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Setting up a non-profit organization in Italy

Updated: Nov 29, 2021

A non-profit organization, also called a non-profit organization, is born from a group of people who come together to pursue common goals. The association stands out: for the absence of profit, for having an open and democratic structure and for the sovereignty at the head of the shareholders' meeting.

To found a non-profit organization it is essential to share the common purpose that you want to pursue. The Italian legal system offers various forms of association. The different forms of association are distinguished: for the type of common purpose, also called "mission", for the target users, for the activities that are intended to be carried out to achieve the common purpose and finally for the nature of the commitment of the members. The Italian system provides for four and they are: voluntary organizations (O.D.V.), the social promotion association (A.P.S), the amateur sports association (A.S.D.) and the civil code association.

There are additional characteristics that modify the nature and functioning of the organizations the first is the qualification of ONLUS, which means non-profit organization of social utility, the second is the legal personality, this means that the organization is recognized as legal personality. it involves the total separation between the association and the people that compose it. That is, it means that the organization operates in a completely independent way with respect to its members from a legal and patrimonial point of view.

- The O.D.V. their main purpose is solidarity.

-The A.P.S. their main purpose is social utility.

-The A.S.D. are amateur sports associations.

-The civil code association is another form of association provided for by the Italian law. If it is not stated in the deed of incorporation or in the statute that the organization is an O.D.V., An A.SD. or an A.P.S., This is automatically part of the civil code association.

Once you have identified the type of organization you want to set up, you can start building it.

The first step in the constitution of the association takes place with the first assembly of the members, during which the deed of incorporation and the statute are written, which together constitute the contract, that is the agreement with which the founding members give life to the Association. The deed of incorporation is a document through which the members, gathered in the assembly, sanction the desire to found an association to pursue the shared purposes and must be signed by all the founding members at the time of its writing and stipulation. The deed of incorporation contains: the indication of the place, date and time in which the meeting was held, the personal data of the founding members, the name of the organization, the mission, the composition of the board of directors and finally the statute attached.

The statute is the document containing the rules of the organization's life, that is, the rules governing relations between members, between members and the association itself.

The statute must contain the following elements:

-the name and type of association,

- the registered office,

- the mission,

- assets,

- the rights and obligations of the shareholders,

- the rules on internal regulations.

Necessary but not mandatory is the tax code, the lack of which greatly limits the organization. It is advisable to register the articles of association and deed of incorporation since in this way they acquire a useful added value, for example for the stipulation of contracts. It is mandatory to register these deeds at the local office of the revenue agency when you want: to benefit from the tax concessions provided for non-commercial entities, to proceed with registration in municipal, provincial, regional or national registers or to request the attribution of personality legal. In the latter case, the statute and the deed of incorporation must have the form of a public deed drawn up by a notary. The registration of the deed of incorporation and the statute must be made within 20 days of the establishment of the association. Within 60 days of setting up the organization, the EAS model must be submitted which must be constantly updated. The EAS model is the tax data communication model for associations. Some types of associations are not required to submit an EAS model.

All associations are required to draw up an advisory economic report within four months of the end of their social year. The annual financial report must be drawn up by the board of directors in the manner established in the first place by the organisation's statute. It must contain all the income and expenses of the association in addition to drawing up the economic report, the board of directors has the task of writing a social report, also called a mission report, in which all the activities carried out by the organization during the year. Both documents must be approved by the shareholders' meeting.


Mazzamuto S., Manuale del diritto privato. Giappichelli, 2017.


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