All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 ITR is part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC group.

Italy: Green light given to deductibility of interest expenses for real estate companies involved in the shopping mall business



Giovanni Aprile

Alban Zaimaj

Two recent decisions of the Italian tax Courts strike a blow for real estate operators, rejecting an odd interpretation taken by the Italian Revenue Agency in recent tax audits regarding the deductibility of interest expenses, which could have heavily hurt real estate companies involved in the shopping mall business. In fact, the deductibility of interest expenses plays a key role for the real estate operators involved in the shopping mall business. Their business model, actually, relies on the revenues derived from the rental of the shopping malls to serve the mortgage loans (and the related interest expenses) granted for the acquisition of the real estate properties.

In this regard, for these companies the favourable regime established by Article 1, paragraph 36 of Budget Law 2008 is applicable, which provides the full deductibility of interest expenses accrued on mortgage loans granted for the acquisition of real estate properties to be rented out, instead of the ordinary regime, which provides for the deductibility of interest expenses up to the amount of interest income plus 30% of the company's Ebitda.

In this context, relying on the above provision, real estate companies which enter into the above-mentioned mortgage loan agreements deduct entirely interest expenses.

Differently, the Italian Revenue Agency, on the basis of a surprisingly restrictive interpretation, challenged the deductibility regime adopted by these companies, maintaining that this regime could be applied only by the so called "immobiliari di gestione", which are companies whose business activity is limited to the "passive" management of real estate property. In the view of the Revenue Agency, companies operating in the shopping mall business could not be considered as "immobiliari di gestione" in case they provided any other additional services (for example, cleaning and maintenance services, security services, management of common parts) to tenants, with the result that the management activity of such companies could not be considered passive. On these grounds, the Revenue Agency raised several assessments to real estate companies, denying the full deductibility of interest expenses and thus increasing the tax burden on such companies.

In contrast, Italian Tax Courts, relying also on the Circular 29 March 2013, No. 7, rejected the interpretation of the Revenue Agency and upheld that real estate companies involved in the shopping mall business were to be considered "immobiliari di gestione".

Indeed, the Courts stressed how the overall amount of revenues derived from the ancillary services was negligible compared to the rental revenues. Consequently, the provision of additional services did not transform, neither from a quantitative nor a qualitative perspective, the lease agreements into an integrated service agreement. Hence, the full deductibility of interest expenses was maintained.

Although Italy is not a common law country, the two judgments highlight a positive trend in favour of real estate operators. It cannot be ruled out, however, that these judgements will be appealed considering the obstinacy of the Revenue Agency in carrying out carpet assessments in this sector.

Giovanni Aprile ( and Alban Zaimaj (

Tremonti Vitali Romagnoli Piccardi e Associati

Tel: +39 06 321 8022 (Rome); +39 02 5831 3707 (Milan)


More from across our site

The fast-food company’s tax settlement with French authorities strengthens the need for businesses to review their TP arrangements and documentation.
The full ALP model will be adopted through a new TP regime, which is set to boost the country’s investments and tax certainty.
Tax professionals have called on the UK government to reconsider its online sales tax as it would affect the economy at the worst time.
Tax professionals have called on companies to act urgently to meet e-invoicing compliance targets as the EU plans to ramp up digitisation.
In the wake of India’s ambitious 25-year plan for economic growth, ITR has partnered with leading tax commentators to discuss what the future will look like for India and for the rest of the world.
But experts cast doubt on HMRC's data and believe COVID-19 would have increased the revenue shortfall.
EY’s plan to separate its auditing and consulting businesses might lessen scrutiny from global regulators, but the brand identity could suffer, say sources.
Multinationals are asking world leaders to put a scale on carbon pricing to tackle climate change at the 48th G7 summit in Germany, from June 26 to 28.
The state secretary told the French press that the country continues to oppose pillar two’s global minimum tax rate following an Ecofin meeting last week.
This week the Biden administration has run into opposition over a proposal for a federal gas tax holiday, while the European Parliament has approved a plan for an EU carbon border mechanism.
We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree