Hi folks,I'm doing my due diligence

Jaime Image
02/25/2016 - 21:17

Hi folks,I'm doing my due diligence on becoming an Italian resident, and have received an estimate of my tax liability.Wow! In the UK, I'd pay 16.61% of my gross income to the Revenue. In Italy, I'd pay 31%. And when my state pension starts in 2018, this would rise to nearly 33%.Apart from the differences in tax thresholds and tax rates, the absence of the UK personal allowance of £10,600 makes a big difference.So my question is this, can the 'premium' for living in Italy be reduced by cost of living advantages?My research suggests that daily costs are similar in both countries, with energy costs  and insurance being higher in Italy, and food costs slightly lower.I'm looking at properties to the south of Perugia, and am particularly attracted to San Casciano dei Bagni. Its thermal springs would be kind to my arthritis :)I'm returning to Europe from Asia and will have to furnish my house, so would appreciate comments on buying furniture. I'd like a mix of traditional and modern pieces. I had some Kartell furniture in my Spanish home. I'd be buying a house of around 100 square metres with 2 bedrooms, lounge/kitchen, and two bathrooms.I'll be buying private health cover. I'll be 63 In August. In 2009, I paid €800 in Spain. I'm guessing that €1000 to 1300 will be required. Any comments?I look  forward to receiving your thoughts.Many thanks,James


Well difficult to find your post amongst the spam created today! This reply may not be too helpful regards your questions, but may bring your post to others attention.Are there any cost of living advantages? Well it largely depends on how you prefer live and personal way of life. For example we like to grow veg here, but don’t when in the UK as we are not there often enough to do so. Overall we find living here in Italy a lot cheaper, but are not tax resident. Others we know who live very differently find it very expensive, but again it’s down to the way you live, for example a number we know choose the convenience of  a gas boiler, larger car etc.Hopefully others here will give you more detail. However, for what it’s worth, despite a lot of niggles we think it’s a lovely place to live.smiley

Ciao Large Lewis,Thanks for your reply. It sounds like you are enjoying the best of both worlds: tax in the UK, pleasure in Italy :)I know how wonderful the 'lifestyle' is, but if it comes with too high a price, I'll have to think again.I knew the tax was higher but didn't realise just how much. Spain is just as penal, so I've ruled that out too.Another option is to do extended house-sits. There is a growing market for this.I live normally, cooking at home but enjoying a couple of meals 'out' a week.Anyway, I hope others who have become tax residents can give me their view.Best wishes,James

If you're single, with no dependents then italy is expensive, though there are more deductibles than in other countries.  HOwever, detracting fuel (, electricity, gas, heating and car) and insurance the cost of living is much cheaper than in other countries.  

Your health insurance would be deductible up to a certain amount-  As to car insurance, it would depend if you had the car as a work benefit or as a private car.  If it was for work, then yes you can roll over some of the insurance costs.  But if you buy the car as a private individual then Im pretty sure you can't.   I only started getting deductions when I bought the car as a business vehicle.  

Ciao Modi,Thanks, again.I'm not going to work, so health and car insurance will not be offset against business income.Is car and health insurance more than in the UK?I'd be driving something fairly modest. I'm nearly 63, so expect to be paying €1000 to 1500 for private health cover.James

depends where you live as to what you will pay.  Usual deductions for garage, off road parkgin etc-  You can bring your noclaims from the Uk if you reinsure within 18 months of leaving.  Ask your insurer for your nocalims in Italian and you can switch. otherwise you wnter at class 16 and it will cost you a fortune. 

I'm not suggesting you use them, but you can get a quote online from directline.it or there are others including compare sites. Modi is correct in saying the cost can be very high compared to the UK.  When we came here originally and were looking into residency we went to the commune to ask exactly what they wanted i.e. documents, evidence of being able to support ourselves etc. They never mentioned health cover. However that was 6 years ago and I think they should have, but others I’ve heard of since in this and other commune have had various experiences. What I’m suggesting is you need to find out exactly what the commune want as in some cases other commune have also specified what level of health cover they expect.

