Law on Volunteerism

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  • Country: Italy
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Law 11 August 1991, No. 266
The Chamber of Deputies and the Senate of the Republic have

the following law;
Article 1.
Aim and purpose of the law
1. The Italian Republic recognizes t he social value and the purpose of
volunteer work as an expression of parti cipation, solidarity and pluralism, it
fosters its development, safeguarding its autonomy and supports individual
contributions for the attainment of social, ci vil and cultural goals identified by
the federal government, the regions, the autonomous provinces of Trento and
Bolzano and the local authorities.
2. The law establishes the principles that must be followed by the regions and
autonomous provinces in regulating re lationships between public agencies
and volunteer organizations as well as the criteria with which the civil services
and local authorities must comply within these relationships.

Article 2.
Volunteer activities
1. For the purposes of the pr esent law, volunteer activities are considered as
any action carried out personally, voluntarily and free of c harge, through the
organization to which the volunteer belongs, which is non-profit-making, even
indirectly, and formed solely for purposes of solidarity.
2. Volunteer work may not be paid in any way, not even by the beneficiary.
The volunteer may only be reimbursed by the organization he or she belongs
to for expenses actually incurred during the activity, within the limits set by the
organizations themselves.
3. The role of volunteer is incompatible with every kind of employer-employee
or self-employment relationship and all ot her types of relationships in which
income is received from the organiza tion to which the volunteer belongs.

Article 3.
Volunteer organizations
1. Any organization freely formed to carry out the activity stated in Art. 2,
which predominantly and significantly makes use of the personal, voluntary
and unpaid services of its members is considered a volunteer organization.
2. Volunteer organizations can take what ever legal form is considered most
appropriate for the pursuit of their aims, barring limitations of compatibility with
their purpose of solidarity.
3.The non-profit-making status, the democra tic nature of the structure, the
elective nature and gratuitousness of posts in the association, as well as the
gratuitousness of the services provi ded by its members, the criteria for
admission and exclusion of the latter, their duties and rights, must be
expressly stated in agreement s with members, in the association charter or
statute, as well as in accordance with t he provisions of the civil code for the
various legal forms that the organizati on may take. These must also establish
the obligation to prepare a financial stat ement in which assets, contributions
or bequests received must be stated, as well as the procedure for its approval
by the members’ assembly.
4. Volunteer organizations can hire employees or make use of self-
employment services only within the lim its of what is necessary for their
regular operation or necessary for qualif ied or specialized aspects of the
activity performed.
5. The organizations perform volunteer serv ices using their own structures or,
in the ways and manners provided for by t he law, within public structures or
structures having an agreement with them.

Article 4.
Insurance of members of volunteer organizations
1. Volunteer organizations must insure their members carrying out volunteer
work against accidents, illnesses and third-party liability related to the
performance of the activity itself.
2. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Cra ft decree, to be issued within six
months of the date when the present law comes into effect, identifies
simplified insurance processes incl uding numerical or joint policies and
regulates the relative controls.

Article 5.
Economic resources
1. Volunteer organizations obtain the econom ic resources for their operations
and for carrying out of their activities from:
a. Contributions from members;
b. Contributions from private individuals;
c. Contributions from the federal government, public authorities or
institutions aimed exclusively to support specific, documented activities
or projects;
d. Contributions from in ternational organizations;
e. Donations and testamentary bequests;
f. Reimbursements deriv ing from agreements;
g. Income deriving from secondary commercial and profit-bearing
2. Volunteer organizations without status of legal entity, entered in the
registers as per Art. 6, can purch ase personal property and real estate
required for carrying out their activities . Making an exception to Art. 600 and
786 of the civil code, they can also accept donations and, with benefit of
inventory, testamentary bequests, allocating the assets received and their
revenue exclusively to the attainment of the aims stated in the agreements,
association charter and statutes.
3. The assets under paragraph 2 are regi stered in the organization’s name.
For the registration of the acquisitions in question, Art. 2659 and 2660 of the
civil code apply.
4. In the event of dissolution, disc ontinuance or termination of volunteer
organizations, and regardless of their lega l form, the assets outstanding after
carrying out liquidation are donated to ot her volunteer organizations operating
in the same or a similar sector, following the guidelines in the statute or in the
members’ agreements, or, in default of these, following the provisions of the
civil code.
Article 6.
Registers of volunteer organization s established by the regions and
autonomous provinces
1. The regions and autonomous prov inces manage the establishment and
keeping of general registers of volunteer organizations.
2. Inclusion in the registers is a prer equisite for gaining access to public aid
as well as for stipulating agreements and benefiting from tax concessions, in
accordance with the provisions u nder Art. 7 and 8, respectively.

