Eight per thousand
|An aspect of fiscal policy|
Eight per thousand (Italian: otto per mille) is an Italian law under which Italian taxpayers can choose to whom devolve a compulsory 8 ‰ = 0.8% ('eight per thousand') from their annual income tax return between an organised religion recognised by Italy or, alternatively, to a social assistance scheme run by the Italian State. This declaration is made on the IRE form. People are not required to declare a recipient; in that case the law stipulates that this undeclared amount be distributed among the normal recipients of such taxes in proportion to what they have already received from explicit declarations. In the period from 1990 to 2007 only 42.73%, on average, expressed a choice.
The relations between the Italian State and the religious confessions in its territory can be traced back to the Statuto Albertino of 1848, which applied first to the Kingdom of Sardinia and then to the Kingdom of Italy. Its first article declared the "Roman Catholic Apostolic religion" the only state religion and granted legal toleration to all other religious confessions then present.
Under the Lateran treaties of 1929, which were incorporated in the 1948 Constitution of the Italian Republic, the State paid a small monthly salary, called the congrua, to Catholic clergymen as compensation for the nationalization of Church properties at the time of the unification of Italy. This ended on 31 December 1986, with the entry into force, as a result of a 1984 agreement between the government and the Holy See of the "eight per thousand" system.
As of 2015 there are 12 possible beneficiaries of the tax:
- Italian State
- Catholic Church
- Union of Methodist and Waldensian Churches
- Seventh-day Adventist Church
- Assemblies of God in Italy
- Union of Italian Jewish Communities
- Lutheran Evangelical Church in Italy
- Baptist Evangelical Christian Union of Italy
- Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Italy
- Apostolic Church in Italy
- Italian Buddhist Union
- Italian Hindu Union
In 2015, an agreement was signed with the Soka Gakkai International, and is awaiting ratification into law.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, in spite of having made an agreement on 4 April 2007, ratified by Law 127 of 30 July 2012, is refusing to participate in the division of the funds.
Although the 1985 law on the matter declared that the State's portion of the proceeds was to be devoted to extraordinary expenses, such as world hunger, natural disasters and refugees, since 2004 a large proportion is employed for general purposes. In 2004, 80 million euros out of a total of about 100 million were thus employed, leading to criticism of the fact that part of it was used to finance the Italian military mission in Iraq. Because of its financial situation in 2011, the government decided to utilize the entire sum of about 145 million euros for purposes other than those indicated in the 1985 law: for instance, €57,277,063 were spent on improving the prison infrastructure.
The purposes for which the religious groups may use their portions are laid down in the agreements entered into with the government. In the case of the Catholic Church, the purposes are specified in article 48 of the 1985 law: "worship needs of the people, support of the clergy, charitable activities in favour of Italian society and the Third World". Each year the Italian Episcopal Conference publishes the proportions it assigns under various headings. Thus at its meeting in May 2012 it approved the following distribution (in thousands of euros):
- 1,148,076 Total amount received (100.0%)
- 479,226 Worship and pastoral work (41.7%)
- 156,000 To the dioceses (for worship and pastoral work) (13.6%)
- 190,000 Buildings for worship (16.5%)
- 125,000 New buildings for worship (10.9%)
- 65,000 Safeguarding cultural property of the Church (5.7%)
- 64,226 Fund for catechesis and Christian education (5.6%)
- 12,000 Regional ecclesiastical tribunals (1.0%)
- 57,000 Needs of national importance (5.0%)
- 255,000 Charitable activities (22.2%)
- 125,000 To the dioceses (for charity) (10.9%)
- 85,000 Third World (7.4%)
- 45,000 Needs of national importance (3.9%)
- 363,850 Financial support of the clergy (31.7%)
- 50,000 Reserve for future use for worship, pastoral work and charity (4.4%)
The financial support for the clergy brings their salary up to a certain level, such as €852.93 a month for a priest at the beginning of his service, and €1308.57 a month for a bishop at the maximum of his biennial increments (2007 figures).
