New tax regime for players who move to Italy boosts Serie A financial firepower

The new special tax regime for newly resident workers will make Italian football clubs extremely competitive in the market for foreign players by reducing taxes on the salaries of players who move to Italy.


Italian clubs have received a huge boost to their financial firepower when bringing in foreign players, after Italy approved its special tax regime for newly resident workers (lavoratori impatriati). The law is similar to the so-called 'Beckham Law' in Spain, which Real Madrid took advantage of when signing David Beckham in 2003, making the cost of his salary far cheaper than it would have been.

The new Italian regime applies to all workers who have been non-resident duing the two previous years and who will be working mainly in Italy, irrespective of their qualifications or role, meaning it applies to fooball players and coaches.

Huge tax reduction for foreign players who move to Italy

Under the new tax law players who move to Italy from abroad will be given a tax exemption covering 50% of their salaries, meaning a player earning €10M euros would only be taxed on €5M. That would give a tax bill of around €2.15M at the top rate of 43%, which is an effective rate of 21.5% (compared to 45% in Spain or the UK). Given that players almost always receive their salaries net of tax, that is the club pays both the salary and the tax, this new regime makes it far cheaper for Italian clubs to bring in foreign players.

The original proposal for the law set out an exemption of 70% of the income, with that being increased to 90% if the incoming individual moved to one of the southern 'deprived' regions of the country, however the final approved law saw these dramatic exemptions reduced to 50%.

Players need to agree to a two year minimum contract

Incoming players and coaches who wish to take advantage of the law will need to agree to stay for a minimum of 24 months. Furthermore they can only take advantage of the new tax regime if they pay a further 0.5% of their taxable income to the state, with this money being used to invest in training.

What is yet to be decided is when the law will come into effect. In principle it is expected that it will apply to income as of January, meaning that players who sign this summer will be subject to normal tax for six months, before moving onto the reduced rates in 2020.

The new law has given a clear impetus to the transfer market in Italy this summer, with more activity than in recent years, and rumours over signing major names such as Pogba, de Ligt, Lukaku and James Rodríguez whose salaries have all become a lot cheaper.

One other thing to note is that the regime applies to Italian nationals who have lived outside the country for two years, provided they meet a series of requirements. Alas for Buffon, he's only been away for one year...


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