This favorable fiscal provision that provides for the exclusion of 90% of remuneration from employment or self-employment income is not aimed only at Italian citizens. So let's take a foreign citizen who from 1 January 2020 acquires tax residence in Italy to carry out research activities at an Italian university, well he too can benefit from the tax relief provided for by the regulation of the return of brains, or “rientro dei cervelli” rules. The law, in fact, does not only concern compatriots as it aims to favor all highly qualified or specialized workers, in particular professors, researchers and managers, who through their scientific knowledge can support the economic, technical and cultural development of Italy. This interpretative tax clarification is illustrated by the Tax ruling of the Agency no. 307 published on 3 September 2020.
A changing fiscal framework - Before arguing its answer, the Revenue Agency recalls how the legislation on the return of brains has been subject to repeated changes and modifications, generally in the direction of a constant expansion of the beneficiaries. In particular, the last regulatory step apply to subjects who acquire the tax residence in Italy starting from the 2020 tax period.
How the tax incentive for professor and researcher works - Summing up, article 44, paragraph 1 of Decree 78/2010 provides a 90% exemption on income from self-employed and employed work for 4 years starting from the year of acquisition of the residence for tax purposes in Italy.
A generous but conditional tax incentive – To benefit of the fiscal relief, a researcher or professor must comply with the following conditions and requirements: have been resident abroad, not occasionally; holding university degree or equivalent qualification; having carried out documented research and course activities abroad for at least two consecutive years, at public or private research centers or universities; acquiring the tax residence in Italy and, finally, carry out teaching or research in Italy. Particularly, the Agency also reminds that individuals resident in Italy are those who, for most of the tax period, namely for at least 183 days (or 184 days in the case of a leap year), are enrolled in the registers of the resident population or have their domicile or residence in the territory of the Italian State. Nothing is specified regarding the nature of the employer, which can be a public or private university, an institution or even a research company.
Yes he can – Therefore, given the normative framework and the personal conditions of the applicant, a foreign researcher, the Agency believes that the proposer of the ruling, who moved to Italy in the 2020 tax period to carry out research activities at an Italian university, can fully benefit from the preferential regime for income produced in Italy starting from 2020 and for five successive periods. However, provided that all the requisites envisaged by the legislation are equally fully met.