Prima Casa and Residency question

tony Image
10/08/2011 - 08:49

Hello there, I wonder if anyone can shed any light on this issue. My wife and I are in about to complete the purchase of an appartment in Campagnia. We plan to spend at least six months of the year in Italy, but each stay is unlikely to be for more than one or two months. I understand that we would pay less tax on the property (3% v 10%) if we fulfilled the criteria for Prima Casa status. Whilst we plan to spend a large proportion of our time in Italy, it is highly unlikely that any one stay would be for more than three months. I understand that as EU/UK Nationals we are eligible to remain in Italy for up to three months without the need for Residency. The question is whether we qualify for Prima Casa status. The appartment does not fall into the luxury bracket, and it is/will be our one and only property in Italy. If I need to pay the higher rate I would prefer to pay sooner rather than later. Any advice would be appreciated.



If you are not Resident, you can't have the right to Prima Casa status on your property, as I understand it. Also to obtain Residency you must fulfil the requirements re Cash in Bank, Health Cover etc and also be in Residencey when the Commune send someone ruound to check. If you only intend to spend short spaces of time there, I would pay the full Tax as this will stop any fines you may occur if you get caught out.

The other replies are substantially correct. If you decide to take the agevolazione on the 'stamp duty', then you are obliged to formally declare yourself resident and attach yourself to the anagrafe of your comune within 18 months of  purchasing your house (as prima casa and getting the tax break on the 'stamp duty'). As others have mentioned, the requirements for being accepted as a resident (assuming you are EU citizen), may seem to be quite onerous - but perhaps you can accept these (or are over 65 years old when they become much less onerous). However, becoming 'a resident' does (IMO) have serious taxation implications. If you declare yourself 'resident' then the default assumption is that you spend more than 6 months of the year in Italy, and you are then (by default) liable to be taxed in Italy on your worldwide earnings. The historic ideas of 'domicile' for tax purposes seem to me to have been altered - (the 'double taxation' agreements remain in place) - but if you have any substantial income it would be worthwhile getting advice about whether saving a few thousand Euros on the 'stamp duty' is a sensible decision.

I agree with the replies given. I would only add that taxes are calculated on the cadastral value and not the purchase price. For this reason, you may find out that those taxes are substantially less expensive than what you originally thought. I can't see the point in becoming a resident, unless you are going to reside in Italy during most of the year.

Hi    if you were to go for prima casa and then failed to meet the criteria then you wuld also pay the difference (10%-4% = 6%) and a further 30% of this amount as a fine.    The Tax is 4% on a new apartmetn calculated on the notarised sale price if its new and on the cadastral value if its second hand I advie strongly not to underdeclare value and pay monies under the table.  It's illegal, not moral and incerases any capital gain when you sell F

I have seen reference to a more lenient take on residency requirements and healthcare after age 65 for UK citizens settling in Italy (as Fillide mentions above) but I have found it difficult to find out exactly what these are. Anyone able to shed light on this? Thanks. 

In reply to by pamela

At the moment there is no requirement for an over 65 year old to show any evidence of private health cover - it is assumed that 'pensioners' are treated free under all EU health systems, thus they become exempt from the arrangements put in place by most European health authorities concerning non nationals of the country. However the bar for both men and women is set at 65. I can't recall anything about the 'proof of income' requirement being irrelevant (or relaxed) for over 65s, but I haven't looked into this. The issue of being taxed under the Italian system on worldwide income would become irrelevant if the only income was derived from occupational or state pension payments (clearly covered by dual tax arrangements). An income derived from a private pension probably would be taxed under Italian tax regulations. If you have any substantial income it is important to run your options past an informed cross border tax specialist before committing to Italian residency. I have heard only good reports about this firm, if you need cross border tax planning

In my experience as a permanant resident here in Italy. Public sector pensions taxed in the uk, private pensions as Fillide says taxed in Italy, and any monies earned in Italy also taxed here. Would advise the use of a good commersialista who understands the English and the Italian tax systems, and who already has clients with these particular requirments, can recommend a very good one in Marche if anyone is interested. 

