What are the issues facing some of you? One which raises its head periodically is the question of residency and tax residency in Italy.
Before I go into this I would like to look back for a moment at some very recent Italian past and reflect on why we are where we are today.
2012 was a turning point in Italian politics and the way that, we, as expats live and could continue to live in Italy. It was the start of the New Norm. (as I like to call it)
It started with the moment when Berlusconi was ousted as Premier and was swiflty followed by the non elected Mario Monti. What was once accepted as the norm suddenly went under the spotlight. This was seen most dramatically in new tax legislation imposed on domestic and foreign assets and incomes and the sudden drive to track down and prosecute tax offenders.
There was no longer the option to live between 2 residency’s, but the subject became much more matter of fact (see rules below for details). Taking residency, by definition, means you are subject to Italian tax law.
The law is clear, as follows:
- An individual is considered resident for tax purposes if, for most of the calendar year (i.e. 183 days) is:
- registered with the Registry of the Resident Population (Anagrafe)
- or has his/her residence or his/her domicile in the territory of the Italian state, as defined by Section 43 of the Italian Civil code
According to Section 43 of the Italian Civil Code:
- The place of residence is taken to be the place where the individual has habitual abode
- The place of domicile is taken to be individual’s principal place of business and interests
In fact, residency has never been a choice. It has always been a matter of fact and a tax agency would always see it that way. If you spend the majority of time in Italy then you will be deemed tax resident as defined by the rules above.
The key as always is in the planning.
If you are a holiday home owner then you should rarely take residency if your clear intention is to maintain your principal residence elsewhere.
But if you want to enjoy Italy all year round and pay the lower rate of VAT on a property purchase, benefit from the good health care system, be able to buy a car here (non residents cannot purchase a car legally in Italy), and benefit from lower utility rates then residence is required and certain legal obligations apply.
As I always say, you will pay more tax by living in Italy versus other Northern European countries and the USA. How can we expect to pay the same for sunshine? !! But a rural life, for example, should see your costs fall.
Despite all this, and having lived in Italy for years, I can tell you that there are tax-reduction and financial planning strategies that can lighten the burden somewhat. I should know! I have fallen for every tax trap in the book and have had to pay the tax man for it. But failure to plan effectively in Italy, ultimately, sharpens the senses.
If you would like to contact me with a view to finding out more then feel free to do so so. We don’t charge fees at The Spectrum IFA group so you can feel secure that you won’t be out of pocket by seeking a little advice.