.