Here is all the information you may need concerning Italian residency: You have to justify a minimum income of some 5100 euros for 1-2 people, which is not much.... And you will need to sort out the healthcare paperwork. I agree with the advise given by other members regarding checking on taxation issues. Best wishes

I just want to point out that if you are under 65, have paid UK NI for the last 2 years then you DO NOT require a private health insurance policy to get residency in Italy. You just need to request form S2 from the DWP in the UK and present this with your request for residency. If you are over 65 and in receipt of a state pension then there is a different form (sorry don't know the number). Once you are registered with the SSN (Italian NHS), the UK will reimburse Italy for your healthcare for the next 2 1/2 years after which you will have to either contribute to the Italian INPS system or buy a private policy for the next 2 1/2 years. Once you have lived here for 5 years you can get your permanent health inscription to the Italian NHS and no more documents are necessary after this for health care.

In reply to by Penny

Just applied for residency,each communes interpretation of the law is different!!Where i have applied they were insistant on the health insurance which should cover you minimum €30,000.They would not accept my N.I EEC health card.They also need to see minimum €5,000 in your italian bank .Yet not many miles away i was informed at another commune they were not asking for health insurance.Just try without the insurance,otherwise it cost me €300 because they needed to see the €30,000 health cover.Nothing is never what it seems,some you win some you loose!!Best of luck.  

Atessa your NI EEC health card does not cover you for medical cover in Europe only emergency treatment (ie A&E). As I explained you need the form S2 not your NI EEC health card. If you had this the you would not have needed the private policy. This is regardless of the commune. The S2 I believe is in multiple languages.

In reply to by Penny

Hello Penny,thanks for the info.When i first enquired i was told that i didnt need health insurance,but a couple of weeks before my application i was told that i did need it!Even consulted a lawyer,it was explained that my commune would only accept the private health insurance,although other English clients had not even to bother in another commune.The whole interpretation of this law is a complete farce,if what you are telling me is correct! Just what i said before some win,some loose.( i will now ask the lawyer about the form S2,at least it might help other clients)

Penny is right, the NI EEC card only covers emergency treatment outside your country of origin. If you are under 65, you need private health insurance. Over 65 you need a transfer of your health benefits from your Social Security office. If you do a quick search on this site, you will find plenty of information on the topic.

Hi Gala, as much as  hate to contradict you :-) Under 65 you do not need private health insurance. If you read my previous post you will see that so long as you have paid contributions in your home EU country for 2 years before leaving then you are entitled to form S2 which gives you full health cover in Italy for a set period. I don't know where this misinformation that people need private health policies has come from but it is unecessarily costing people money that they don't need to spend!

In reply to by Penny

Just to report the health situation in Lazio: I am under 65 & do not have health insurance, just my E106 from DWP. My (2 year life) Tessersa ran out in July 2010, before it did I popped into the local ASL (Bagnoregio) with all my usual bits of paper, they were briefly glanced at & I was told that my new Tessera would be arriving in the post. Well guess what; it was waiting for my when I got back & this one doesn't expire until Dec. 2016!! The only thing I didn't get was the little piece of paper with the chosen doctor's details on, the "Stampa Cedolino" I think I was told that I needed to come back (to the ASL) with my new Tessera to re-register with my chosen medico. It was all getting a bit complicated (both future & past subjunctive tenses!) by then, & my brain was beginning to melt. I don't know how important this is but I'll troll back in to the ASL in the spring when I'm back & see what can be obtained. Pip pip

I think Gala may mean that the S2  cover only lasts for 2.5 years (I think) so if you are still under 65 when this entitlement finishes and you have not been here 5 years (to qualify for Citizenship) or do not wish Citizenship, you have to put some form of Insurance in place......

In fact A&R the information is correct, just maybe not the version you expected... and I try to use the correct words but my obvious limited education has let me down...blush

I think that health cover is a difficult problem and it depends on the interpretation of local authorities. It only makes sense that the European Card covers emergency treatment only, otherwise, many Europeans will be choosing where to get treated or operated causing absolute chaos for the guest country. This was happening in Spain, particularly in Marbella, a few years ago. It was stopped and now they deal with the needs of those requiring emergency treatment or European residents above the age of 65. I think that the "spirit of the law" is that you get that basic cover; however, if you are going to reside in a foreign country you have to comply with the local laws and this means having your own health insurance, which could be through the country's system by joining the Social Security system or a private health insurance policy. Italian Police mentions that you will have to show proof of health insurance to process residency. This does not apply for those over the age of 65. I know, Penny, that you have being battling with this topic for a long time and that you could possibly write a book on the subject; but I worry about those moving to Italy permanently and having expectations that cannot been fulfilled. Atessa's case shows that there may be problems. Also with the current economic situation and cuts being applied in the health system, we can only expect more problems in that area.  