3. Volunteer organizations that keep boo ks as per Art. 3 and enclose a copy
of their association charter and statut e or members’ agreements are entitled
to be entered in the registers.
4. The regions and autonomous provinces decide the criteria for periodical
review of the registers in order to verify the continuing possession of
requirements and performance of the volunteer work by the organizations included therein. The regions and the autonomous provinces can order
removal from the register with a justified measure.
5. Appeals are permitted against orders of refusal of inclusion and against
orders of removal within the time limit of thirty days from notification, to be
made to the regional administrative cour t which will rule in chambers within
thirty days from the expiry of the ti me limit for lodging the appeal, having
heard the counsel for the parties maki ng the request. The court’s decision is
appealable within thirty days from the not ification and decided using the same
procedures and terms.
6. Each year the regions and t he autonomous provinces send an updated
copy of the registers to the National Institute on Volunteerism, as specified
under Art. 12.
7. The organizations included in the registers are obliged to keep
documentation regarding their income as per Art. 5, paragraph 1, with
indications of the names of the parties making donations.
Article 7.
1. The federal government, regions, aut onomous provinces, local authorities
and other public agencies may stipulate agreements with volunteer
organizations that have been included in the registers under Art. 6 for at least
six months and which demonstrate operational aptness and know-how.
2. The agreements must include regulations that guarantee the existence of
the conditions required to consistently carry out the activities of the
agreement, and observance of the rights and dignity of the users. They must
also provide means for verifying the services and their quality as well
procedures for reimburse ment of expenses.
3. Insurance coverage as per Art. 4 is an essential part of the agreement and
the related expenses are the resp onsibility of the agency with which the
agreement made.

Article 8.
Tax concessions
1. The association charter of volunteer organizations as per Art. 3, formed
solely for reasons of solidarity and acti ons related to the performance of their
activities are exempt from stamp and registration taxes.
2. Operations performed by volunteer organizations as per Art. 3, formed
solely for reasons of solidarity, are not considered transfers of capital or the
supply of services for value-added ta x purposes; donations and allocations of
inheritance or bequests to organizations that exclusively pursue the
aforementioned aims are exempt from all tax.
3. Art. 17 of law No. 408 of 29 December 1990, as amended by Art. 1 of law
No. 102 of 25 March 1991, is hereby amended after paragraph 1-b with the
following: “1-c. Through the legislative decrees stated in paragraph 1, and following the same executive criteria and principles, measures will be
introduced aimed at encouraging donations to volunteer organizations formed
solely for reasons of solidarity on the condition that their activities have
voluntary aims, which are recognized as being eligible under the regulations
in force on the matter and which hav e been included in the appropriate
registers for at least two years without interruption. To that end, making an
exception to the provisions of letter a) of paragraph 1, the aforesaid donations
must be deductible, in accor dance with Art. 10, 65 and 110 of the
consolidated tax act, approved by Presidential Decree No. 917 of 22
December 1986 and subsequent amendm ents and supplements, for an
amount of no more than 2 million lira or, for corporate revenue, 50 percent of
the sum donated within the lim it of 2 percent of declared profits up to a
maximum of 100 million lira.”
4. Proceeds from secondary commercial and profit-bearing activities do not
represent taxable income for corporate income tax (IRPEG) or local income
tax (ILOR), if documentation is provided of their full use for the institutional
purposes of the volunteer organizati on. The Treasury Department, in
agreement with the Department of Social Affairs, will rule on applications for
exemption following verification of t he nature and size of the activity.

Calculation of taxable income
1. The provisions under Art. 20, par agraph one, of Presidential Decree No.
598 of 29 September 1973, as replaced by Art. 2 of Presidential Decree No.
954 of 28 December 1982 are applied to volunteer organizations included in
the registers as per Art. 6.

Article 10
Regulations of the regions and autonomous provinces
1. Regional and provincial laws must pr otect the autonomy of organization
and initiative of volunteer services or encourage their development.
2. In particular, they regulate:
a) the procedures organizations must follow for carrying out the services
which are the purpose of t he volunteer work within public structures and
structures having agreements with t he regions and autonomous provinces;
b) the forms in which the organizations in cluded in the registers as per Art. 6
can participate in planning interventions in the sectors in which they operate;
c) the requirements and criteria which give priority in the selection of
organizations for setting up agreements, also in relation to different areas of
d) the bodies and means of cont rol, as specified in Art. 6;
e) the conditions and forms of financing and support for volunteer serv
f) the participation of volunteers who are member s of the organizations
included in the registers as per Art. 6 in professional training and refresher
courses held or promoted by the r egions, autonomous provinces and local
authorities in the sectors in which the organizations themselves operate

Article 11.
Right to information and acce ss to administrative documents
1. The provisions under item V of la w No. 241 of 7 August 1990 are applied to
volunteer organizations included in the registers as per Art. 6.
2. For the purposes of paragraph 1, the situations relevant to the pursuit of the
organization’s statutory aims are cons idered legally relevant situations.

