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Management of administrative appeals in the field of social security classification

Publication: 08/09/2022

The INPS classifies employers for social security and welfare purposes. The related dispute is entrusted to the Institute’s Board of Directors.

Employers may lodge an administrative appeal against measures to change the classification for social security purposes.

Employers are automatically classified when they submit their claims through an automated procedure. The procedure is structured to give employers their social security classification based on a self-certification of the declared activity and, if necessary, again based on the self-certification of the activity, by filling in a questionnaire customized according to the indicated activity.

Consequently, those employers who apply for registration with the INPS – to which article 49, Law no. 88 of 9 March 1989, attributes the ownership of the classification of employers for all social security and welfare purposes – are obliged to communicate the code of the economic activity exercised about the company position open to employees, obtained from the ATECO 2007 table and reported in the updated employer classification manual attached to message no. 2185 of 7 June 2021.

The automated procedure does not change the power/duty of the INPS to carry out checks on self-certifications.

Therefore, the classification of the employer may be subject to changes, following a decision to change the classification adopted:

  • officially by the INPS;
  • following an inspection;
  • upon request of the employer.

The registrations made by using the automated classification system are subject to automated verification to check the declarations made. In the event of a successful outcome, the assigned automated classification will be confirmed.

If, on the other hand, the outcome of the checks shows discrepancies concerning the declarations, the office responsible for managing the company serial number will contact the employer/intermediary directly to highlight the anomalies found.

Article 3, paragraph 8, of Law no. 335 of 8 August 1995 ("Reform of the mandatory and complementary pension system") states that: "The decisions adopted officially by the INPS to change the classification of employers for social security purposes, with the consequent transfer to the economic sector corresponding to the actual activity carried out, produce effects from the current pay period until the date of notifying the decision to change, except cases in which the initial classification has been determined by inaccurate declarations of the employer. In the event of a change ordered following a request by the company, the effects of the decision start from the current pay period until the date of the request itself. The classification changes adopted with decisions having general effectiveness concerning entire categories of employers produce effects, in compliance with the principle of non-retroactivity, from the date set by INPS" (INPS circular no. 113 of 28 July 2021).

Instead, regarding inspections, the change in the classification is determined after checking the activity carried out by the company.

The appeal may only be filed electronically, directly by the citizen, through the dedicated online service or the patronage institutes and intermediaries of the Institute, through the digital services offered by them.

The appeal is submitted to the provincial office that made the decision and, pursuant to article 50, paragraph 2, law 88/89, must be decided within 90 days from the submission date.

The time limits for the decision of the appeal shall run from the appeal’s date of receipt, as proven by the IT protocol.

If no decision is taken within that period, the applicant may apply to the court.

However, the competent body has the power to examine the appeals and take the relevant decisions also after the expiry of the 90 days.

The appeal shall not suspend the application of the contested decision.

The appeal lodged electronically by the employer against the social security classification is sent – through the procedure dedicated to administrative dispute – from the office responsible with a preliminary form to the Regional Directorate or the competent Metropolitan Coordination Directorate, which forwards the appeal to the Central Revenue Department.

The latter examines the formal and procedural correctness, documentary completeness and regulatory compliance of the appeal, the preliminary investigation report, the documentation and the outline of the resolution proposal as prepared by the local offices and, once the investigation is closed, prepares a file that includes the preliminary report, the proposed resolution and the related attached documentation.

The proposed resolution is subsequently sent to the General Manager, who forwards it for it to be included on the agenda of the meeting of the Board of Directors.

The ordinary deadline for issuing the measures is set at 30 days under Law no. 241/1990. In some cases the law may set different deadlines.

The table shows the deadlines exceeding thirty days, set by the Institute with a Regulation.

In addition to the terms for the issuance of the decision, the table also indicates the relevant manager.