The qualification for 'prima casa' is that the house will be your prima casa - ie that you dont have another in Italy.  On that basis you qualify - but it brings with it other ramifications. If you take prima casa incentives you will need to take residency within 18 months of the date of purchase.  You will not have to pay ICI (at the moment) and get a small discount on your electricity bills.   You will pay 3% of the rateable value of the property in tax at the moment of purchase and a few hundred in stamp duty and registration - as flat fees.   If you buy as a second home you will pay 7+2+1% of rateable value, but have no requirement to be resident in Italy.  You will pay ICI, but you will get a reduction on your rubbish collection taxes. So your dilemma is whether you take residency to save some money payable at act.  If you are planning to live here full time, or more than 183 days a year then residency is a requirement.   If you have a comune that insist on health insurance, you will have expenses to qualify for residence and you must wrigh these against the money saved in taxes.   If you are here for less than 183 days a year in various trips then you have no legal requirement to be resident in Italy and therefore fiscally resident in Italy with all that that entails with tax returns etc.    If you are not spending a small fortune on a property then better to avoid Italian bureaucracy and take it as a second home, in my opinion.

Or you will have to go and stand in a queue and ask for the discount..... but most comunes will automatically give you the discount as they know its a second home.

Without wanting to go off topic again, if any commune tells you that you need private health insurance to get residency and does not accept the S2 form when you present it, please contact me and I can point you in the direction of all the necessary laws (Italian and European) that confirm they are acting illegally that you can present to them. It is not open to interpretation by any commune. It is the law - you are entitiled to 2.5 year's cover if you present an S2. Anything else is against European law and also Italian. Of course, if you don't present the S2 in the first place then expect to pay for a private policy.

Complicated it is Chris...see my post re re-registration.....still trying to get it sorted out, its the health cover that appears to count... not the end date on your Tessera ,I was told you need to either be a pensioner, work in Italy and therefore have equivalent of NI contributions, or pay for health care.I have unearthed another form, E121 which I should have I think registered, and silly me didnt, but it appears to cover under the reciprical rules. Penny is the expert on this, would you like to comment Penny and then I can move forward again, hopefully in the right direction, its not easy after nearly 6 yrs living here!.

  Hi A&R, If you have had your residency for 5 years or more then you must have the full monty by now surely? I didn't have too much trouble getting residency, I just had to keep visiting the various departments until I wore them downwink. Fortunately they are all in the same street in my little town, and usually uncrowded! In bocco al lupo!

Hi Angie, the E121 (for pensioners - ie in receipt of UK state pension) and the E106 (for people posted abroad and non-pensioners who worked in the UK and paid NI) has been replaced by the S1 form since May 2010.

  • If you are a pensioner then you will be entitled to an S1 which you should request from the International Pension Centre.
  • If you are not in receipt of UK state pension and not a permanent resident of Italy and have recently left the UK then you can request the S1 and because you paid NI in the UK should be entitled to 2 1/2 years cover in Italy.
  • If you are a permanent resident in Italy (ie have lived here for more than 5 years and have the permanent residency certificate) then you should be able to present this to your local ASL office whereupon they will give you an inscription in the health service without an expiry date. Your blue plastic tessera will have an expiry date but not your slip of paper that you get when you register.

Anyone who is not a refugee, not studying or working here or married to an Italian and does not fall into one of the categories above probably won't get health cover. I am afraid I can't comment on other nationalities as I only know the rules for Brits.

Penny is absolutely right. It is the EU country of origin, where you made your original contributions to Social Security, the one who pays Italy (or your new EU country of residence), for your medical bills. I do not know how they calculate this, but this is the spirit of the law. The type of services you receive is the same that any other citizen of the same country gets. Same conditions. 

Reporting back after speaking to an amazingly helpful woman at the International Pension Centre. Form S1 now in the post. What I did want to add was we discussed the issue of adding a dependant to the form and defining the term "dependant". For us that is a person not in receipt of a UK state pension which is Robert, so she has already added his details to the S1. Such a good result, and thanks to Penny again!.

Hi everyone. We have just bought property in Abruzzo with the aim to open a campsite. Can anyone tell me the latest rules for the S1 form for health care over here as there are various versions? Getting a bit confused with all the bureaucracy. Thanks.