New rules for the 2024 Impatriates Regime for Individuals
Legislative Decree no. 209 of 27 December 2023 was published in the Official Gazette (OG General Series No. 301 of 28-12-2023) and is stated to enter force from 1 January 2024.
The Decree, an executive measure, was approved by the Italian Council of Ministers pursuant to authority granted by Parliament by Law No. 111 of 9 August 2023. The Law conferred authority on the Italian Government to revise the Italian tax system, within the general principles of European Union and international tax law.
Amongst other things, the Decree, at article 5, implements a “new” beneficial tax regime for Impatriates purportedly replacing the former regime but only for post 2023 arrivers.
According to the Decree, the new regime will apply to individuals who are tax resident in Italy, for the first time in the past three to seven years, starting from the Italian tax year ending 31 December 2024 (FY 2024), and who apply to register as resident in Italy on or after 1 January 2024. Individuals already benefitting from the former regime at 31 December 2023, or who are registered as resident in Italy with effect on or before 31 December 2023, will remain on the current regime, for the rest of its natural 5 or 10 year term, and will not be impacted by the new rules.
The abolition of the earlier legislation (Article 16 of Legislative Decree 14 September 2015, no. 147, and Article 5, paragraphs 2-bis, 2-ter and 2-quater, of Decree-Law 30 April 2019, no. 34, converted, with amendments, by Law No. 28 June 2019, no. 58)
This means that the (copious) Tax Agency guidance and jurisprudence relating to the old regime will not necessary apply under the new regime.
Table of Contents
Rate of the Relief, Timescale and Earnings Cap
- The relief post 2024 will apply generally at the rate of 50%. Thus 50% of remuneration will be exempt from taxation, the other 50% will be liable to tax at scale rates applicable to the taxpayer’s relevant total income. This rate substitutes the existing dual rates of 70% and 90% under the pre-exisiting regime;
- The Relief will apply for a maximum of five tax periods (generally the calendar year) starting with the first year in which the taxpayer is tax resident in Italy;
- The benefit will be capped at an annual salary of Euro 600,000 – no relief will be available for earnings over that amount;
- The exempt portion of income will rise to 60% for a worker with at least one minor (under age eighteen) child at the time of the transfer to Italy . If the worker has no children at the time of the transfer, in the case of the subsequent birth or adoption of a child, the extra benefit will apply from the tax year in which the child is born or adopted up to the end of the original 5 year period. The child must be tax resident in Italy for the whole of the period in which the tax benefit applies.
Period outside Italy before the transfer
- The worker must have been tax resident outside Italy in the three tax periods preceding the transfer;
- For employees transferring to Italy to work for a company within the same group of companies as their former employer outside Italy, the period abroad prior to the transfer to Italy must be no less than six tax years;
- For employees who have gone abroad and worked for a company belonging to the same group as their original employer in Italy, and who return to work for an Italian company belonging to the same group, the prior period working abroad must be at least seven years.
- Italian citizens must have been registered with the AIRE (the register of Italian resident population) or have been tax resident pursuant to an applicable double tax treaty in another country for the whole of the applicable period (three, four or six years) before transferring to Italy.
Companies are deemed to belong to to the same group where there is a relationship of direct or indirect control within the meaning of Article 2359, para (1), section (1), of the Civil Code between the two companies or where both companies are subject to common direct or indirect control by a third person.
Requirement to Work in Italy and Minimum Period
- The work activity (employment or self employment as a professional) must be carried out for the greater part of the tax period from Italian territory. The relief will not apply to profits from a business activity. The requirement in the original text that the employer be a resident company, appears to have been removed
- The worker must remain tax resident in Italy for four tax years. If the worker does not remain for the minimum term, they will lose the benefit of the Relief and will need to pay the extra tax due with interest (but not any penalty, it would appear);
- The worker must be in possession of the high qualification or specialisation requirements defined by specific Italian legislation (a minimum three year degree or higher educational qualification attested by the country of origin and recognized in Italy). This requirement applies alike to Italian citizens, EU blue card holders and non EU citizens legally holding the right to remain within italian territory).
Extension of the initial five year period
The reduced tax regime can be extended for a further three tax years, after the initial five, for those who purchase a residential real estate unit to be used as a main residence on or before 31 December 2023 and, in any case, in the 12 months prior to the transfer of residence.
Our interpretation of the legislation is that in order to get the three year extension an individual:
- must have completed a purchase of real estate on or before 31 December 2023; and
- must be considered tax resident in Italy (under the new rules on tax residence) for FY 2024; and
- must register as resident in Italy no later than 12 months after the purchase of the property.
This interpretation needs to be confirmed by the official guidance.
In the further three year period, taxable income is reduced by 50%.
The provisions of the old regime (70% or 90% relief) will continue to apply to those who have succesfully applied to be registered as resident in Italy (with the list of resident population “anagrafe“) on or before 31 December 2023 or, for sportsmen and women, to those who have stipulated the relevant employment contract by that date.
EU State Aid Limitation
According to the Decree the provisions of this article apply in compliance with the conditions and limitations of Regulation (EU) 1407/2013 of the Commission of December 18, 2013 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid, Commission Regulation (EU) 1408/2013 of Commission of December 18, 2013 on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid in the agricultural sector, and Commission Regulation (EU) 717/2014 of the Commission of June 27, 2014 on the on the application of Articles 107 and 108 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union to de minimis aid in the fisheries and aquaculture.
This broad statement, which amplifies a similar intention in the previous regulations will be of significant importance to high earning self employed, who will be likely to a maximum tax saving of Euro 200,000 over any three period. It remains to be seen whether the Italian government will implement specific rules limiting the tax benefit for employees.
Social Security and Wealth Tax
The exemption is expressed to apply only to income taxes. It does not necessarily apply to statutory social security contributions (pension, healthcare and unemployment benefit) which, for employees are, according to the authorities, calculated on 100% of salary.
In Circular number 52 of 7 June 2023, the Italian Social Security Institute (INPS) has confirmed that for certain self employed workers the social security basis is the same as that the reduced basis used to calculate the income tax – i.e. the reduced basis by viriue of the Impatriates Relief. The circular makes reference to the former Impatriates Regime, but it is believed that the reduction (50% or 60%) will continue to apply from FY 2024 onward.
The Impatriates Regime does not provide any exemption from Italy’s foreign asset reporting requirements (Section RW) or exemption/reduction of wealth tax generally applicable to people who are tax resident in Italy for any year.
Professors and Research Workers
The new rules do not impact the existing regime applicable to professors and research workers.
it will likely be necessary to review the usual guidelines issued by the Tax Agency containing exact details and definitions of some of the terminology used. It is hoped that these guidelines will be issued shortly.