Tips, how do you tax them? Here’s how they can get into the tax return

The road is drawn. The mance, ruled the Court of Cassation, are part of the salary and, therefore, must be taxed like the rest of the income. But the next question is: how to do it? In most cases, from pizzerias, bars, hairdressers to taxi drivers, it is a matter of a few euros that the customer leaves on the table. In short, it should be the waiter or anyone else who receives the small sum to keep track of it and then indicate it in his tax return. But by the very nature of the tip, where the main tool used is i cash, it seems really difficult that this can happen. In other cases, the road may appear simpler. There are structures where tips are all collected by the owners of the premises and then divided equally among the employees and paid into their paychecks under the heading “donations”. Until now, tips under this term protected them from taxation. The basis of this treatment was a circular from the Revenue Agency, 3 E of 2018, which excluded small value donations from taxation, recalling article 783 of the Civil Code. In short, even tips were equated to donations of modest value.

The previous – But the case of the head of a luxury hotel on the Costa Smeralda, which led to the sentence of the Supreme Court, showed that tips are not always of modest value. In just one year the consierge had collected 84 thousand euros of tips. Obviously don’t declare. The supreme judges recalled that the current article 51 of the Consolidated Income Tax Law, in the post-IRPEF reform of 2004, provides for an all-encompassing notion of employee income, no longer limited to the salary received by the employer. In short, tips must be taxed. Moreover, how overtime work or meal vouchers exceeding the limit of 7.50 euros are taxed. But the initial question returns: how to do it? For the Revenue Agency it will not be easy to find those who do not declare a tip. The reception manager of the Hotel in Costa Smeralda was identified because he paid the sums into his current account. Thus the database alert was triggered: the money deposited was disproportionate to that of the tax returns. But if the tips are collected in cash and do not go through the accounts, it is difficult for some algorithm of the Revenue Agency to notice anything. In short, only i field checks. Send the Guardia di Finanza around to check, in addition to issuing the receipt, even if the waiter has received the tip. Certainly a viable path, but the effort produced could hardly lead to truly appreciable results. The other way is the legislative one. In America, for example, all waiters who receive tips must keep a detailed account and report the revenue to the tax authorities every year. Those who do not do so risk serious trouble.

Experiences – In Italy there is a precedent, that of casino dealer. Their tips have been taxed for years. But not for the whole amount, but only for 75 percent of what was received. In this case, however, the traceability of the transactions is simple, because tips are normally paid out in chips, which then have to be changed at the cashier of the casino. It must also be considered that the rules on the casinos also pose a problem of fairness: because for the croupiers the taxation concerns only 75 percent of the tips and for the waiters and all the others it must be 100 percent. In short, that of the taxation of tips is a story that for the most part has yet to be written and on which, we can bet, sooner or later the Consulta will also be called upon to have its say. Anyway, something will probably happen, given that according to the Nadef tax evasion report, tips subtracted from the tax authorities are worth almost 9 billion euros. A large enough slice to attract the attention of the government and the financial administration.

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