Do you have a VAT number? Here’s how to file your 2021 tax return

Find out if you have to declare your taxes this year, and how to do it.

4 min read

Everyone working in Italy has to file their income tax declarations with the Tax Authority every year, whether you’re an employee or a freelancer. Why do we need to file an income tax declaration? Are there different types, and when are they due? Learn the answers with our practical guide to 2021 income tax declarations.

What exactly are income tax declarations?

A tax declaration is a tax and accounting document that informs the Tax Authority of an individual’s income. It details how much money the individual earned during the previous year. Every tax resident in Italy needs to file one—that means if you’re a registered Italian resident, or if you have a residence in Italy for 183 to 184 calendar days per year.

Who has to file tax declarations?

You are required to file an income tax declaration if:

  • You earned a taxable income in the relevant tax period.

  • You are an entrepreneur or a professional—even if you did not earn any income or only incurred losses.

Types of income tax declarations

There are various types of tax declaration forms you can file in 2021.

  • The 730 Declaration (Modello 730)

  • The Sole Certificate (Certificazione Unica, CU)

  • Income Tax Declaration for Individuals (Modello Redditi Persone Fisiche, formerly the Single Form for Individuals, Modello Unico PF)

  • VAT Declaration.

Who needs to file the 730 or the CU Form?

You’re required to file the 730 Form if you fit into one of the following categories. You are a:

  • Pensioner or employee

  • Employee in temporary redundancy-avoidance schemes

  • Partner in cooperatives for production and labor, services, agriculture, and the processing of raw agricultural products and small fishing businesses

  • Priest with the Catholic Church

  • Regional, provincial, and municipal counselors

  • Community worker

  • Agricultural producer who are exempt from filing a substitutive tax declaration (770 form), IRAP, and VAT.

If you don’t file the 730 Form, then you’re required to file the Sole Certificate (Certificazione Unica, CU). The CU is chiefly aimed at employees and pensioners. Employers should provide the form for their employees, and the INPS will provide the form for pensioners.

The CU is also used to declare income from independent work, commissions, and any other sources of income, such as fees obtained from short-term lease contracts (referred to as the “Airbnb Tax”). The CU is particularly important for the pre-filled 730 declaration, as it provides the Tax Authority with the data it needs to pre-fill the form.

Income Tax Declaration for Individuals—who needs to file this form?

The Income Tax Declaration for Individuals is intended for all those who can’t use the 730 form, namely:

  • Anyone with a VAT number, even if they have not generated any income that year

  • All those with income as an employee that don’t fall under the umbrella of substitutive tax, such as employees of employers applying a forfeit regime (Regime Forfettario)

  • Anyone who files a declaration on behalf of a deceased person

  • Anyone who earned income from abroad

A VAT declaration must be filed by anyone with a VAT number, who operates a business, or provides professional or artistic services—excluding self-employed individuals who are subject to the minimum or forfeit tax regimes. The form must include details on all incoming and outgoing amounts in the previous year, which is then used to calculate the applicable tax amount required. This calculation is used to determine whether a taxpayer has to pay VAT and whether they are entitled to a VAT reimbursement.

Tax declarations for anyone with a VAT number

In general, anyone running their business with a VAT number—such as professionals, artisans, traders, freelancers, and individual businesses—must complete the Income Tax Declaration for Individuals (Modello Redditi Persone Fisiche). As mentioned above, the declaration should also be filled by anyone who applies either the minimum or the forfeit tax regimes. Please consult your tax advisor for specific information on your personal situation.

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Tax declaration calendar—filing dates for 2021

The tax filing dates for 2021 declarations depend on the type of form you use:

  • The 730 Form has to be filed by September 30, 2021. The pre-filled form is available from April 30, 2021.

  • The CU Form must be completed online by March 16, 2021. If the CU includes exempt income or income that cannot be declared via the pre-filled 730 form, the filing date is deferred to October 31, 2021.

  • The Income Tax Declaration for Individuals must be sent between May 2 and June 30, 2021 as a hard copy via post. If sent online, the deadline is November 30, 2021.

  • VAT Declarations must be completed online by April 30, 2021.

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