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BUREAUCRACY

Codice fiscale: How to get your Italian tax code (and why you need one)

One of the first and most important things new residents in Italy need is a codice fiscale, or tax code. Here's a quick guide to getting yours.

Codice fiscale: How to get your Italian tax code (and why you need one)
Get ready for your visit to the Italian tax office. Photo: AFP

What is it and why do I need one?

A codice fiscale is a personal identification number similar to a Social Security number in the US or National Insurance number in the UK.

But it’s not just used for employment or paying taxes. Unlike in the UK where you get your NI number at the age of 16, Italy issues the codice fiscale at birth.

Whether you’ll be working or not, the code is essential for everyday activities. You’ll need it to do practically anything; from opening a bank account to buying property, and you’ll even need to enter it when making some online purchases.

And if you weren’t born in Italy, you’ll still need to get hold of this number as soon as you start your life here.

Is it difficult to get?

The good news is that it’s relatively quick and easy to get hold of. You can get your own codice fiscale even if you don’t speak much of the language – and even if you’re not in the country.

How much does it cost?

Getting your Italian tax code is free. There should be no charges made by Italian authorities at any stage of the process.

However, some readers have reported being charged up to 250 euros by unscrupulous middlemen who’ll make the application on your behalf – and claim there are hefty fees involved. There aren’t.

If you choose to use the services of a lawyer or translator they may of course charge their own fees, but the application itself costs nothing.

How do I apply?

If you’re not in Italy, visit the Italian embassy or consulate in your country to apply. You can also have a legal professional in Italy obtain the tax code on your behalf.

If you are in Italy, non-EU citizens applying for the tax code will need to visit one of three offices, depending on their reasons for applying.

According to the Agenzie delle Entrate (Italian Revenue Agency, or tax office), people entering the country “either for employment purposes or to reunite with their family” must apply for a codice fiscale at the immigration desk at their local prefettura (prefecture), known as the ‘Sportello Unico per l’immigrazione‘.

Meanwhile, foreign nationals “who require either the issuance or renewal of a residence permit” should apply for the tax code via their local Questura, the province’s police headquarters.

READ ALSO: How foreign nationals can apply for an Italian ID card

“In any other situation the tax identification number can be obtained from the offices of the Italian Revenue Agency,” the tax office website states.

Citizens of non-EU Countries need to show at least one of the following documents when applying:

  • a valid passport with visa (if required), or any other document accepted by the Italian authorities
  • a certificate of identity issued by the Italian diplomatic or consular authorities of the Country of nationality (with photo)
  • a valid residence permit (permesso di soggiorno)
  • an ID card issued by the municipality of residence in Italy.

“Non-EU citizens must also prove that they have the right to stay, even temporarily, in Italy,” the website states.

Meanwhile, EU citizens can apply for the tax identification number at any Agenzie delle Entrate office. Find your nearest office here.

Along with the application form, which the tax office will provide (although perhaps not in English), you’ll need to show a valid identification document (identity card or passport).

The all-important application form. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

When will I get my codice fiscale?

You should be assigned your code immediately at the office if you’re applying in person. The tax office will print out a piece of paper with your number on there and then.

A plastic card (tesserino) carrying the same information should be posted a few weeks later to the address you gave on the application form.

If you later apply for a tessera sanitaria, or Italian state health insurance card, your codice fiscale will also be printed on the back of that.

READ ALSO: Who can register for national healthcare in Italy?

If you lose your codice fiscale or tessera sanitaria, you can request a replacement online.

Please note The Local is unable to assist with applications. For more information about getting a codice fiscale, see the Italian tax office’s website here (in English).

Find more guides to navigating Italian paperwork in our bureaucracy section.

Member comments

  1. The article says “you can even apply for a codice fiscale even if you are not in the country” then goes onto to say – “go to your Agenzia delle Entrate”. Just how can one do this on-line? During Covid it is hard to get to the Agenzia delle Entrate and I’d like to do it on-line. Thanks

  2. I need to same information.
    Is the Agenzia delle Entrate on Via Ippolito Niguo in Rome open these days?
    does anyone know?

  3. Hi Jenifer, you can apply from outside Italy by going to your nearest Italian consulate, as the article explains. It’s not possible to apply for your codice fiscale online (you can work out what it will be using an online generator, but it’s not official). There are services that will have a legal professional apply at the Agenzia delle Entrate on your behalf, thus saving you the trip, but they charge a fee.

