Getting Married in Italy: What you Need to Know about the SIAE Tax

Of course the meaning of the acronym! But seriously if you’re getting married in Italy, you can easily understand why you have to pay the SIAE tax after discovering what the letters SIAE stand for.

It’s an Italian organization in the name of Società Italiana degli Autori ed Editori. In English, it’s the Italian Society of Authors and Publishers. This organization collects royalties for musicians, authors, artists, and publishers who own the copyright of certain works of art.

Simply put, they monitor the use of each artwork in Italy and collect taxes therefor so the artist behind it can get paid for such use.

That means that if you are a songwriter in Italy, you don’t have to monitor every performance of the song you wrote. The SIAE is responsible for that and they will also collect the SIAE tax from every event where your song was performed.

In the end, they will give you those taxes that accrue to you. However, take note that artists need to register their works first before they become entitled to such payment.

Why does that matter to couples getting married in Italy?

The coverage of the SIAE tax extends to non-profit events such as impromptu parties and of course, weddings.

Unlike in other countries, the mere performance of a song, live or recorded, in your wedding day makes you liable to pay royalties in the form of SIAE taxes. No matter who the musician is, you’ll need to pay royalties to the copyright owner of that song. Couples getting married in Italy are responsible to pay these taxes and not the musicians you hired.

Guitarist and violinist performing at a wedding in Italy

How do we pay the SIAE tax?

You have to do this before your wedding day. In fact, there’s what you call the bordereau, which is the list of music or the music program. You need to submit it to the SIAE authorities before the wedding day so they can give you the rate of tax that you need to pay.

After paying the SIAE tax and complying with certain SIAE rules, they will give you a certificate that your bordereau and musicians are SIAE-approved. Owners of Italian wedding venues require this  certificate before they approve any contract with you.  

The good news is that your Italian wedding suppliers like the wedding planner or the owner of the venue usually handles the payment of this tax for their clients. This should make everything easier for you.

Instead of doing it yourself, you can have them make the arrangements for you. That’s one item off of your checklist for your destination wedding in Italy. This way, you won’t need to worry even when you reside on the other side of the planet.

What if we fail to pay?

Getting all the music in your event shut off is the worst thing that could ever happen on that day. This is one of the consequences of not paying the SIAE tax. Aside from the humiliation that comes after that, you’ll need to pay double or triple the original SIAE tax rate. This is your penalty for violating the law.

The good news is, you’re unlikely to forget to pay. Most wedding venues in Italy are extremely diligent about proper enforcement of SIAE rules and will require you to show the certificate before they will allow your event to take place.

Other important SIAE tax matters to remember

Your Musicians Need to be Members of the ENPALS

ENPALS stands for Ente Nazionale di Previdenza e di Assistenza per i Lavoratori dello Spettacolo e Dello Sport Professionistico. In English, this means the Entertainment Industry Employees Pension Organization. The musicians in your wedding must be members of this organization and they must pay their contributions too.

The SIAE require all musicians in Italy who perform for profit to have a certificate of membership to the ENPALS. This rule applies to DJs, singers, instrument players, and bands. Before hiring musicians for the wedding, brides- and grooms-to-be are responsible to ensure that they are registered.

If you are tourists getting married in Italy, we understand that it seems difficult to comply with that rule. That’s why wedding suppliers establish networks of ENPALS-registered musicians so couples won’t need to check this matter on their own. As planners for destination weddings in Italy, we only work with musicians who are ENPALS members.

Silhouette if bride and groom dancing to live band against a backdrop of fairylights

Cost of the SIAE Tax

The cost of the SIAE tax varies based on the following factors:

  • Size of the guest list, whether it’s less than 100, 100 to 300, or over 300 to 1000.
  • Classification of the wedding venue, whether standard or luxury
  • The type of performance, whether with dancing or without

The payment of the SIAE tax is one of the reasons why you need assistance from a local wedding planner if you want to marry in Italy. This is a technical aspect Italian weddings that our Peach Perfect Wedding planner can help you with. You can talk to her about this matter if you are getting our Italian wedding package.

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