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In this page: Corporate Taxes | Accounting Rules | Consumption Taxes | Individual Taxes | Double Taxation Treaties | Sources of Fiscal Information

 

Corporate Taxes

Tax Base For Resident and Foreign Companies
Companies having their legal or administrative headquarters or their principal business activity within the Italian territory are considered to be resident companies.
A foreign company holding one or more Italian subsidiaries is deemed to be resident in Italy for tax purposes if it is (either directly or indirectly) held by Italian tax resident persons; or its board of directors is made up mostly of Italian resident individuals.
The definition of permanent establishment follows the OECD's model.
 

Tax Rate

Corporate tax (IRES - Imposta sul Reddito delle Società) 24%
Regional Tax (IRAP - Regional tax on productive activities) 3.9% for general companies, 4.65% for banks and financial institutions and 5.9% for insurance companies (average rates, vary region by region).
Regional authorities have the right to increase or decrease the Irap rates within the limit of 0.92%.
 
Tax Rate For Foreign Companies
Resident companies are taxed on their worldwide revenue. Non-resident companies are taxed on their Italian-sourced income.
Foreign tax credit is available on tax paid on foreign-source income.
Capital Gains Taxation
In general, capital gains are treated as ordinary income and taxed at the corporate income rate of 24%, plus IRAP at 3.9%. Capital gains derived from the sale of participations may be 95% tax-exempt if the following conditions are met: a) the participation has been held for a minimum uninterrupted period of 12 or 13 months; b) the participation is classified as a financial fixed asset in the first financial statement closed after the participation was acquired; c) the majority of the subsidiary's income is not generated in a tax haven country or one with a privileged tax regime over the last three years before the disposal; and d) the company in which the participation is held carries out a business activity continuously over the last three years before the disposal.
Capital gains obtained by non-resident companies are taxed at a 26% rate.
Main Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Business expenses directly related to income generation are generally deductible: costs of setting up a business, commissions, depreciation and amortisation, staff bonuses and remuneration, royalties, advertising and entertainment expenses (capped). IMU is deductible for IRES purposes up to 100% from FY 2022.
Interest expense is fully tax-deductible up to the amount of interest income. Interest expense in excess is deductible at up to 30% of the gross EBITDA, and the part in excess of the yearly limitation is carried forward in the following five fiscal years. Specific rules apply to the deduction of bad debts. Travel expenses incurred within the municipality are tax-deductible up to 75% (however, VAT is fully deductible).

An "allowance for corporate equity” (ACE) is available, consisting of a deduction equal to the net increase in the equity employed, multiplied by a rate determined each year (1.3% in 2022). The deduction is available each year, provided the equity increase is not diminished.

Company car expenses can be deducted up to 20% for cars that are not assigned to employees or are granted to employees solely for business use, and 70% if they are destined to employees for both business and private purposes. Mobile and landline telephones expenses are deductible up to 80%.

Deductions are available for charitable contributions. Meals and lodging expenses incurred within the municipality are deductible up to 75% of the expense incurred, whereas the cap for telephone expenses is set at 80%.

Losses may be carried forward and offset against corporate taxable income; however, 20% of taxable income in any year cannot be offset by carried-forward losses and is subject to corporate tax. Losses incurred in the first three tax periods may be carried forward to be offset against 100% of taxable income if these losses are linked to a new business activity. The carryback of losses is not permitted.

A tax credit equal to 50% of expenses for sanitizing the environment and work tools has been granted due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, donations made over the course of 2020 to fight the pandemic are fully

The patent box regime and R&D credit scheme grant tax credits subject to qualifying provisions to companies that invest in R&D. The tax exemption is up to 20% of the expenditure (capped at EUR 5 million) and can be granted to the permanent establishments of foreign companies if the latter are based in countries with which Italy has concluded a tax treaty and which exchange tax information with the company.

Other Corporate Taxes
A municipal tax is generally applied at a rate between 1.06% and 0.76% (generally 0.86%) on company-owned real estate (IMU). Municipal taxes are also calculated on the IMU for a common tax (IUC - Imposta unica comunale) on service (TASI) and refuse (TARI).

A transfer tax is applicable to all transactions registered with the public register, generally taxed at a percentage of the value.

Stamp duty ranging from EUR 2 to EUR 100 is levied on legal and banking transactions, at varying rates. Stamp duty applies to the transfer of shares or other financial instruments issued by resident companies at 0.2% transaction value, or 0.1% if the sale is made on a stock exchange (so-called "Tobin Tax").

