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Napol01
11/6/2019 12:14 EST

I have been offered a 5 hour volunteer position in a non-profit organization, I believe they call it an association. We are  dual citizens American/Italian. We have been living here for under 183 days in 2019 and are considered non-residents for tax purposes.  I have been told that even if you live in Italy for under 183 days in a calendar year but generate Italian source  income  you will be subject to become a tax resident.  I will not be generating any income from this position strictly voluntary. I have to register with with this company showing my Italian passport and codice fiscale and am not sure if a volunteer status could be subject to becoming a tax resident, which brings me to my question.
Has anyone done volunteer work for a company and if so did you have to file something at the end of the tax year.

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HenryGiovanni
11/7/2019 17:06 EST

Hi Napol01,

I can answer some of your questions, maybe not all. I volunteer at one of the local museums. I had to join the "association" (basically, "Friends of the Museum" or some sort) without having to give any personal documentation (that I recall). There was a fee to join the Association in order for me to "volunteer", but it was minimal, and so I paid it just for the chance to actually contribute to life over here (OK, the hyperbole is done, so I can just say it gave me something to do and leave it at that).

As I recall, no docs were required, not even a Codice Fiscale, because I would NEVER be paid.

Mind you, that was THIS YEAR, and I only filed my tax return for the first time for LAST YEAR. Still and all, I can't see how doing unpaid volunteer work would affect your tax liability in the least. It's not like you are getting any income from any source.

Also, I signed no "agreements" about time to be worked, and show up as I please (a schedule, made by me, that isn't necessarily followed in any given week, especially by me).

When we did do our taxes for this year (2018, which includes a prepayment for 2019, as "first-time-around-filers: here in Italy), the person who did it was only interested in "official" documents, from either the US or Italy.

Here's the bottom line: I'm donating my personal time and effort, with no expectation of pay (and, indeed, there will be none of that nonsense). Go ahead and tax me on something that doesn't exist; the tax percentage on "Zero Income", whatever that percentage may be, is still "Zero". It's just math, plain and simple.

And, as to your question, I cannot see how a "zero income" would make you a "tax resident", not from any perspective. I can always be wrong on that; this it Italia, after all, and things are certainly different here. But remember: just because people "ask" doesn't mean you have to "provide answers". If I'm volunteering (which I am, by the way) it in no way requires me to give a Codice Fiscale to anyone under any circumstance. But that's just my way of looking at things. Folks can ask all they want, and may go away disappointed in the end. Not my problem.

Hope this helps.
Cheers, John.

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Napol01
11/11/2019 15:09 EST

I am so sorry for not writing back sooner. Thank you to clarify what is expected and required of a volunteer.

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HenryGiovanni
11/12/2019 07:47 EST

Hi Napol01,
No problem. I was in at the museum today and thought to ask them what I might expect in the way of tax reporting (ie- them reporting me to the tax guys). I explained that it wasn't for me and this is what [I think] they said:

First, if you do volunteer work (presumes no pay) for an Italian non-profit "association" that does no commercial business and expects to not pay you, then you are not going to have your name submitted to the tax authorities. For example, I work for the Associazione Culturale dei Amici della Museo Storico della Terza Armata, or, basically, the Association of the Friends of the Museum, or some such, which I take to be along the lines of a standard (US) state-organized non-profit corp. It seems like corps the world over are formed in more-or-less the same manner, for more-or-less the same purposes, and with more-or-less the same laws that apply. This is, of course, a shoe that may not fit all feet.

But, . . . if you work for an international corporation, their reporting is another matter. My Italian beat me over the head while I was trying to understand the guy who was explaining the intricate details, so I have little to offer on this score.

And, . . . if you work for an Associazione Libero (think of an American for-profit corporation formed under the laws of a particular state, if I have that correct), well, that is another matter, too. In this case, your name will be reported because they, too, have different reporting requirements, and must regularly (quarterly?) report all personnel, paid or not, to the tax authorities. You may get a "zero-income 1099" (to use US tax terms), and may have to report it, and still pay nothing, but this COULD (I don't know) open you up to tax residency here in Italy on other income or assets.

My Italian is not good enough to get into these deep subjects very well, so my advice is to check with a local notaio. Or, better yet, you can check with the "Centro Servizi Voluntariato" in your town (or in the next largest town, or even online (?)). These guys can give you far better info than I can, and probably for free. I note here that my info is also given for free, but is likely not better!

Note that, if Italian corps are formed under the various STATE laws (as they are in the US, and not under Fed law), then the laws of the various states may differ, but I don't know that for sure either.

It's possible that all we've learned today is that I don't really know very much! : )

Cheers, and hope this helps,
John.

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