Article 12.
National Institute on Volunteerism
1. Through Prime Ministerial Decree, follo wing the proposal of the Department
of Social Affairs, the National Instit ute on Volunteerism has been established,

chaired by the Head of the Department of Social Affairs or his or her delegate,
and consists of ten repr esentatives from the volunteer organizations and
associations operating in at least si x regions, two consultants and three
representatives from the main trade-union organizations. The institute uses
personnel, resources and services made available by the Secretary General
of the Prime Minister’s office and has the following functions:
a. Conduct a census of the volunteer organizations and take steps to
increase awareness of the acti vities performed by them;
b. Promote research and studies in Italy and abroad;
c. Provide any elements helpful for the promotion and development of
volunteer work;
d. Approve experimental projects fo rmulated by volunteer organizations
included in the registers as per Art. 6 for dealing with social
emergencies and encouraging the applicat ion of advanced methods of
intervention, with the cooperation of local authorities as well;
e. Offer support and professional ad vice for computerization and
databank projects in the sectors with in the jurisdiction of the present
f. Publish a biennial report on the st atus of the situation and on the
implementation of national and regional regulations;
g. Hold training and refresher courses for the supply of services, with the
collaboration of the regions as well;
h. Publish a periodical newsletter and pr omote other initiatives aimed at
spreading news concerning volunteer services;
i. Every three years promote a national conference of volunteerism, in
which all institutional parties, groups and workers concerned will
2. A volunteer services fund has been set up under the Prime Minister’s Office
– Social Affairs Department, aimed at financially supporting the projects under
letter d) of paragraph 1.

Article 13.
Limits of enforceability
1. Subject to the regulations in force fo r volunteer services not provided for in
the present law, in particular concerning activities of international cooperation for development, civil defense and activiti es relating to substitute community
service as per law 15 December 1972, No. 772.

Article 14.
Expenses authorization and financial backing
1. An expenditure of two billion lira for each of the years 1991, 1992 and 1993
has been authorized for the operations of the National Institute on
Volunteerism, for endowm ents from the fund under paragraph 2 of Art. 12 and
for the organization of the national conference on volunteerism as per
paragraph 1, letter i) of the same Art. 12.
2. The expenses under paragraph 1 are pai d by means of a part taken from
the appropriations entered for the th ree-year budget 1991-1993, under item
6856 of the Secretary of the Treasury’s forecast for the 1991 financial year, if
necessary partially using the allocation: “General Policy Law on
3. The lower revenue resulting from the application of paragraphs 1 and 2 of
Art. 8 is calculated as a total of 1 bil lion lira for each of the years 1991, 1992
and 1993. The relative expenses are pai d by using the appropriations entered
for the three-year budget 1991-1993, under item 6856 of the Secretary of the
Treasury’s forecast for the 1991 financial ye ar, if necessary partially using the
allocation: “General Policy Law on Volunteerism”.

Article 15.
Special regional funds
1. The agencies under Art. 12, paragraph 1, of legislative decree No. 356 of
20 November 1990, must state in their own statutes t hat an amount of no less
than one fifteenth of their income, afte r operating costs and the allocation as
per letter d) of paragraph 1 of the same Art. 12, is allocated for setting up
special regional funds in order to est ablish, through the local authorities,
service centers for volunteer organiza tions and managed by them with the
purpose of supporting and qualif ying their activities.
2. Until they have proceeded with the reor ganization operations as per Art. 1
of the aforementioned legislative decree No. 356 of 1990, the savings banks
must set aside an amount equal to one tenth of the sums allocated for charity work and public works according to Art. 35, paragraph 3, of royal decree
No.967 of 25 April 1929, and subsequent amendments for the same purposes
specified in paragraph 1 of this article.
3. The procedures for implementing the r egulations specified in paragraphs 1
and 2 will be established by decree of the Secretary of the Treasury, in
agreement with the Department of Social A ffairs, within three months from the
date of publication of t he present law in the Official Gazette.

Article 16.
Temporary and defin itive regulations
1. Without prejudice to the jurisdiction of the regions under special statute and
the autonomous provinces of Trento and Bolzano, the regions will take
measures to issue or adapt regulations for the implementation of the main
contents of the present law within one y ear from when it comes into force.

Article 17.
Flexibility of working hours
1. Workers who are members of organizations included in the registers as per
Art. 6 are entitled to make use of the forms of flexible work ing hours or shifts
foreseen by collective agreements or contracts for the performance of
volunteer services, subject to company organization.
2. Finally, the following paragraph is added to Art. 3 of law No. 93 of 29
1983: “Trade union agreement s regulate the criteria by which workers
providing their services in their town of habitual residence voluntarily and free
of charge to volunteer organizations a cknowledged as eligible by relative
regulations, are permitted to use particula r forms of flexible working hours or
shifts, subject to the management of the organization they belong to.”
The present law, bearing the federal government’s seal, will be included in the
official compilation of legislative acts of the Italian Republic. It is compulsory
for all concerned to abide by and enforce it as a law of the federal
In Istrana, on the day of 11 August 1991