Companies deemed to be "non-operating" are subject to a tax on a deemed minimum income at a rate of 34.5%. Non-operating status includes companies: with low turnover and inventory increase rates, with insufficient revenues, that are unprofitable or declare tax losses for 5 consecutive fiscal tax years.

A regional tax on productive activities (IRAP) of 3.9% is levied on the net value of production in each Italian region by resident companies and permanent establishments (PEs) of foreign companies. The rate may vary by up to 0.92% across regions. IRAP is on average 4.65% for banks and financial institutions and 5.9% for insurance companies.

A 30% withholding tax is levied on compensation paid to a non-resident company for the use of industrial, commercial and scientific equipment in Italy.

A Digital services tax (DST) was introduced in 2020. It is levied on taxpayers that, at a group level, have annual global turnover over EUR 750 million in the previous calendar year and annual revenue from digital services rendered in Italy of over EUR 5.5 million in the previous calendar year, irrespective of their tax residency. The rate is 3% of gross revenue net of VAT or indirect taxes. Companies subject to the tax must maintain monthly records of relevant transactions.

Social security contributions depend on the activity performed by the company, the number of employees, and the employee's position. For employers, the contribution is generally around 30%.

Other Domestic Resources
Italian Revenue Agency
Doing Business: Italy, to obtain a summary of taxes and mandatory contributions
 

Country Comparison For Corporate Taxation

  Italy OECD Stati Uniti Germania
Number of Payments of Taxes per Year 14.0 10.1 10.6 9.0
Time Taken For Administrative Formalities (Hours) 238.0 163.6 175.0 218.0
Total Share of Taxes (% of Profit) 59.1 41.6 36.6 48.8

Source: Doing Business - Latest available data.

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Accounting Rules

 

Accounting System

Accounting Standards
Since November 2001, the Italian Accounting Organisation (Organismo Italiano di Contabilità– OIC) has been in charge of accounting standards. The OIC replaced the ‘Commissione Paritetica per la Statuizione dei Principi Contabili’, which had previously published 30 accounting standards. Italian accounting standards do not have force of law. Listed companies and banks are required to adopt International Accounting Standards (IAS)/International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Small entities cannot adopt IAS/IFRS accounting principles.
Accounting Regulation Bodies
OIC, Italian Accounting Organisation
Accounting Law
Italian accounting is essentially based on the Civil Code of 1942 (especially articles 2424 and 2449), as amended by the decree of 9 April 1991 integrating the fourth and seventh European Directives.
Difference Between National and International Standards (IAS/IFRS)
IFRS Standards are required for all domestic public companies and listings by foreign companies (except in the case of a foreign company whose home jurisdiction’s standards are deemed by the EU to be equivalent to the IFRS Standards. IFRSs are not required for SMEs.
 

Accounting Practices

Tax Year
From 1 January to 31 December
Accounting Reports
Italian companies must submit the following documents in their financial statements: a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, notes to the accounts and an annual report.
Annual reports are not required for smaller companies, which prepare short-form balance sheets if financial and economic parameters are met for two consecutive financial years. Such companies cannot adopt IAS/IFRS accounting principles
Publication Requirements
The annual report, audit report, financial statements and a copy of the minutes of the AGM (Assemblea dei soci) must be filed with the company register 30 days after the AGM. Unlimited liability companies (SNC, SAS) are not required to publish their accounts, but must draw up a balance sheet and a profit and loss account. Companies listed on the stock exchange must draw up quarterly financial statements. Small companies are authorised to draw up financial statements in a shorter form.
 

Accountancy Profession

Accountants
The Consiglio Nazionale dei Dottori Commercialisti e degli Esperti Contabili is the professional body established by in 2005. Being the only professional body in Italy, it represents all members of the profession both inside the country and abroad, monitors activities at a local scale and issues regulations and recommendations, including the Code of Ethics.

Esperti contabili are regular accountants that are authorised to deliver accounting services and perform limited audit functions while dottori commercialisti can also undertake company appraisals, insolvency procedures, defend clients before tax courts, and perform full scope audit and assurance services for non-statutory audits.
Professional Accountancy Bodies
CNDCEC, National Council of Professional Accountants
INRC, National Institute of Auditors
Member of the International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)
Yes
Member of Other Federation of Accountants
Italy is part of the IASB (International Accounting Standards Board), the EFRAG (European Financial Reporting Advisory Group) and Accountancy Europe.
Audit Bodies
The Civil Code requires limited liability companies (with more than 120,000 EUR in capital) to appoint an audit committee (collegio sindicale) of three to five members at the AGM. The audit committee is appointed for three years and may be prolonged indefinitely. These members must give an account of their audit in an annual report, which is to be included in the company’s financial statements. There is no legal requirement for the audit report to be presented in a particular manner. Companies listed on the stock exchange must have their accounts audited by external independent auditors (società di revisione).
 
