What is an ONLUS

The Association VSP – Volontari Senior Professionali is listed as an ONLUS … , but many people wonder about the meaning of this term.

The term ONLUS is an acronym: it stands for “Non-profit organisation of social utility” (“Organizzazione non lucrativa di utilità sociale”).

In an effort to strengthen and support private enterprise in what is commonly called the “third sector”, i.e. in the areas of voluntary and community service, social care, and so on, the Italian  legislature has provided for special benefits, mostly in the form of tax breaks, for those entities that satisfy certain conditions or requirements.

An association wanting to define itself as an ONLUS, must be governed by a Statute (1) that is in keeping with the law, which requires the following stipulations:

  • The private nature of the body (public bodies are excluded)
  • Exclusive pursuit of social and solidarity goals
  • Scope: assistance, education, research, nature conservation and the environment, culture, etc.
  • Transparency of budgets
  • That, in case of dissolution, any remaining assets be transferred to another ONLUS or be destined for purposes of public utility
  • Limitations on the remuneration of directors and remuneration to third parties
  • Prohibition to distribute profits
  • Prohibition of the transfer of goods or services to associates under more favourable conditions.

Finally, the law provides that certain of the above-mentioned activities must be carried out only in favour of disadvantaged or needy persons.

These clauses are obligatory for all the associations that want to take advantage of tax benefits, especially in terms of direct taxation, or want to access public funds for the so-called “third” or non-profit sector.

(1) The text of the current VSP Statute was approved by the Extraordinary Members’ Meeting on 22/04/2015