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Italy – home of the largest population of freelancers in Europe.

Home to all of your heart’s desires: beaches, mountains, pizza, volcanoes – everything. EU-Nationals can calmly stay for up to 90 days, but there are a few steps to take if you want to become an Italian “libero professionista”.

  • Declare your arrival

Within 8 days of arrival, instead of lounging around on deck chairs, head over to your local registry office (anagrafe) to apply for a residence certificate (certificato di residenza) for your new home.

  • Blood-curdling Bureaucracy and the Codice Fiscale (National Insurance Number)

Please note:

  1. It’s advised to bring a fluent speaker with you.
  2. All online forms can be found at the respective office.

The next step is getting your Codice Fiscale.

If you type “Italian bureaucracy” into your Google search bar, the first few results are survival guides. It is said that even the simplest of processes can become a confusing nightmare – always double-check opening times and ask the locals. Watch out for municipal holidays, some parts of Italy like to spring them on you at random.

You have to download the online form (it’s the first one) and follow the English instructions to fill it in, then storm over to the tax office (Agenzie delle entrate) with a few photocopies of your documents in hand.

Imagine the rush of adrenaline as you run to find the right office, which opens sporadically and only a few hours a day. The suspense builds as you jump over pizza delivery boys and old Italian grandmothers: Will it be open? Will it be closed? Who knows!

When it’s finally your turn, you receive a flimsy piece of paper with your tax number on it, your permanent one will later arrive in the post.

  • Register for the Partita IVA – Italian VAT

IVA is just the Italian acronym for VAT, which is the ID number that must be included in every progressively numbered invoice. Download the form (the first link) and fill it in with the help of a local if your Italian isn’t up to scratch. Then bring it to your trusty tax office with photocopies of your ID and Codice Fiscale. Or, download the software from the office’s web page and complete the online form.

This must be done within 30 days of opening your business.

You will receive your IVA number for free and will be charged through taxation later on. The IVA tax can be paid monthly or every three months and is set at 23%.

You will also have to pay IRPEF, the personal income tax, which depends on your income and ranges from 23 to 43 per cent. Only the income earned in Italy is taxable if you spend less than 183 days a year in the country, otherwise, your worldwide income is subject to IRPEF.

Alternatively, the easiest method is to hire a tax consultant to do it for you. You should also get a tax consultant to handle your taxes for €400 or more per year.

  • Insurance and Healthcare

Freelancers saw great advantages come their way when the Italian Jobs Act came into force to ensure more job security.

For social security benefits and pension insurance, regular payments to the National Social Security Institute (INPS) have to be made. These payments will also earn you access to the Italian National Health Service (Servizio Sanitario Nazionale).

As for standard business insurance policies, a freelancer needs professional indemnity insurance and public liability insurance (L’assicurazione delle responsabilità civile professionale)

You’re already changing your mind about freelancing in Italy, aren’t you?

Don’t let these hurdles scare you off. Make the leap, put in the effort, and enjoy drifting in a gondola in the tight canals of Venice.

  • Cancelling your Partita Iva

Been a libero professionista in Italy for too long? Tempted to try out freelancer life in Berlin? You’d better cancel your VAT first!

Go back to the form that you used to open your IVA and, with the help of your newly acquired language, select the cancellation option, fill it in, take it to the tax office, then cash in on the perks of your job and go be free somewhere else.

By Awa Thiam

[Main photo by La So on Unsplash].