A new initiative is underway to give more of taxpayers money to charity. Introduced by finance minister of the Berlusconi government, Giulio Tremonti in his 2006 budget, 5x1000 is estimated to give 270 million to social initiatives and organisations. This new initiative does not effect 8x1000 under which taxpayers choose to give a proportion of their income tax to one of six religious denominations chosen by the state, or the state itself.

There are almost 40,000 participating organisations in the 5x1000 scheme, which fall into four categories; voluntary, scientific research, health and social activity. Big-name groups are present such as Save the Children and the United Nations Childrens Fund (Unicef), as well as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and fair trade organization Altromercato. However, there are also recreational and sports centres, 8,103 city municipalities and small religious institutions, among others.

To make sure your chosen organisation benefits, you must fill in the section entitled 5xmille on your end of year tax form CUD, given to you by your employer. If you are self-employed you can request a form from www.il5xmille.it. It is essential that you know the codice fiscale of the institution of choice and insert it in the appropriate box on the form. Failure to complete the 5x1000 section will reduce the overall amount of money to be shared out.

Critics say that the initiative will be an organizational nightmare as too many initiatives are involved. Moreover, they say that the charities with the most money for publicity campaigns will be the main beneficiaries for example, the homepage of the university of La Sapienza has a large campaign poster urging taxpayers to choose it as beneficiaries with the smaller institutions unable to finance publicity for their cause.

For details of all participating organisations see www.il5xmille.it

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