  4. I received a letter in the mail with our official codice fiscale, but we’ve never received our plastic cards. We are still at the same address. Who do we contact in Florence?

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For members

LIVING IN ITALY

Where do all the native English speakers live in Italy?

Have you ever wondered how many English speakers live in Italy? Here's a look at how many there are and where they live - and which areas they tend to avoid.

Where do all the native English speakers live in Italy?

Good weather, stunning landscapes, amazing food and relaxed ways of life all make Italy an extremely popular destination among foreign nationals.

According to the latest data from Italian statistics office Istat, Italy is currently home to just over five million foreigners, who make up around 8.5 percent of the country’s total population. 

This data only refers to people who have officially registered their residence with local authorities, and doesn’t include foreign nationals who only spend part of the year in Italy or dual citizens.

But exactly how many of these residents come from English-speaking countries and where do they all live? Here’s what emerges from the data.

Brits dominate the Anglophone population

Italy’s 50,600 residents from Anglophone countries only account for one percent of the foreign population.

READ ALSO: How to apply for an Italian elective residency visa from the UK

For context, the Romanian community, which is the largest in the country, is made up of well over a million residents and accounts for roughly 20 percent.

Out of all the native English-speaking residents, Brits are by far the most-represented group as around 28,400 UK nationals – that’s nearly three in five Italy-based Anglophones – are known to live in the country.

The top three is completed by the US with 14,500 residents and Ireland with 3,300. 

Then there’s Canada (2,000), Australia (1,400), South Africa (700) and New Zealand (300).

Lombardy is the most popular region

Lombardy, which boasts the largest job market in the country and includes Italy’s financial powerhouse, Milan, is home to some 9,000 native English-speaking residents, making it the most popular region for Anglophones.

READ ALSO: What are the best Milan neighbourhoods for international residents?

Unsurprisingly, the UK is once again the most-represented country as around 5,000 British nationals – that’s nearly 18 percent of all Brits in Italy – live in the northern region.

Milan's famous Duomo cathedral

Lombardy, the northern region including Italy's financial capital, Milan, is home to some 9,000 native English-speaking residents. Photo by Miguel MEDINA / AFP

But Lombardy also has a sizeable US community as 2,400 Americans live in the area.  

Lazio, which includes Italy’s capital, Rome, is ‘only’ the second-most popular region for Anglophones to move to. 

While it has a lower number of English-speaking residents in total, Lazio is the first choice for Americans (2,800 residents), Irish people (700), Canadians (400) and New Zealanders (56).

Tuscany the third-most popular destination for all English-speaking communities, from Brits to New Zealanders. 

Other regions with notable numbers of English speakers are: Emilia-Romagna, which includes the lively and youthful Bologna; Veneto, home to Italy’s floating city, Venice; and Piedmont, including its industrial hub, Turin.

The Eternal City’s appeal

Rome might not have the slick economy of the northern metropolises, but its tourism industry, government institutions and cultural cachet are enough to make it the single top city for native English speakers. 

Around 6,900 Anglophones live in the Eternal City, with Brits (3,200 residents) and Americans (2,400) being the largest communities. 

Rome's Colosseum

Around 6,900 Anglophones live in Rome, with Brits and Americans being the largest communities.
Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP

Interestingly, Rome acts as a magnetic pole for the entire region as over 80 percent of UK and US nationals living in Lazio are concentrated in the city. 

READ ALSO: Reader question: What are the rules on moving household goods to Italy?

After Rome, Milan and Florence are Anglophones’ favourite city destinations.

Milan is home to 4,500 native English speakers, with over half of them being originally from the UK, whereas Florence has 2,400 English-speaking residents.

Anglophones tend to avoid southern regions…and the Aosta Valley

All of Italy’s southern regions count comparatively lower numbers of native English-speaking residents, with the lack of job opportunities in the area likely being the main determining factor.

Basilicata and Molise are the second- and third-least popular regions, with just 180 and 191 English-speaking residents respectively.

That said, the region where you're least likely to hear English spoken is not located in the south of the country.

In fact, the Aosta Valley, a small autonomous region in the north-west of the peninsula, is home to as few as 151 Anglophones - though this shouldn't come as much of a surprise, as this is the least populous region in Italy.

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