The Italian Codice Fiscale, commonly known in English as “Tax Code” or “Fiscal Code” is an Italian identification number, which is similar to the U.S. Social Security Number.
WHAT DOES THE CODICE FISCALE LOOK LIKE?
The decree of December 23, 1976 of the Italian Ministry of Finance contains the norms that regulate the method for calculating the tax code that are followed by the body in charge of issuing the tax code: Agenzia delle Entrate (Italian Tax Office).
For individuals, the Codice Fiscale is formed by 16 alphanumerical characters, which are calculated by using an algorithm which takes into account the individual’s data (name, place and date of birth, sex). Although there are many websites that calculate the tax code, the only valid tax code is the one issued by the Italian Tax Office (Agenzia delle Entrate) which ensures the unicity of the code, even in case of homonymy.
The Codice Fiscale for private entities (i.e. businesses) is a random number assigned by the Italian Tax Office.
WHY DO YOU NEED AN ITALIAN TAX CODE?
The Italian tax code is a mandatory requirement for a number of activities, among these, an Italian tax code is needed in order to:
- Open a bank account in Italy
- Sign an employment contract
- Sign utility contracts
- Access the Italian healthcare system
- Obtain a mortgage
- Purchase motor vehicles
- Register a preliminary contract to purchase a property
- Purchase, sell or rent properties
- Inherit properties
- Work as a freelance
- File tax returns, pay tax and get refunds
Are there any tax implications for having a Tax Code?
No, there aren’t. Having an Italian tax code does not imply any tax duty. In fact, you may have to pay Italian tax duties only if you own certain qualifying assets in Italy, you are an Italian resident or if you earn a taxable income in Italy.
HOW TO OBTAIN AN ITALIAN TAX CODE
Every Italian receives a tax code at birth and it is assigned by the Comune (Municipality) where the birth is registered, while foreigners have to submit an application to the Italian Tax Office (Agenzia delle Entrate) in order to obtain their codice fiscale.
Applying for your Italian tax code is free of charge and is also relatively easy for non-residents: you can request it at any Tax Office in Italy (Agenzie delle Entrate) or at any Italian Embassy or consular office.
You can choose a legal representative to take care of the application on your behalf without the need to go through the Italian bureaucracy on your own and be physically present in Italy.
If you choose to apply through a representative or in person, the tax code will be issued to you on the same day as application.
If you reside in an EU country, in order to apply for an Italian tax code, you need your ID (Passport or Identity Card). You may be asked to present proof of address (i.e. utility bill).
If you reside in a non-EU country or you need a visa to visit Italy, you need to provide your passport and your visa in order to obtain the Italian tax code. Non-EU citizens must also prove that they have the right to stay (even temporarily) in Italy.
Once you receive your certificate regarding the Italian tax code, make sure that all of the information contained in the certificate is correct and matches your ID. Unfortunately, when dealing with foreign names, typos may occur.
In case of incorrect data, you must require a replacement by presenting a valid identification document to any Italian Tax Office (Agenzia delle Entrate).