Thanks guys.I haven't owned a car for nearly 6 years, but previously had a fully comp policy in Spain with 100% no claims. I guess I could use that to try and reduce the cost of insurance. However, sounds like it's going to be more expensive.Right now, I'm thinking that the maths of becoming a resident are rather unfavourable.Work in progress :)James

Hi Joy,If you spend less than 183 days in Italy you are not a tax resident.I have some pension income which is taxed at source in the UK.If I become an Italian resident, this tax would be credited against my Italian tax bill.For the moment, I've decided to hold fire on my Italian 'project'.Brexit, and the poor exchange rate, mean it's not a good time to be taking decisions like this.James James

Seems a sensible thing to do James, although I think little will change either way. It also gives you more time to have a look at Italy a little closer. A 182 days is a long time to look around and your idea of extended house-sits fits in well. Out of season here many, many houses sit empty and cost people to get someone to look after. Not too sure how you go about finding these places, but it seems you know how to. The weather here in Abruzzo can be freezing at times in winter, feels colder due to the icy winds coming off the mountains. But we have also had many, many a day where the temperatures get to 20c and above in winter. Last winter and this were both very nice, in some ways for us better than summer. This winter has been so, so nice, likely too nice for people leaving their potted plants over the winter expecting the rain and snow to help them survive. Many will come back to find these plants dead from a lack of water. Best of luck in your new venture wherever it may be.

We have been toying with going for a few years now but electric and  house prices have put us off as we want something as good as we have here by the sea.The tax situation would cost us a hell of a lot more as we probably wouldn't be claiming hardly anything against it. :(   

Ciao Joy,I think I've come to the same conclusion.The tax is much higher in Itay. I'm single and basically qualify for no meaningful deductions.Energy prices and insurance are also higher.Sadly, because of Italy's terrible debt, taxes can only go up.I've paid tax in Spain. It's the same story, and going to get worse there too.Sunshine and lovely old stone buildings come at a 'premium' :(Think I'll  do house-sits or Air BnB to satify my Mediterranean needs.Best wishes,James

Well currently as James has said you would not be taxed here if here less than 183 days in a tax year (just to make life difficult Jan - Dec here). You could also not be resident here, but would have to stay less than 90 days at a time. As for electric Joy, price might be higher according to figures, but our comsumption here is  less than the UK.

Lewis,Do I read your post correctly that non-residents cannot stay for longer than 90 days at a time, and never exceeding 183 in total?As an EU citizen, I thought you could stay for as long as you wanted.James

Yes, Jaime, I think that you have made a wise decision, in view of the current circumstances.as we permanently live in the Basque Country, but own a secondary home in Bagni di Lucca, we have come to the conclusion that it is better for us to keep on coming to Italy twice a year, in Spring and Autumn and remain the rest of the time in Spain while spending Xmas in San Francisco with our daughters and their families. A bit of traveling... But we can manage and it is enjoyable.Definitely, taxes, insurance costs and energy are more expensive in Italy than in Spain. Food is abut the same...depending on your personal tastes and habits, but then, we live in the most expensive city in Spain. On the Mediterranean Coast and other areas, costs will be lower... But then, we have more advantages and better facilities where we live.Yes, balmy evenings drinking pro secco in the stone loggia or terrace come at a price, so it is better to make sure that you have carefully planned everything. And this starts with choosing the right location. Make sure that the place is well connected by public transport. Having to depend on a car all the time is not very convenient. You are not going to find the right place for you overnight. It took us a couple of years, covering Liguria, Tuscany and Umbria. And we are happy with our choice.i wish you all the best. 

Hi Gala,Thank you for your thoughts. Sounds like you have found a perfect balance.Awesome food in the north of España. Pinchos a-go-go :)I lived in Medina Sidonia, Cadiz, for 7 years and loved it. However, the Spanish tax system is equally onerous.I was in Mallorca last year and discovered that annuity income is taxed twice: not only is the income taxed under IRPF, but also the capital under Patrimonio.Even worse, Hacienda decide the value of your annuity, based on a government capitalisation rate. I believe it's currently 3%. Crazy! And taxes are going to get worse given the current political situation. And then there's Modelo 720. If these countries had friendlier fiscal regimes, they could draw thousands of people to live there. I don't understand their rationale.Anyway, no rush. Slowly, slowly ... :)James 

Portugal is tax free for 10 years I have been told - never been there but might have a look ;)I've worked hard for my money so i don't intend to 'give it away'!!!Probably half the Brits that moved to Spain had no money (looking at a recent programme on Benidorm) so the tax situation didn't bother them 

