“Impatriates” – 70%/90% Tax break to attract “human capital” to Italy

Contents

Details of the regime

The Italian Government has in place a special tax regime designed to encourage the movement of “human capital” to Italy (lavoratori impatriati”).

  • The current regime provides that 70% of qualifying income from employment carried out in Italy is exempt from income tax.  So only 30% of gross salary/net profit  is liable to income tax.  100% of salary continues to be liable to social security under normal rules.
  • The exempt portion is 90% (so 10% taxable)  if you take up residence in one of the regions of Abruzzo, Molise, Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Sardinia, Sicily
  • The regime applies for five consecutive accounting periods, until revoked, or until the conditions for the relief cease to apply, and can be extended for a further five years if certain conditions are met.
There are separate but connected regimes for sports professionals, teachers/professors and researchers.

Conditions for the relief

  • A University decree/highly specialized qualification. This condition does not apply for Italian citizens. If you have a degree from outside Italy you should  request a Dichiarazione di Valore from the Italian consulate for the jurisdiction in which the institution awarding your degree is situated. This a certification that the degree is bona fide;
  • The work is performed prevalently in Italy.  This is generally interpreted as requiring that you spend more time, in any tax year, working in Italy than anywhere else;
  • You must have been tax resident outside Italy in for two full tax periods preceding the year in which you transfer to Italy. 
  • Non Italian citizens need to be in a position to prove that they were working for two full tax years, or studying full time for the same period.  People studying at Italian institutions prior to starting work in italy do not appear to qualify for the relief.
  • You must commit to reside in Italy for at least two years – this means you must be tax resident in italy for two full tax years  or risk losing the relief and paying the extra due plus normal penalties;
  • You need to be tax resident in Italy for the whole of the first tax year in which you start work, otherwise the relief will not take effect until the start of the next calendar year. If you move in the latter half of any year, you will pay tax in full on any earnings for the year you move and the relief will not be available until the start of the following year (and that will be the first of the five for which the relief applies);
  • Moving your residence to Italy must be made in connection with the new job.
The conditions for the relief are intricate and need to be verified on an individual basis, case by case. The definition of the conditions is often the subject to a technical analysis of the legislation, Tax Agency guidance and court decisions. 

Social Security and Wealth Tax

The exemption applies only to income taxes. It does not apply to statutory social security contributions (pension and healthcare) which will be calculated on 100% of salary.

Nor does the special regime provide any exemption from Italy’s foreign asset reporting requirements or reduction of  wealth tax generally applicable to people who are tax resident in Italy for any year. 

Extension for a further five years

The income tax exemption applies for a further five tax periods following the end of the first five year period to an individual worker:

 

  • with at least one minor (under 18) or dependent  (over 18 but earning less that the relevant annual financial thresholds for children; and
  • who becomes the owner of at least one residential property in Italy after moving (or in the  12 month period prior to becoming tax resident);
  • during the extension period, the tax exemption drops to 50%, but can increase to 90% for impatriates who purchase real estate in Italy in the first five year period and who at the end of that period have at least three dependent children under the age of 18.
As regards pre 2020 arrivers, the possibility has been granted for them to extend the relief for the further five year period, subject to payment of an amount equal to 10% or 5% – depending on the requirements possessed – of the facilitated income relating to the year preceding that in which the option is exercised. The measure does not apply to professional sportsmen and women.  Payment needs to be made by 30 June of the year following the year in which the first period of use of the “expatriate workers” scheme ended.  The employee should ask their employer to take advantage of the extension by means of a specific written request prior to the start of the second five year period.

 

The possibility of extension for pre 2020 arrivers is limited in the legislation to Italian citizens registered in the AIRE prior to the move at the outset of the first five year term and other EU citizens only. Non EU citizens may anyway have the right to extension dependent on non discrimination provisions of Italy’s treaties with certain other countries .

 

How to claim the relief

If you are an employee you need to make a written letter of request to your employer, ideally before receipt of your first instalment of annual salary in the first tax year that the relief applies – although adjustment via a future payslip for the same year may be possible.   For the self-employed (and those employees who have not presented the letter of request in time) the benefit can be claimed in the relevant annual tax return which will generate the refund either via a payslip, a payment from the authorities or credit to offset future tax liabilities. We can assist with the refund claim.