 

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Consumption Taxes

Nature of the Tax
IVA (Imposta sul Valore Aggiunto)
Standard Rate
22% in 2022
Reduced Tax Rate
The Italian legislation provides several reduced VAT rates:
- 4% for listed food, drinks, and agricultural products, books, newspapers and periodicals, medical equipment
- 5% for the supply of social, health and education services (e.g., medical diagnostics, provision of hospital services and care) by Cooperative Sociali and their consortiums to certain categories of people (such as the elderly, the disabled, drug-addicted persons and AIDS patients); the supply of anti–COVID-19 goods; and the supply of certain feminine hygiene products
- 10% for medicines, supplies of food and drink in restaurants, bars and hotels, supplies of electricity, methane and liquid petroleum, all for domestic use, electricity and gas for use by extraction enterprises and industrial enterprises, accommodation services rendered by marina resorts, and the supply of feminine hygiene products (different from the ones listed above for 5%).

From 20 December 2020 to 31 December 2022, an exemption with credit applies in respect of the supply of COVID-19 in vitro diagnostic medical devices and related services, as well as for the supply of COVID-19 vaccines.

Exclusion From Taxation
Specific supplies of goods and services expressly listed in Presidential Decree n. 633/72 are exempt from VAT, including banking and financial, insurance, hospital and medical care, education, supply, and leasing of particular immovable property. These activities are not deductible for VAT expenses.
VAT is zero-rated for exports, intra-community supplies, sale and service of high-sea vessels etc. and is deductible for VAT expenses.
Method of Calculation, Declaration and Settlement
VAT is charged the price or customs value of the goods or services and applies to activities by a VAT entrepreneur as well as intra-community acquisition and imports of goods. All entities that make taxable supplies are obliged to register for VAT. Electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) is mandatory in relation to transactions carried out by VAT taxable persons established in Italy that make supplies to VAT taxable persons (B2B) established in Italy and private subjects (B2C) resident in Italy.
Taxpayers are required to submit a VAT return electronically by the end of April of the following calendar year, as well as quarterly reports on their VAT calculations (by the end of the second month following the relevant quarter). Taxpayers also are required to submit quarterly reports on their VAT calculations, by the end of the second month following the relevant quarter. A quarterly report on cross-border transactions must be filed by the end of the month following the relevant quarter. From 1 July 2022, it will be mandatory to transmit data through the interchange system (SDI) on transactions carried out with non-resident counterparties.
Other Consumption Taxes
Several goods and services are subject to excise taxes in Italy, including: energetic products like petrol, gas oil, natural gas, coal; alcohol and alcoholic drinks; processed tobaccos and electric power.
Various stamp duties apply.

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Individual Taxes

Tax Base For Residents and Non-Residents
An individual is deemed to be resident for income tax purposes if he/she is registered at the civil registry or is domiciled in Italy for more than 183 days in a year.
 

Tax Rate

EUR 0 - 15,000 23%
EUR 15,001 - 28,000 25%
EUR 28,001 - 50,000 35%
EUR 50,001 and over 43%
Municipality Tax 0 to 0.8%
Regional Tax 0.7% to 3.33%
Self-Employed Resident Individuals Flat tax of 15% on up to EUR 65,000 of business and professional gross income, without being subject to additional regional and municipal taxes (conditions apply)
A reduced flat tax of 5% applies for new activities (conditions apply)
 
Allowable Deductions and Tax Credits
Provided that the conditions requested by law are met, the main deductions from gross taxable income, if they have not been deducted from each kind of income, are the following:

- Employee’s mandatory social security contributions are fully deductible
- Social security contributions paid for domestic employees: up to EUR 1,549.37
- Medical expenses for disabled individuals are fully deductible
- Contributions paid to the specific complementary pension funds are deductible, up to EUR 5,164.57
- Voluntary social security contributions paid to the mandatory pension scheme

Individuals can fully deduct from taxable income the alimony paid to a separate or divorced spouse resulting from a court judgment. Contributions to certain religious entities can be deductible from the taxable income up to EUR 1,032.91 per taxpayer.
Other deductions include maintenance allowance, university expenses, medical expenses, dependent elderly or disabled persons, etc.