Choices expressed by taxpayers
For the first 15 years of the system there was a gradual increase of the percentage of those who chose their contributions to go to the Catholic Church and a corresponding diminution of those who chose the State as beneficiary. Of those who exercised a choice, 76.17% opted for the Catholic Church in 1990, increasing to 89.81% in 2004 and falling to 86.05% in 2006 and 85.01% in 2007. Since in 2007, for instance, only 43.50% of those who declared their incomes expressed a choice, those who did indicate the Catholic Church as beneficiary were less than 37% of the taxpayers, a figure much lower than the proportion of Italians who declare themselves Catholics, which corresponded rather to the proportion opting for the Church among those who did indicate a choice. Declarations in favour of the State, which were 22.31% in 1990, dropped to their lowest ever level of 7.60% in 2005, recovering later and reaching 11.95% in 2007.
The Eight per thousand tax has significantly helped the Piedmontese Waldensians. A Protestant community whose origins predate the Reformation, the Waldensians have only about 25,000 enlisted members but about 412,000 Italians support them and their charitable works.
- Italian prime minister's office' explanation of the "otto per mille"
- F. Racippi and I Brunelli, Commento allo Statuto del Regno (Torino 1909), p. 21
- Servizio per i rapporti con le confessioni religiose e per le relazioni istituzionali. Presidenza del Consiglio dei Ministri, ed. "Accordo tra l'Italia e la Santa Sede e le successive intese di attuazione". Retrieved 4 May 2012.
- Agreement of 21 February 1984 ratified by Law 449 of 11 August 1984; revision of 25 January 1993 ratified by Law 409 of 5 October 1993. Further revisions agreed upon on 27 May 2005 and 4 April 2007 have not received parliamentary ratification.
- Agreement of 29 December 1986 ratified by Law 516 of 22 November 1988; revision of 6 November 1996 ratified by Law 637 of 20 December 1996. Further revisions agreed upon on 23 April 2004 and 4 April 2007 have not received parliamentary ratification.
- Agreement of 29 December 1986 ratified by Law 517 od 22 November 1988. A revision agreed upon on 2 November 2011 has not received parliamentary ratification.
- Agreement of 27 February 1987 ratified by Law 101 of 8 March 1989; revision of 6 November 1996 ratified by Law 638 of 29 November 1996.
- Agreement of 20 April 1993 ratified by Law 520 of 29 November 1995.
- Agreement of 29 March 1993 ratified by Law 116 of 12 April 1995; revision of 16 July 2010 ratified by Law 34 of 12 March 2012.
- Agreement of 4 April 2007 ratified by Law 127 of 2012.
- Agreement of 4 April 2007 ratified by Law 128 of 2012.
- Agreement of 20 March 2000, revised on 4 April 2007, ratified by Law 245 of 31 December 2012.
- Agreement of 4 April 2007 ratified by Law 246 of 31 December 2012.
- Agreement of 20 March 2000, revised on 4 April 2007,
- "In Iraq l'8 per mille destinato all'arte" - Corriere della Sera 10 November 2006
- Camera dei deputati Dossier BI0026
- Carlo Alberto Bucci, "I beni artistici restano a secco i 57 milioni dell'8 per mille vanno all'emergenza carceri" in La Repubblica, 29 December 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2012
- La ripartizione e assegnazione delle somme derivanti dall’otto per mille dell’IRE (ex Irpef) per l’anno 2012
- Claudio Turrini, "Gli «stipendi» dei sacerdoti" in Toscana Oggi, 27 September 2007 Retrieved 13 September 2008
- Gian Guido Vecchi, Corriere della Sera, 18 May 2008 Retrieved 13 September 2008
- La ripartizione della quota dell'otto per mille IRPEF per il 2010
- 2013 Gemeinsame Projektförderung der Waldenser mit dem GAW Gustavus Adolphus Union website 2013
- Gian Guido Vecchi (27 August 2010). "Muslims Miss Out as Eight Per Thousand Contribution is Extended". Corriere della Sera.