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What is Italy’s investor visa and how can you apply?

Italy is keen to attract foreign investment and prepared to cut some red tape to do so. Tuscany-based tax experts MGI Vannucci e Associati explain how investing in Italy could secure you the right to live here.

What is Italy's investor visa and how can you apply?
Investing in an Italian business is one way to get residency. Photo: Piero Cruciatti/AFP

In recent years, Italian economic policies have invested particularly in measures to make the country more attractive to international investors by facilitating business initiatives and simplifying internal regulations in order to make the bureaucratic system more streamlined for those who want to start a business.

What is the Investor Visa for Italy?

This particular visa has been introduced in our country to attract foreign capital and talent. It therefore represents a measure which, together with the facilitated tax regime of the “flat tax”, allows foreign investors to enjoy important tax benefits and immigration concessions.

READ ALSO: Why Italy's inheritance taxes aren't as high as you might expect

Today these benefits are even more interesting. In fact, the minimum thresholds for investments in innovative companies and startups by foreign investors have been halved, so that they can invest in Italy and enjoy tax breaks even with a lower financial contribution.

The thresholds are now as follows:

  • For investments in instruments representing joint stock companies operating in Italy and maintained for at least two years, the minimum investment threshold went from €1 million to €500,000;
  • For investments in innovative startups registered in the special section of the business register referred to in article 25, paragraph 8, of law decree n.179 of 18 October 2012, the minimum investment threshold went from €500,000 to €250,000.

The reduction of the financial threshold makes Italy the most competitive nation in the European context.

Who is eligible?

The investor visa is valid for two years for non-EU citizens who choose to invest in strategic activities for the Italian economy and companies.

How do you apply?

To obtain a visa, non-EU investors must obtain a nulla osta (certificate of no impediment) issued by the Investors Committee for Italy (IV4I). The procedure is quick: it is concluded within 30 days of sending a complete application. It is free and entirely online. 

After obtaining the nulla osta, the application for an investor visa must be submitted to the diplomatic mission of your place of residence within six months.

Once you receive the visa, you have two years to enter Italy.

What does the investor visa allow you to do?

With the residence permit for investment you can:

  • Circulate freely for the Schengen Area for a maximum period of 90 days within 180 days;
  • After five years of regular residence in Italy, you can apply for an EU residence permit for long-term residents;
  • After ten years of residence, you can apply for Italian citizenship.

Are there tax incentives?

The Investor Visa for Italy programme incentivizes Investments in startups and innovative SMEs. The benefits consist of:

  • For individuals, a deduction from income tax (personal income tax) equal to 30 percent of the amount invested, for a maximum contribution of €1 million. Currently, based on the Relaunch decree, the percentage rises to 50 percent for investments up to €100,000.
  • For limited liability companies, a deduction from the taxable amount for IRES (corporate income tax) purposes equal to 30 percent of the investment, with a maximum threshold set at €1.8 million.

For more information, visit the Italian Ministry of Economic Development's website

MGI Vannucci e Associati are a team of English-speaking chartered accountants and tax experts based in Tuscany, Italy.
 

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MONEY

How much does it cost to raise a child in Italy?

How big is the financial commitment parents have to make in Italy to pay for their offspring’s needs and expenses until they’re grown up and independent? Here's a look at the predicted costs.

How much does it cost to raise a child in Italy?

Family is the bedrock of Italian society, but it’s also an unbalanced economic crutch, propping up children who leave home much later than most of their European counterparts.

Various factors are at play, from a declining birth rate, youth unemployment, being unable to get on the property ladder to young Italians moving abroad in search of better financial opportunities.

It probably comes as little shock, then, that parents in Italy end up forking out huge sums of cash to support their offspring through childhood and early adulthood (and beyond).

Even just up to the age of 18, raising a child in Italy can cost upwards of €320,000, according to data from Italian consumer research body ONF (Osservatorio Nazionale Federconsumatori).

The average spend of raising a child from 0-18 years is €175,642, but it rises in families with high incomes, classed as over €70,000 per year.

READ ALSO: Italian class sizes set to shrink as population falls further

Researchers noted that the cost of bringing up children has jumped up following the effects of the pandemic too: compared to 2018, child-rearing expenses increased by 1.2 percent by 2020.

The decrease in expenditure related to transport due to spending more time at home, as well as those incurred for sports and leisure activities, was not enough to mitigate the increase in costs for housing and utilities, which increased by 12 percent compared to 2018.

Photo by Suzanne Emily O’Connor on Unsplash

Food prices rose by 8 percent compared to 2018 and education and care jumped by 6 percent for the same timeframe.

In fact, Italy ranks as the third most expensive country in the world for raising children, only coming behind South Korea and China, according to data from investment bank JEF.

The pandemic has contributed to extending an already growing phenomenon: the decrease in annual income of Italian households.

Household income dropped by 2.8 percent from 2019 to 2020, the report found, citing data from national statistics agency Istat. It marks a further squeeze for families, especially low-income and single-parent families.

Depending on earnings, the amount needed to bring up a child until the age of 18 varies considerably.

READ ALSO: ‘Kids are adored here’: What being a parent in Italy is really like

A two-parent family with an annual income of €22,500 spends an average of €118,234.15 to bring up a child until the age of 18; for the same type of family but with an average income of €34,000 per year, the total expenditure to bring up a child increases to €175,642.72.

For high-income families, stated as over €70,000 annually, raising a child costs €321,617.36 on average.

The figures mark an increase of around €5,000 for low- and middle-income families, and a much sharper rise of €50,000 for high-income families, compared to ten years ago.

The money gets spent on housing, food, clothing, health, education and ‘other’ categories. The report revealed that the average spend on a child aged 16 years old is almost €11,500 annually, amounting to €955.78 per month.

Almost €2,000 per year gets spent on food, €1,615 goes on transport and communication, €782 goes on clothing and €1,600 goes on education annually, the report found.

They begin small, yet the costs are anything but. (Photo by LOIC VENANCE / AFP)

For the ONF, “these data highlight how, today more than ever, having a child is becoming a luxury reserved for the few, which fewer and fewer Italians are able to afford.”

READ ALSO:

The numbers on supporting children after their 18th birthday are a little hazier, as when children eventually fly the nest varies – but figures from Eurostat show that Italy ranks third in Europe for the average oldest age at which children move out of the parental home, at 30.2 years old.

Only young people from Croatia and Slovakia wait longer to live independently, while the EU average for flying the nest is 26.4 years old.

Even then after eventually leaving home at over 30 years old, it’s not entirely clear how many Italians are fully independent once they get their own address, or whether their parents continue to bankroll their living costs.

Italy’s president Sergio Mattarella sent a message to Italy’s Birth Foundation (Fondazione per la Natalità) in May stating, “The demographic structure of the country suffers from serious imbalances that significantly affect the development of our society.”

In response to worsening economic circumstances, the Italian government has recently pledged to do more to help people have families and reverse Italy’s continuing declining birth rate.

It has introduced the Single Universal Allowance (L’assegno unico e universale), but along with it has dropped various so-called ‘baby bonuses’ that provided lump sums to new parents.

The new allowance is a monthly means-tested benefit for those who have children, or are about to have a child. It is payable from the seventh month of pregnancy until the child reaches the age of 18 or in some cases, 21. For more information on what it is and how to claim it, see here.

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