In determining taxable income, Italy has adopted a system of tax credits (i.e. up to EUR 1,880 for employment income, up to EUR 1,104 for self-employment, up to EUR 800 for dependant spouse, up to EUR 1,200 for each child below three years, or EUR 950 for each child above three years, EUR 750 for other dependants, etc.).
Other credits include: medical expenses (19% of the amount in excess of EUR 129.11), interest on real estate mortgage loans (19%, capped at EUR 4,000), life and accident insurance (up to EUR 530 or 1,291.14 depending on the type), annual rental fees paid for the principal abode (for incomes below EUR 30,987.41).

Law no. 21/2020 and the Italian Budget Law for FY 2021 introduced a distinct mechanism for reducing taxes, consisting of an additional tax deduction. It is due, from 1 July to 31 December 2020, in the case of incomes between EUR 28,000-40,000, in two separate measures, which decrease with increasing income:
- EUR 480 from 1 July 2020 to the end of December 2020 and EUR 960 from 1 January 2021 onwards, increased by the product between EUR 120 (from 1 July 2020 to the end of December 2020) and EUR 240 (from 1 January 2021 onwards) and the amount corresponding to the ratio between EUR 35,000, less the total income, and EUR 7,000, if the total income is greater than EUR 28,000 but not EUR 35,000.
- EUR 480 from 1 July 2020 to the end of December 2020 and EUR 960 from 1 January 2021 onwards, if the total income is greater than EUR 35,000 but not EUR 40,000; the deduction is due for the part corresponding to the ratio between the amount of EUR 40,000, less the total income, and the amount of EUR 5,000.

Special Expatriate Tax Regime
Non-residents are only taxed on income and gains arising in Italy, compared to worldwide income and gains for residents.

Under the “Neo-domiciled tax regime”, individuals who migrate their tax residency to Italy (if they did not have an Italian tax residency for at least nine years over ten fiscal years preceding the transfer) are allowed to opt for their non-Italian sourced income to be taxed in with a flat substitutive tax, at a fixed amount of EUR 100,000.
Resident individuals are taxed 26% on interest (12.5% on Italian treasury bonds or similar bonds), dividends and capital gains on non-qualified participations. Non-resident individuals resident in a “white list” country are not taxed on capital gains related to non-qualified participations, and gains realized by non-residents on the disposal of shares listed on a stock market are exempt. Otherwise, non-residents are taxed at the 26% flat rate on dividends, capital gains related to participations and interest.
Under the new “Foreign Pensioners’ regime”, individuals that already receive a foreign pension may opt to pay a substitutive tax of 7% on all foreign source income in lieu of the progressive tax rates for a period of ten years.
Capital Tax Rate
Financial assets held abroad by a resident individual (i.e. bank accounts, participations, etc.) are taxed at 0.2% of the market value. Immovable property outside Italy owned by a resident individual is subject to tax at a rate of 0.76% of the original cost or market value of the property (0.4% applies to principal residences).
Italy levies a gift/inheritance tax, with rates varying between 4%, 6% or 8% (with exemption up to EUR 1 million for close relatives).
Social security contributions payable by the employee generally amount to around 10% of the gross salary.
Municipalities levy a "unique municipal tax" (Imposta municipale unica or IUC), composed of three different taxes: municipal tax (Imposta municipale propria or IMU); garbage tax (Imposta sui rifiuti or TARI); indivisible service tax (Imposta sui servizi indivisibili or TASI). Rates vary according to the municipality.

Self-employed individuals with a structured organisation and non-resident taxpayers exercising business activity in Italy throughout a permanent establishment or a partnership are also subject to IRAP (whose flat rate can go up to 3.9%).

Directors operating in the financial sector are subject to an additional 10% tax levied on the variable compensation exceeding the fixed remuneration on bonuses of stock options and variable payments.
Resident individuals are taxed on interest at a flat rate of 26% (12.5% for interest on Italian treasury bonds). Capital gains derived by an individual on the disposal of Italian immovable property normally are taxed as miscellaneous income, but are exempt from tax if the individual held the property for more than five years. Gains arising from the sale of a principal residence are not subject to tax.

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Double Taxation Treaties

Countries With Whom a Double Taxation Treaty Have Been Signed
Ministry of Finance website, Signed conventions and treaties (in Italian)
Withholding Taxes
Dividends: 0% (resident company) / 1.2% (domestic final WHT on dividends distributed to shareholders resident in an EU/EEA country) / 26% (individuals and non-EEA companies);
Interest: 0% (resident company) / 12.5% (for government bonds) / 26% (individuals and non-resident companies);
Royalties: 0% (resident companies and individuals) / 22.5% (non-residents).

Withholding taxes may be reduced under an international tax treaty.

Bilateral Agreement
As of the 1st of May 2010, Italia has signed taxation agreements with 81 countries. Visit the Ministry of Finances website. (in English)

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Latest Update: September 2022