Communicating with the Comune

jacki.molloy Image
02/20/2012 - 12:10

Ciao TuttiHave just returned from a lovely yet cold visit to Umbria. Always lifts the spirits.Question - every year I toddle off to La Poste and pay what appears to be the rubbish tax. This year I have been sent a demand for 4 years of local tax. I think they are the same and something has got mixed up but I'm not sure. As we are only talking hundreds and not thousands, is it cost effective to employ solicitors to sort this out? My Italian is great for eating and drinking but not a great deal beyond. No one speaks English at the Comune (or in the town really) so we're a bit stuck. Any suggestions? Thanks, Jacki



If you are not a resident you should have been paying an annual tax called ICI, as well as your rubbish tax. It is quite possible you didn't know about this, and bills are not sent out - you are just expected to know when and how much you should pay. If this is the case then you should pay up (almost certainly directly to the comune). The 'fines' for late payment are quite modest and will be included in the 'demand' which you have received. If it is a demand for the rubbish tax which you have already paid, the best person to sort this out is a commercialista (accountant). It isn't the sort of snag in which you would involve a solicitor. Alternatively, if your rubbish tax bills are anything like mine, there is plenty of room for confusion - you may perhaps have only paid 1/3 of your dues each year because you didn't get out the magnifying glass to examine the bolettini!

It may depend on the Comune; however, we were advised by ours to always send them a copy of any payment we make. They said that it is better this way as sometimes they receive payments that they cannot properly identify. Anyway, I think that Alan is right. It would be better to check the contents of what you have received from the Comune.

Good luck with sorting this one out, if this is your only property then I wouldn't have thought you would be liable for back-tax ICI, but you may be liable in the future, Roberto from the cartolibreria is our English language enthusiast and a great help when we are presented with someting incomprehensible! Also we get a great deal of help from long-term expats at our nearest english-speaking church. How about the English teacher at the local school?

Once you've paid it, keep the little receipt slip as a reminder for the next year (and a way to remember how to fill it out). The comune are generally casual about when it gets paid if you're non-resident, just as long as every year it does get paid. I have our ICI account number and I just pay it through the Post Office every year. Hopefully in the bill they sent you it indicates how much the regular charge is per year, not just your four-year total.