The Supreme Court of Cassation, with Ordinance n. 15248 of 16 July last, ruled on the need for ecclesiastical bodies that intend to benefit from the tax breaks provided for non-profit organizations to fulfill the obligation of communication pursuant to art. 11 of Legislative Decree no. 460 of 1997.

The latter provides that "The single registry of the ONLUS is established at the Ministry of Finance ... the subjects who undertake the exercise of the activities envisaged in art. 10, communicate it within thirty days to the regional directorate of revenue of the Ministry of Finance in whose territorial ambit their tax domicile is located, in accordance with a specific model approved by decree of the Minister of Finance…".

According to the Cassation, the making of the aforementioned communication is a necessary condition to benefit from the concessions provided for by decree 460/97 also for ecclesiastical bodies which can therefore benefit from the treatment envisaged for ONLUS for tax purposes, in compliance with well-defined parameters: a ) limited to the exercise of the solidarity activities listed in art. 10, paragraph 1, lett. to); b) provided that they keep, for these activities, separate accounting entries, in compliance with the provisions prescribed in this regard for ONLUS (Presidential Decree 29 September 1973, n. 600, art. 20-bis, introduced by Legislative Decree n. 460 of 1997, art. 25).

The ministerial circular n. 168/E of 1998 confirms the obligation for ecclesiastical bodies of religious confessions with which the State has entered into pacts, agreements or understandings, which intend to access the tax regime provided for the ONLUS, to keep separate accounting records, to respect the statutory requirements and the substantial constraints imposed by Legislative Decree no. 460 of 1997, art. 10, as well as to send the communication required by art. 11.

The correct and complete compilation of the communication pursuant to art. 11 of Legislative Decree no. 460 of 1997, concludes the Court, is therefore a fundamental prerequisite for ecclesiastical entities to obtain the facilitation regime provided by the same (in this sense already Cass. n. 10300/2019 and Cass. 6851/2020).

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