James, I agree with you, Medina Sidonia is beautiful. We lived in Puerto Banus (Marbella) for a few years and we used to go there frequently.As for taxation, Italy has a common state tax. But then, there are also differences in regional and other taxes. Same thing in Spain, with the exception of the autonomous regions of Navarre and the Basque Country wo have a special status and even their own tax collection agencies. For this reason, the place where you live can make a big difference.joy, it will be advisable to double check the Portuguese situation and also, the country has lots of financial problems and political instability.in any case, for anyone intending to relocate, my advice is to get full professional advice from a reliable source. Also, get all areas covered, property, insurance health services, transport, I mean the lot! That beautiful ruin in a lovely, but isolated location can turn your Italian dream into a nightmare.in the case of retirees, even those enjoying early retirement, keep in mind that we are not getting younger and that your needs change as the years go by. Also, do not imagine that family and friends will be coming to visit you all the time. After the initial novelty has faded, those visits are going to become less frequent and you will see that the ones insisting on coming are the ones you are not inclined to see. Do not burn the bridges, try to have a pied à terre or a place where you will be welcome whenever you want to go back to your country of origin. Yes, some people adapt very well to a new life in a different country, but they are a minority. Life is short, enjoy it!  for taxation

Muy buenos Gala,I agree entirely.I've lived in both France and Spain, restored houses, paid taxes - :( - and had small businesses.I would advice anyone to tango very slowly before entering the tax regime of any of these countries.I've looked at Portugal too. Tax is horrible and if you have an account in Gib, Jersey, or the Isle of Man, you are a criminal and taxed at 35%. The fact that they all have exchange of information agreements with the EU is irrelevant. Crazy!The more I look at relocating, the more I'm drawn to renting. The resale market in all of these countries is often very, very slow. They do not have the relatively liquid markets that you find in the UK.Italy is full of gorgeous stone houses for a reason: the market is extremely limited. As you get older, you have to factor in the illiquidity problem when it comes to your estate having to settle UK inheritance tax. HMRC wants the tax, irrespective of whether your property has been sold.Much though my heart lies in the Med, I'm now looking at the Western Isles, Scotland. Or maybe I'll stay in Thailand and have an extended annual stay to recharge my need for jamon y aceite :)James

James, the real estate market in both Italy and Spain has suffered a lot since 2008. Sales are slow. On the other hand, it is a buyer's market and prices are much lower than the ones back in say.. 2005. I do not think that we will see major changes until, say...2018, at least. On the other hand, the BREXIT problem is a worry, although I do not think that it will take place. In any case, perhaps renting for a while is a valid alternative which would allow you to see more clearly.Lifestyle is important and certainly Mediterranean countries have a better quality of life. And this is worth a lot.we have also lived in many countries and thoroughly enjoyed each one of them. Restoring old houses has been a hobby for us, as my husband is a retired architect. And Italy has bee, and still is, a very pleasurable experience. It is not only "aceite, jamón, tapas y pintaos" or "prosecco, saltimbocca, pesto and agnolotti ". It goes well beyond that.¡Mucha suerte! In bocca al lupo!

James, for the little it is worth we would have rented without a doubt if it was not for the fact we wanted to live the "good life" (as in tv prog) here in Italy and needed land to do so. In retrospect we probably could have done just that in a rental, but perhaps not made the changes we have made to the landscape. You just seem far too sensible ... you are doing the right thing smiley

Gala - My problem is I have 2 feet on the gound. LOL   A stone ruin in an isolated place would not suit us at all.  We would want something at least as good as we live in here but the italian places we have looked at would be 300 to 500 hundred thousand  higher than here.  My italian grandfather left his mountain village for a better life and as much as we would be welcomed back there I am afraid that is not what we want.

Good to hear, Joy. We all need to,have two feet on the ground when deciding on our future, particularly when we are thinking about retiring. If going back to Italy, where your roots are, is your dream keep on looking for the right place. It does not mean to go back to a mountain village where quite possibly you do not have any family left. That is very romantic... But highly impractical. As I said before, this is a buyers market. We bought some eight years ago and, at the time, the choice was limited and the prices were outrageous. Any old ruin in the middle of nowhere, was very expensive . Things have changed. My advice is not to rush. If you have not d cited where you want to settle, try visiting different regions. Take your time, make a list of what you would like and keep on searching. Best wishes.

We have tentatively looked over several years and seen a few areas we like but prices by the sea in good areas don't appear to have come down at all in fact gone up.  We do have extended family in Tuscany and they asked us to buy there but too quiet for us unfortunately.