If you would like advice on whether you qualify for the relief and/or a pre-compiled copy of the letter you need to send your employer please get in touch. 

Interpello (Replies to Requests for Official Ruling)

Resolution no. 72, 26 September  2018  – Work activity performed in Italy and abroad for companies belonging to a multinational group;

Resolution no. 51, 6 July 2018   – Tax residence abroad before impatriation – 2 complete tax years required;

Risposta no. 492/2019 – assignment to France  – importance of lack of continuity;

Risposta no. 495/2019 – taxpayer coming from Ireland – taxed in full on first year (as non resident), commencement of special regime starting from first year of tax residence and following four years;

Risposta no. 497/2019 – taxpayer working abroad, not registered with the AIRE;

Risposta no. 59/2020 – Timing of the benefit – interaction between time of starting work and first year of tax residence  – importance of claiming relief either by request to the employer or in tax return for first period of residence or lose – possibility of claiming relief for remaining years;

Risposta no. 533/2020 – Two years residence abroad for study purposes (Master’s Degree) not sufficient;

Risposta no. 42/2021 – Employee assigned abroad, returning to Italy – importance of non continuity;

Risposta no. 596/2021  – Impatriate’s regime available for employees working remotely for non Italian companies. 

Risposta n. 119/2022  – Return of employee from assignment abroad, continuing on same terms of employment, regime not applicable.

Risposta n. 159/2022  – Return of employee from assignment abroad, continuing on same terms of employment, regime not applicable – useful discussion of the “continuity” principal.

Risposta n. 172/2022 – UK citizen arriving pre-2020 admitted possibility of five year extension due to non discrimination provisions of EU/Italy withdrawal agreement. 

Risposta n. 321/2022 Dual Italian/non EU citizen, a pre-2020 arriver,  denied 5 year extension due to not having been registered in the AIRE prior to transfer to Italy. 

Risposta n. 460/2022 – The self employed cannot switch from regime forfetario to Impatriates Relief in the first five years after transferring residence to Italy

10 Comments on “Impatriates” – 70%/90% Tax break to attract “human capital” to Italy

  1. I am moving Italy by May 2022 and my wife is not moving with me as of now. She will join me end of 2023 or 2024 Q1 as per family reunion visa. In that case, am I eligible to avail this benefits? Thanks.

    • Did you get answer
      I am also moving to italy by September 2022. I need to know this 70% exception applicable for me

    • Whether or not you are tax resident in Italy depends on a series of factors of which registering as resident is certainly one. Your family situation is of relevance but is one factor among many and on its own cannot prevent you from considered tax resident in Italy, but taken with other factors may do so.

    • To get the relief you should be registered as resident with any italian comune (municipality) including municipalities in the Autonomous Province of Bolzano/Alto Adige.

  2. To extend the 5 year, in addition to paying the 5-10% tax, is it possible to gain EU citizenship through Italy (family history)?

  3. Greetings
    Does this reduction apply to a soggionata for many years but had a university degree in her county some years ago?

    • If you are prevented from claiming the extension as a non EU citizen, then gaining Italian citizenship before the end of the five year period will entitle you to extend. You will to check the timescales both for the minimum period of residence (which are defined depending on your family situation) and for the timescale required being making the application for citizenship and its grant (which varies according to a series of factors)

    • Not sure what a soggionata is. You need to be tax resident in Italy in the first year that the relief is to apply and the easiest way to prove this is by applying to be registered as resident with your local comune. If you are not registered as resident you can still be considered tax resident in Italy, if you have your centre of vital interests and habitual abode (only) in Italy and have the right to reside in Italy vai a permesso di soggiorno. However if you are not registered as resident you can expect the Tax agency to make enquiries as to your resdeintials tatus and ask why you do not fulfil your legal obligation to register as resident. The Tax Agency have spent many years trying to prove that individuals (mainly well known sports professionals and performers) were actually tax resident in Italy even if purporting to be resident abroad, and the resulting case law will be useful in proving that an individual is tax resident in Italy even if not registered as resident.

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