Spending your retirement in Italy is an exciting prospect; the appeal of the country is legendary. Yet, like any big change it can be daunting. Doing your research is the key. Ask advice from others who have already made the move and talk to experts about the financial implications. Adequate planning will make your move memorable for all the right reasons.
Finding the right property is all part of the fun. You'll discover new locations, meet Italians in their homes and begin to pick up the customs and ways of the country. When you find the perfect property, and Italy is brimming with affordable ones, you might want to do a bit of re-arranging or decorating or make your Italian garden just as you like it. Imagine strolling into your village for a glass of wine as the sun goes down and practicing your budding Italian on the locals - what's not to like?
Seize The Moment
Planning to move full time to Italy but always finding obstacles in your way? You always will - but don't let them stop you fulfilling your dream. And you don't have to wait till your official retirement date either or the resolution of a thing called Brexit. You can find the right property now, and earn rental income from it until you make the big move.
Italy is unique. Spend the best years of your life visiting historic towns and picturesque villages. Italy has the greatest number of UNESCO world heritage sites in the world, there's art and culture and national parks with awesome panoramas. Bask on a sandy beach lapped by the warm Mediterranean, wondering what the folks back home are doing in the rain.
The Italians have a lust for life, yet they live it at relaxed pace. A country where the traditions of: food, family and friends are cherished. The importance of the family creates a community atmosphere; it's common for people of all ages to mix socially, in a restaurant, bar or at one of the hundreds of festivals held in Italy throughout the year. One client who purchased told us she had yet to meet a drunken Italian; we're unsure if it was said with regret or not.
It's easy to stay healthy in Italy. Health care is excellent and fresh local fruit and veg can be bought from open air markets in every village and town up and down the land. The Italians are crazy for sport and outdoor pursuits: cycling, sailing, skiing, walking, swimming, surfing, golf, horse riding... just take your pick. Such a beautiful country entices you to get plenty of fresh air and exercise.
Italy also has a good road system and an excellent (and cheap) rail and bus network. There are international airports in most regions, so family and friends at home are never that far away and will no doubt be popping over to see you on a regular basis.
Before you say farewell to your home country to take up residence in Italy, you must let all the relevant tax authorities know you are leaving the country.
Being an Italian resident is a definite advantage. Purchase tax on your property is reduced to 2% of the cadastral value as opposed to 9% for a non-resident second home. You have 18 months from date of purchase to claim residency. Please read our blog post on obtaining residency
Once you are a resident you will be exempt from council tax (IMU) on your property.
In general, local taxes on rural properties are less than in the cities. Northern cities and tourist areas are likely to be much higher than in the countryside, particularly in the south.
As well as the sun, sand and sea, another good reason to move to the south is the new Italian Budget Law for 2019 (Law no. 145/2018) which introduced a favourable tax regime for retirees. It aims to encourage foreign nationals to move their residency and retire to the southern regions of: Abruzzo, Puglia, Basilicata, Calabria, Campania, Molise, Sardinia or Sicily. One condition is that you reside in town with a population less than 20,000.
According to the budget law, all income sourced from outside Italy will be subject to a 7% tax, which will apply for 5 years. However, after that time it will revert to the normal tax rate, ranging from 23% on income up to €15,000 to 43% on income over €75,000.
High net worth clients should speak to their financial advisor about Italy’s tax incentives for wealthy individuals who choose to relocate to Italy. You may be able to get a flat rate income tax charge of €100,000. For a further €25,000, the tax exemption could even be extended to a family member.
Brexit may change the name of the residence permit, but the requirements will stay the same. The Italian government has made a point of saying foreigners are welcome to buy property in Italy and retire there. As Americans, Australians, Canadians and other non-EU citizens, have been doing for years.
Collecting Your State Pension Abroad
You can claim your State Pension abroad which can be paid into a bank in Italy.
If you choose to have your pension paid into a UK account then regular money transfers to Italy may be affected by currency exchange rates. Setting up a 'Forward Contract' with SmartCurrency allows you to lock in a rate for up to a year, so you always know how much will be coming into your account.
Where To Retire To In Italy
Italy has something for everyone. Tuscany and the Italian Lakes are both well-known and are excellent locations to retire to. They have English speaking communities and a good infrastructure. If you want to get more for your money, take a look at Emilia Romagna, Piemonte or Le Marche in the north, and Puglia and Sicily in the south.
If you retire to the Italian countryside you will want to visit a town sometimes, so it’s worth finding a town you like and then looking in the countryside for the right property. You may on the other hand wish to stay in town, close to all amenities, transport and a hospital.
Wherever you chose, we're certain you'll love it. You'll have the time to do all those things you've been wanting to do for years. Write the great 21st Century novel, turn your Italian garden into a thing of beauty, take up a new sport, and of course learn a new language. You could also earn extra income doing holiday rentals or teaching online.
Take a look at the properties below to find your perfect full time residence in Italy and please contact us with any questions you may have.