Starting to think too much!We are in our mid to late 60s.  Retired on govt pension.  I, like millions of others, dream of living in Italy but in our case it is literally like putting a pin in a map as apart from a month in 2014 doing the usual tourist stuff, we do not know where in Italy to live.  We are heading to Ostuni in a week for a handful of days and are going to look at a couple of properties.  We have a limited budget.  Am now starting to 'sweat' after reading all about taxes and health insurance, cost of living, etc..  I was aware that private health insurance was required.  Tax when on a govt pension?  We have lived in Australia for 43 years (dual British/Australian citizens) but have been based in Ireland for the past 13 months (sold up our lives in Australia) as we thought Ireland would be a good stepping stone to visiting Europe but the Irish real estate (dysfunctional!), wet weather and Irish diet has defeated us.  My husband thinks there are too many 'unknowns' particularly in the current climate of the influx of illegals, refugees flooding into Europe, Brexit, etc not to mention not speakin the language, health care, etc etc etc..  Now that we are on the brink, getting cold feet, definitely thinking too much.  There are only the two of us, no family to worry about, no ties except very limited resources and cannot afford to make a mistake. In the next month or so, we have to make the decision do we follow my dream and jump off the cliff into Italy or take the safe option and return to life in Australia where we have to start again from scratch as far as finding somewhere to live, etc.  Australia is definitely the safe option but but but......

Thanks JamesYes, I have renting at the back of my mind.  My husband not so sure though he knows the sense of it.  We will ask Agent when in Ostuni what is available and take it from there.  One other compllication is our cat.  We brouht him with us from Australia, not so easy to bring him back (Australia has stricter rules for bringing animals in, more paperwork, blood tests, etc) and we need to investigate if we return from Italy to Oz what are the implications.  No matter what stage in life one is, choices and options are never easy.  Time will tell.  Thanks for your input.  

Hi FlowerFairy, advice from James is spot on. Think you have the "stuff" if you managed to up stick from Oz and get yourself over to Ireland, so another step to Italy should be easy! Renting is certainly the way forward as it commits you to little and may well be cost effective. If it does not work out i.e. you don't like the food, it's too hot, then go to plan "B". Might be a good idea to start another post here saying what kind of place you would like; busy, rural, big small etc... I'm sure lots of people will come up with suggesting’s on where to base yourselves. However flights are cheap with the likes of Ryanair if you book at the right time and you can hop from one place to the other and view many places in Italy for yourself. For us Puglia was too far south, but that was just an arbitrary decision to cut down our many options. Since being here I would say getting about (car) is an issue, language of course and our vision of Italy not being what we thought. The latter was a picture of living just outside a village, walking into it for coffee and learning with the locals at the bar. We do little or none of that, however as I’ve just posted on another topic, we would not change a thing and love it here… 

Thanks LargeLewisOne other complication is we have to vacate our rental here by early July as owner wants it available for the high money rentals during July/August/September and we don't want to commit to a 12-month rental here.  We will have a look at possible rentals when we are in Ostuni just to see the lie of the land.  Decisions, decisions, decisions.  I am a bit of a terrier and find it hard to give up on things.Ciao!

HiYes, I have downloaded trusted house-sitters.  Definitely a possilble option but we have to put our own cat into boarding here.  If we had a firm base here, doing a few trips would work but as mentioned we have to be out of our current rental by early July and we do not want to commit to a 12-month rental here in Ireland (apart from anything else, decent rentals are like hen's teeth here).  When we return from Ostuni we will put our thinking caps on and look at options.  Ciao!

Hi Flower FairyGlad I am not the only one in limbo!!  I think you and James and us should set up a comune! lol   Hope you get sorted before your rental ends.Maybe Large Lewis can set us up in his garden.winkJoy

Thanks JoyThere are so many 'unknowns' that I feel Australia will be the end result and perhaps will have to think about housesitting.  Have to say, that if the dream of Italy does not eventuate it will be the one regret I will go into old age with but today's political world is definitely warping the road ahead.  Good luck with your journey on the road and perhaps our way ahead will be made clearer in time.

