GUIDE ON EMIGRATING TO ITALY

Italian money

Money makes the world go round so before going abroad it’s a good idea to look into the currency of your chosen destination. To keep up to date with the latest news effecting Italian currency go to http://www.euroexchangeratenews.com.

Currency

Italy is a member of the European Union (EU) and the euro-zone. Including Italy, there are 17 nations in the euro-zone which you can travel between without having to exchange your funds.

Coins start with the 1 cent piece and end with the 2 euro piece whilst notes can be found in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500 euro denominations.

Whilst the denomination side of euro’s remain the same throughout the euro-zone the face side image varies from country to country.

Although currencies like sterling can be changed into euro’s at currency exchange kiosks at airports and banks (among other places) transferring your funds at the right time can make a huge difference. Getting the best exchange rate possible can save you money and help your global transition so if you’re emigrating it’s strongly recommended that you seek advice from a trusted currency broker. A good one to use is: http://www.torfx.com/

Banks

If you plan on staying in Italy for some time you’ll probably need an Italian bank account for day-to-day transactions.

In Italy there are three main kinds of banks; co-operative, co-operative credit and regular commercial or credit banks.

The purpose of co-operative banks is to offer loans (like home loans) to their customers. Co-operative credit banks are artisan savings banks and though numerous are relatively small and commonly owned by farmers and craftsmen. Banking hours can vary according to the town and the branch but banks usually open from 8/8.30 am and close at 1/1.30pm. Most banks will only open for a further hour in the afternoon but on Saturdays some branches will open from 9 am to 12 pm.

Non-resident’s are only allowed to open a non-resident account, although EU residents can open a current or cheque account. Non-resident accounts pay higher interest than resident accounts and only imported euro’s or foreign currency can be paid in to them. Non-residents may find it easier to use credit cards, cash and travellers’ cheques but these really are more costly options.

If you live or work primarily in Italy you can apply for residency. Once you have received a resident’s permit you can open a full bank account.

The most common type of bank account used in Italy for everyday transactions is a cheque or current account. A debit card can be requested with this kind of account as can a cheque book; both usually have to collected from your local branch in person. In Italy debit cards are known as Bancomat cards and having one results in an annual fee of between 10 and 20 euro’s. The majority of banks will also issue a small charge every time you use the card.

Although cheques are no longer the popular payment method they once were it is important to remember that bouncing cheques in Italy is illegal and can result in prosecution or in being banned from having an Italian bank account in your name. As current account charges can vary considerably it’s best to research banks and account options before you commit.

The top ten banks in Italy are responsible for about 35 per cent of the populations total bankable assets and the post office also acts for a savings bank for many Italians (non-Italians must be an Italian resident if they wish to open a post office account).

Traditionally Italian banking charges have always been some of the largest in the world and this is particularly true of the interest rates levied at consumer and business loans. It’s very important to compare rates, ask for recommendations and really shop around before you make any kind of commitment. It’s also more sensible to open an account in person then to do it over the phone or internet. If you do decide to open a bank account by correspondence than a reference from your current bank must be provided as well as a certificate of signature or signature witnessed by a lawyer or solicitor. Photocopies of relevant passport pages and a euro draft will also be asked for.

To open a bank account in Italy you must be older than 18, fill out an application form and bring both proof of your address and proof of your identity to an appointment made with the local branch of the bank you have chosen to go with.

The majority of Italy’s foreign population have at least two bank accounts – a local account for everyday business and a foreign account for international transfers.

It is also important to note that the majority of credit cards issued in Italy are more like charge cards as payments are due when billed and repayment cannot take place over months or years as it can with a traditional credit card. The charges and services which accompany a credit card can differ considerably so shop around for the best deal.

Italian banks do have a reputation for slowness, inefficiency and poor service provision but they are improving and they are usually safe places to deposit your funds. The majority of deposits are covered by a Fondo Interbancario di Tutela dei Depositi – or Bank Deposit Insurance Fund.

Income tax

Tax evasion is still a rather common occurrence in Italy despite larger fines and severer sanctions being imposed in recent years. In Italy the tax year is the same as the calendar year and the income tax is among the highest payable in the EU. Every person is taxed individually whether they file a joint tax return or not and income is taxed in the same year as the receipt of payment or advantage. When moving to a foreign country it is advised that you seek advice from an international tax expert to ensure you are paying correctly and not losing out when you don’t need to be.