“Ecobonus for the condominium? Impossible no, but it will be much more difficult than it seems”

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How to do the renovations in the condominium for tens of thousands of euros without spending a penny, getting financed by the state. The new Book of Dreams of Italian taxpayers is called Ecobonus and is now the main subject of discussion in the hallways of the condominiums, in restaurants and among friends. The state will not only reimburse all the value of the work aimed at thermally insulating the walls or renovating the condominium boiler or securing the building from a seismic point of view, but it will even give 10 percent more, or 110 percent of the spending. And the condominium will not even have to anticipate the expense because the tax credit can be transferred to banks or other large companies. It seems impossible.

“Impossible no, but it will be much more difficult and complicated than you think”, Gianluca Garbi, CEO of Banca Sistema of which he is the founder, explains in this interview. Garbi has a long career in finance: he was a member of the MEF expert council at the time when Mario Draghi was general manager and from 1998 to 2011 he was CEO of the MTS Group, the pan-European government securities market. Wholesale.

Dr. Garbi, the mechanism developed seems for once perfect to revive the construction industry right now. Will it not be so? Do we have to worry?

“Of course, there will be a revitalization of the building sector, a few billion more jobs will take place, but compared to the vulgarity of easy access for all to these facilities I would be very prudent”.

Because?

“Because this procedure is not at all easy and obvious and implies on the one hand the intervention of banks or other lenders if the condominium does not have the money to anticipate the works and, on the other, businesses with broad shoulders, while I see it hard for the small artisan company. Of course, we still have to wait for the conversion of the decree law and the ministerial decrees to be implemented, but the substance of things at the moment seems to be this: a very difficult path and not for everyone ”.

It seems that everything revolves around the concept of tax credit. Since the condominiums do not have all this money to advance, they will be able to transfer the tax credit to the banks or other large companies, on the basis of which the builder will be able to obtain the financing. And that 10 percent more will serve to cover the costs of the advance “discount” of the credit. How are things?

“Let’s start by saying that, at the present time and if things do not change, the tax credit does not start immediately but only at the end of the work, indeed when the Revenue Agency has recognized that everything has been done in compliance with the laws, and bureaucratic times do not always allow a quick response. If, as is likely, it takes several months to carry out the works, where does the company find the money in the meantime? Going to the bank, obviously ”.

Excuse me, couldn’t you give up the condominium’s future tax credit?

“But which bank would give money in the face of the uncertainties that exist about a future tax credit? Who guarantees that the company really finishes the work it starts? And that they are made according to the law? No, evidently not any construction company will have the necessary funding but only those that have a good credit rating: this is the real discrimination. And certainly they will not be small artisan enterprises but medium-sized enterprises, those that perhaps have 50 jobs in progress and in which the risk of not ending on time (the deadline today is at the end of 2021 today but could shift to the end of 2022 as requested by someone) is very small. Who would advance the money to a small artisan company that has 1 or 2 jobs of this type? If he didn’t finish them in time, the bank would lose all the money. “

Excuse me, at this point a doubt arises: the condominium, which had believed it could do the work for free, is faced with a company that must finance itself with a bank or another entity, which involves costs. Who pays them?

“The condominium may be required to pay a small portion of these financing costs. After all, how can those who advance the money be remunerated until, after the end of the works, there is the certification and imprimatur of the Revenue Agency, after which the tax credit can be transferred? But remember also that, for ten years, disputes can always arise. Even in tax credits there is always an alea “.

But sorry, there is that famous 10 percent more that those who anticipate money should pay.

“Look, there is a big misunderstanding here. That 10 percent is not really more. “

How?

“It only represents the financial cost of getting the money spread over time. In fact, I do not get 110 percent of the amount the same year in which the tax credit accrues but diluted over the next 5 years: the state pays it in this way. So in fact I get, in actuarial terms, more or less 100 percent. “

My optimism is rapidly decreasing …

“And rightly so, let’s cut back on super-optimism. Also because, before contracting the works, the condominium will have to do more than one assembly and will have to agree to have an engineer do the project, obtain authorization from the Municipality and in some cases also from the Beni cultural impact on the environment “.

All the money you need in advance. But is there really no way for condominiums to pay nothing?

“There would be a theoretical possibility. When doing work, the construction company typically presents a 20-30 percent discount on materials and services. If he did not make any discount, he would perhaps have a margin to pay interest to the bank and so he could get to the famous zero cost for the condominium “.

Let’s go back to construction companies. You said that the medium-sized ones, already structured, and with a good credit rating have an advantage. But the average ones are not many …

“… yes, and they will tend to favor bigger jobs.”

So there will be a crazy crowding and only a few condominiums will be able to use these facilities? Especially the little ones won’t make it?

“It’s not for sure. Consortia of small businesses or ATI, temporary business associations can be hypothesized, but they must hurry, 2021 (or even 2022) are very close.

Let’s go back to the tax credits. There are those who hypothesize that a real market for banks may arise.

“Not only for banks but also for insurance companies or for large companies such as utilities or any company that has a lot of cash and has to pay a lot of taxes. For all of them it might be convenient to buy these credits, But be careful: nobody does anything for nothing: I can buy a future tax credit because in this way I will compensate the taxes I have to pay but I must have a convenience: so if the value is 100 I will pay it 95-97. Finally, it must be said that this market will not have a future “.

Because?

“Because the state will not be able to pay money forever. Once the emergency is over, all these benefits will have to be removed. “





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