Greece was on the verge of bankruptcy but the Greek people seemed to cope ok with it and I haven't heard of foreigners having to leave so maybe we are worrying too much.Good luck with whatever you do .....and also James (as it was your thread)Just watching TV now with someone looking for a place near Ferrara.....ooooh!Joy

Buongiorno Joy, Flower Fairy, Large Lewis, Gala...Now that's an idea. A commune. I'll do the 'wine run' :)I don't believe for a second that any of the EU countries will prevent non - EU nationals from buying or renting property. That's political scare-mongering. The Brits, in particular, are for too important a market.The sun's up in Bangkok. Time for a swim :)Happy decision-making to everyone.James

I’ve been thinking about this post for a while and keep coming back to this link on the Entrate site with details of the income tax calculation. I’m still not too sure how to read it, but to me it seems to read €15,000 income (say pension) = 3450 gross tax, then for a pensioner under 75 there is an allowance of €7500. Therefore there is no tax payable? Nowhere does it say you have to be a certain minimum age to be on a pension. Am I reading this incorrectly, if not, then this seems a lot more generous than the UK allowances for people with a pension?

Hi LL,I looked at this site before contacting the accountant who did my tax estimate.I read the exemptions as being like the personal allowance in the UK, and took €4800 as being the appropriate  deduction for me. However, my accountant told me that there is no personal allowance.Maybe the figures given are 'total income' amounts, meaning that if your income doesn't exceed these figures there is nothing to pay. But possibly their is an error in the translation from Italian.Even Spain gives you a modest allowance !On a different note. What do you know about Vigneverde, Agents in Casoli? I've looked at their website http://www.vigneverde.comJames

Hi JamesReason I posted this was also because when talking to friends here (Italians) my OH was told by them that there was an allowance. My reading of this seems to confirm that AND it's a deductable amount off NET tax, which would make it better than the UK for a person on a pension.VV is known to me, but I've never had dealings with him myself. Like all agents (except Modi of course), they are agents... I'm sure many do a good job, but until bankers came to fame I used to put them on a par with car sales people.. Sorry in advance to all those car sales people past and present. The people we bought through here (registered) were great, but still failed to sell impartially in my opinion. However the English lady working with them is still helping us now and then 5 years on...

In reply to by LargeLewis

Hi, you think Italy is bad you should spend 12 months trying to purchase in Ireland.  Our experience, 5 offers, 4 building surveys and still without a house.  All our friends and contacts cannot believe our Irish tale of woe.  Irish real estate is totally dysfunctional!   Here we are with money in the bank and not one Agent in 12 months has given a hoot!  Vendors?  "Take it or leave it".  Any wonder we have brought down the drawbridge  on Ireland.  

Well I'm guessing it's like the UK at the moment (and it does depend what the market situation is at the time). We have friends who have been trying to buy in Wales (cheap for property) for near on 2 years now. Okay they are a bit fussy, or were... I think the market has rapidly changed and is now a "sellers" market in the UK, being so near, likely Ireland is the same. You would have no such problem here in Italy as there are houses galore for sale and many not moving in this area at all. Also many of those for sale are not what the average Italian wants e.g. the drive does not back out onto the motorway! These houses often are what the likes of you and I want however... Saying that, just look at the posts on building costs and/or the paper work ....

Morning LL,When I look at Vigneverde, and other sites, I see pages of properties, many of which I'm guessing there is no market for. As agriculture has died and other forms of employment are extremely difficult to find, I wonder if many of these buildings will ever be occupied again. Young folk aren't going to buy them due to the absence of jobs . 'Outsiders' aren't going to buy them because of the prohibitive restoration costs.  Do you think it's likely that many will just slowly crumble into ruins? That's my take, and it doesn't just apply to Abruzzo. It seems like there are far more rural properties than people to occupy them. Would be interested to hear your thoughts.James

Hi LL,An afterthought.Given the excess of property and the current economic/ geopolitical situation, which I believe is with us for a long time, I think it will always be a buyer's market in certain regions of Italy.Any thoughts?James

I agree with LL! It is a buyer's market right now in Italy. Back in 2008, properties were scarce and even old ruins, without any historical or architectural (read an ugly, dilapidated barn, value were overpriced.. As for where to buy... Location, location, location. And this means not only a place that you like, but also check transport, cultural and health facilities. And keep away from ruins, unless it is a very special place and have professional advice before buying them. A ruin in Italy can ruin YOU, unless you know what you are doing and how much it is going to cost you to do a restoration.

Buongiorno Gala,I've restored houses in France and Italy. You are so right. My projects didn't ruin me, but restoration always costs more than the estimated costs. You change your mind, structural problems arise... .I've read extensively about restoring in Italy and it seems to be considerably more complicated than in France and Spain. It also appears to be more costly, particularly due to the seismic requirements.James