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Non-resident teachers exempt from taxation

by Giovanni Barone | Aug 10, 2021 | Blog

In the context of international taxation of individuals, particularly employees, reference is made to the article of the various double taxation conventions that governs the taxation of this type of income (typically Article 15).

In the context of employment income, some treaties provide for exemption in the host country in the case of income received by professors and teachers as an exception to the OECD model, subject to certain objective and subjective conditions. Not all agreements cover this situation, which is designed to facilitate cultural exchanges between countries. Among those that provide for the exemption of teachers’ income are those entered into by Italy with:

  • The United States of America (art. 20 of the relevant convention);
  • France (art. 20 of the relevant convention);
  • The United Kingdom (art. 19 of the convention);
  • The Netherlands (Article 20);
  • Ireland (Article 19).

Generally, the conditions for access to this type of exemption are:

  1. Having been or being resident in a contracting state (immediately) before the transfer;
  2. carrying out teaching or research in the other State in a recognised school or institution.

The exemption applies for a period of two years, starting from the day on which the transfer takes place in order to begin the teaching activity.

In this sense, the Revenue Agency has not provided any clarification, except for a dated circular.

By way of example, the conditions provided for by the United Kingdom and Irish agreements are analysed.




United Kingdom

Paragraph 1 of Article 19 of the Double Taxation Convention between Italy and the United Kingdom takes up the general principles, stating that a person who moves to one of the two countries for the purpose of teaching and for a period not exceeding two years, is exempt from taxation in the host State, provided that:

  • The person is or has been immediately prior to his stay in the host State a resident of the other Contracting State; and
  • The transfer is for the purpose of teaching or carrying out research at a university, college or other similar educational institution recognised by the host Contracting State.

The qualifying period is always two years. The Convention also provides, in a curiously detailed manner for an international treaty, for the commencement of the “qualifying period”, stating that it commences on the date on which the person concerned first resides in the host Contracting State for the purpose of teaching or carrying out research.



Unlike the Convention between Italy and the United Kingdom, Article 1(1) of the Convention between Italy and Ireland is not as detailed. In fact, in that paragraph

  • There is no requirement of residence in the Contracting State of “departure”; and
  • There is no requirement that the establishment where the work is carried out be recognised by the host Contracting State.

The exemption period remains unchanged at two years.

This convention is not as detailed as the one with the United Kingdom: however, it is considered that the same rules should be applied as for the application of the other conventions, with particular reference to residence in the State of departure and to the starting date of the period of exemption.

As a general rule, considering that the agreements providing for the clause regulating the income received by professors and teachers may present some specificities (also in terms of interpretation), it is appropriate to carry out a prudential analysis of each individual case, in order to verify the compliance with the subjective and objective conditions.

Moreover, if the employment contract of the professor/teacher provides for a longer duration than the “facilitating” period provided for by the contractual clause, the convenience of the application of the regime of expatriate workers should be assessed, which could be – in the medium term – more advantageous.



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