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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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MOVING TO ITALY

Is Italy’s cheap homes frenzy coming to an end?

Italy's one euro homes captivated international audiences - but as renovation costs soar, would-be buyers are increasingly turning to other options, reports Silvia Marchetti.

Is Italy's cheap homes frenzy coming to an end?

In the past few years, dozens of depopulated towns across Italy have sold cheap and one euro homes for a song, triggering a property frenzy.

But with soaring inflation and sky-high building costs, the bonanza might be nearing its end, as people longing to live in a picturesque rural spot are starting to look at alternative options. 

One of the first towns to sell one euro homes in Sicily was Gangi, where over 500 crumbling buildings have been offloaded for the cost of an espresso since 2015, while more than 1,000 fixer-uppers have been sold.

READ ALSO: How to avoid hidden traps when buying an old property in Italy

“The best ones, particularly those in need of minimal fixes within our beautiful historical center, have all been snapped up”, says former deputy mayor Giuseppe Ferrarello.

“There are still some good deals regarding cheap homes, but prices have risen due to the high demand,” he says.

In Gangi, as in other Sicilian towns such as Sambuca and Mussomeli that have run similar schemes, what you could previously have bought for $15,000 – like a nice 50 square meter dwelling with a panoramic balcony in need of minimal renovation – now costs at least $20,000.

Soaring inflation, plus a lack of builders due to Italy’s superbonus tax breaks aimed at upgrading homes and making them ‘green’, has made it hard, and more expensive, to find construction teams available for a swift restyle. 

READ ALSO: PROPERTY: How Italy’s building bonuses are delaying the restyle of one-euro homes

In the Tuscan town of Vergemoli where abandoned stone cottages scattered across five districts have been bought up predominantly by South American families for a symbolic one euro, mayor Michele Giannini is now mapping more areas of the municipality to identify old houses long abandoned by locals which could be placed on the market.

“We’ve run out of one euro homes at the moment, which is actually a very good thing because it means our scheme was successful, but there are still so many dilapidated properties which could be given a new life and we still need new folk to revitalize the place,” he says.

As the rising cost of living may soon spell the end of Italy’s cheap homes frenzy, people are opting for other solutions; mainly rentals of furbished, turnkey properties and country homes which are cheaper than those in the old town and even come with a patch of land, including olive groves and plots. 

The popularity of one euro home schemes may be on the decline.

The popularity of Italy’s one euro home schemes may be on the decline. Photo by TIZIANA FABI / AFP.

In Troina, a Sicilian town which two years ago placed one euro and cheap homes on the market, renting a cozy three-floor apartment on the outskirts of the old district where all the main shops and grocery stores are located starts at €400 per month.

In the Piedmontese mountain village of Carrega Ligure, meanwhile, a cozy farmer’s house can be rented for €250 per month. 

Jacques Noire, a French retiree from the countryside around Nimes, says that not having found an available cheap home in Troina (as they all sold out last year) ended up being a godsend.

“I came with the idea of snatching a house for some €10,000, but I found none, then I bumped into a local at the bar, we started chatting, somehow I understood his cousin was renting her entire ancient palazzo, far from the old neighbourhood near the fields, for like €600 euros per month,” he says.

READ ALSO: OPINION: Why Italians aren’t snatching up their country’s one-euro homes

“By 8pm, I signed a lease contract for six months and now I come and go, spending three months in Sicily and half in France”.

Noire says the plus points of a rental are not having to deal with head-splitting bureaucracy, a tedious renovation, hidden costs and the hassle of liaising with construction teams. 

Word of mouth is helpful, but convenient rentals can be also be found online.

In Latronico, set in deep Basilicata, Biccari in rural Puglia, and Carrega Ligure in Piedmont, the rising popularity of rentals has pushed local authorities to advertise on their websites not only old dwellings for sale, but also those available for lease.

“I think it’s extremely helpful giving people interested in moving here or spending their holidays the chance to have several options at hand, both for sale and for rent, and a direct contact with the owners.

“When deals are signed it’s nice to see them together at the bar celebrating, or having dinner in the middle of an alley”, says Latronico’s deputy mayor Vincenzo Castellano.

The municipal platforms that advertise the properties serve as ‘virtual meeting places’ where original owners and interested tenants can get in touch. 

In other towns that have run out of one euro and cheap fixer-uppers, people have gone on a hunt for the ‘ideal’ rural home surrounded by pristine sheep-grazing fields and orchards.

Located a few kilometers from the ancient districts, these ‘bucolic’ farmer’s dwellings are up to 40 percent cheaper than those located in the historic center, and come with patches of land.

In the countryside close to Maenza, a village mid-way between Rome and Naples, a few 120 square meter villas with patio, barbecue, lemon orchards and olive groves, in no need of restyle, have been snapped up for as little as €40,000.

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