Applying for Italian tax code (in Italian: codice fiscale) seems a simple task, but there are some hidden pitfalls to be aware of. Check them out in the article below.
Table of Content
What is and When an Italian tax code (codice fiscale) is needed:
What do the tax code figures mean.
Where and how to apply for the tax code in Italy.
What document/information is required to apply for the Italian tax code:
Common mistakes when applying for the Italian tax code.
- a. Wrong date of birth format:
- b. Wrong name.
- c. Maiden names: 2
What is and When a tax code (codice fiscale) is needed:
fiscale is assigned at birth to Italians and upon request to non-Italians.
It is a unique taxpayer code that identifies individuals in their dealings with the Italian authorities.
Having a codice fiscale is a mandatory requirement for a wide range of activities, such as: signing a property tenancy contract, buying or inheriting a property, opening a bank account or apply for a mortgage, obtain Italian insurance policies, utilities company contracts of any kind, and, of course, tax filing and payment.
What do the Italian tax code (codice fiscale) figures mean
When you receive your tax code, it is crucial to check that it is correct. The Italian tax code is an alphanumeric 16 figure code generated on the basis of your personal information as follows: family name, name, date and place of birth. The last letter is a control value. For the purposes of this article, here is an example of a fictitious Marie Louise Taylor, born 21st June, 1943 in New York, USA.
Name: If the letters that form your surname and given name(s) permit, only
consonants are selected to form the first six figures of the tax code.
In your application and for a tax code, your given name(s) and surname should be written as it appears in your passport.
IMPORTANT: Make sure that when issued, your tax code certificate / card exactly matches your name as it appears in your passport. For example, if your name is Marie Louise Taylor, but your name is shown as Marie L Taylor in your passport: your application and your tax code card should match your passport information exactly, i.e., Marie L Taylor).
Date of birth: The date of birth is shown starting with the year (43 in the above example), month (H), day (21). The two birth date digits (from 01 to 31) are used for males; if the person is female, 40 is added to the birth date digits (21 – as in our example above, becomes 61).
Each month has a letter code:
of birth: the sequence regarding the place of birth
indicates where an individual was born, which can be an Italian town (all
Italian towns have their own unique code), or a foreign country.
Usually, a foreign country is identified by a sequence starting with “Z”. In other words, if you are from the UK, no matter if you were born in Lands End or John o’Groats, the sequence will be the same Z114 (which identifies the UK). Equally, there is a common code for the USA (all 52 states): the sequence is Z404 whether you were born in Portland Oregon or Miami FL!
The last letter is a control value, generated by the system based on specific criteria.
Where and how to apply for the tax code (codice fiscale) in Italy
In Italy, you can apply for the tax code (or codice fiscale) with any local Tax Office (Agenzia delle Entrate), no matter where your specific interest in Italy is located.
If you are abroad, the application can be also filed through the Consulate. In both cases the application form is provided by the Italian authorities.
You can apply for yourself or appoint someone else, by means of a simple proxy.
What document/information is required to apply for the Italian tax code (codice fiscale):
The only document you need to provide is an ID document such as your passport. No need to get your signature notarised using a Notary Public.
Should you need to apply for your codice fiscale from abroad and do not have a passport, you can provide another valid ID that shows the following information: name, family name, date and place of birth, your picture, your signature.
Common mistakes when applying for the Italian tax code (codice fiscale).
a. Wrong date of birth format:
All too often I have seen the date written in the format of month/day/year, as commonly written in the USA. This error generates an incorrect tax code that does not match date of birth information of your. This is an issue, since any database will reject the registration of information where your tax code and your date of birth is required (i.e., all official documents). Often this issue only becomes apparent at completion or closing of a property purchase. Be sure to check that your tax code is correct in advance.
b. Wrong name
As mentioned above, the name in the tax code must match your ID (say: passport), no matter if you are known by a different name.
a. Maiden names:
This is the most common error of all when it comes to females applying for Italian tax code. Even Notaries Public stumble on this one. Consequence: this mistake might be not recognised upon completion by the Notary himself.
As mentioned above, the tax code certificate or tax code card must bear the name as shown in ID, usually a passport.
Another common error can occur with maiden names. Whereas Italian females may use their spouse’s family name, they retain their maiden name after entering into marriage or a civil partnership. Non-Italian females generally change their family name and are expected to update their passports and all ID accordingly. Given the above, the tax code must match the current information as shown in your passport. Beware of any request to put your tax code application in your maiden name. If in doubt, feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
In older application forms females were expressly requested to indicate their maiden names. This specific requirement in many application forms has led to asking foreign married women who have legally changed their name through marriage or civil partnerships, to indicate their maiden names, too. This can lead to confusion and errors.