SHARE
COPY LINK
For members

MONEY

How families can claim Italy’s new universal single allowance

Italy has already recorded nearly two million applications for its new universal child benefit. Here's how you can claim the credit for your family.

How families can claim Italy's new universal single allowance
Applications are now open for Italy's new universal child benefit. Photo by Xavier Mouton Photographie on Unsplash

Families in Italy can now request the new single universal child benefit (L’assegno unico e universale) since applications opened on January 1st, 2022.

The new single allowance, approved in November, replaces a range of so-called ‘baby bonuses‘ in a move hoped to simplify the process of claiming financial support for parents.

READ ALSO: Ten things you need to know about giving birth in Italy

Some seven million families in Italy are eligible to claim the new benefit, and 1.75 million requests have already been made, according to data from Italy’s Social Security Institute (INPS).

For those yet to apply, the INPS on February 9th published instructions on making a claim – currently only in Italian.

Based on the official information available, here’s a guide to what the allowance is, who’s eligible, and how to apply.

What is the single universal child benefit?

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.

The first payments will be made in March 2022. If you apply by June, you’ll receive payments in arrears from January. After this date, you can still apply but won’t receive any backdated payments.

How much child benefit you can claim depends on your household wealth. Photo by Garrett Jackson on Unsplash

It’s also available to parents of children between 18 and 21 years of age who are dependent on the family – but they must prove that the child has undertaken a course of study or training, or has started an apprenticeship or traineeship contract.

No age limit is imposed in the case of a disabled child.

The universal payment is intended to help encourage more people in Italy to start a family as the birth rate slumps again to a new record low.

It comes as part of the country’s wider strategy – the so-called Family Act – which aims to make starting a family in Italy more affordable.

However, with the introduction of this payment, other ‘bonuses’ for parents have been scrapped altogether – such as the one-off payment of €800 for expectant mothers (Bonus Mamma Domani) and the Bonus Bebé, which had a higher minimum payout, available for the first year of the child’s life.

How much are you entitled to?

The amount payable to each family is based on the household’s economic situation, which in Italy is calculated as ‘ISEE’ (Indicatore della Situazione Economica Equivalente, or ‘Equivalent Financial Position Indicator’).

In other words, you are means-tested to find out how much allowance you’ll be entitled to. The calculation takes into account income and 20 percent of assets, such as your house and your car, for instance.

READ ALSO: How Italy just made it easier to access essential paperwork online

To find out what your ISEE is, you need to fill out a declaration form of your income and assets called the DSU (Dichiarazione Sostitutiva Unica). You can do this yourself or ask your accountant (commercialista) for help.

The amount you can claim ranges from a maximum of €175 per month for households with an ISEE of up to €15,000 per year, to a minimum monthly amount of €50 for those with an ISEE of over €40,000.

Photo by Ana Tablas on Unsplash

If you decide not to calculate your ISEE, INPS states that you’ll be entitled to the base rate of €50 monthly for each child.

From the third child onwards, there is an extra €85 per child and an extra €30 if both parents work.

That means typical payments will range from €50 per month if you have one child and have an ISEE over €40,000, or don’t submit one at all, to around €700 per month if you have three children on a minimum ISEE and both parents are in work.

You’ll need to claim again annually for this benefit.

Who is eligible to claim?

Parents or those who have parental responsibility can access this benefit regardless of employment status. That means all categories of employees (both public and private), the self-employed, pensioners, the unemployed and the unemployable are equally eligible.

Grandparents can apply in the case of sole parental responsibility.

To be eligible, you need to either be an Italian or EU citizen, or a family member of an Italian or EU citizen.

You can also apply if you are a citizen of a non-European country and have an Italian or EU long-term residence permit (permesso di soggiorno per soggiornanti di lungo periodo).

READ ALSO: Visas and residency permits: How to move to Italy (and stay here)

You can also claim the allowance if you hold a work permit authorised for a period of more than six months, or if you hold a residence permit for research purposes authorised for more than six months.

If you wish, you can split the benefit between two parents, by entering the two payment details in the application.

If you’re pregnant, you can only apply after the birth, when the child has been assigned a tax code (codice fiscale). With the first monthly allowance, arrears will be paid from the seventh month of pregnancy.

You can still claim the Bonus asilo nido (nursery bonus) concurrently.

How do I claim?

There are a few ways to apply:

  • by accessing the MyINPS site here – then click on ‘Assegno unico e universale per i figli a carico‘ (Single and universal allowance for dependent children). You’ll need your SPID, a Carta di Identità Elettronica (CIE) or a Carta Nazionale dei Servizi (CNS) to log in;
  • by calling 803164 (free of charge from a landline) or 06164164 (from a mobile network – charges will apply);
  • by going to a patronato (a type of office offering legal and bureaucratic advice and assistance), or by asking an accountant (commercialista) for advice.

READ ALSO: How to use your Italian ID card to access official services online

For more information, INPS has created an FAQ – you can read it (in Italian) here.

The Ministry of Economy and Finance has also provided detailed information on the benefit with a breakdown of how much you can claim based on your ISEE bracket and number of children here.

See more of The Local’s guides to dealing with Italian bureaucracy here.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.
For members

BUREAUCRACY

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s new digital invoicing rule for freelancers?

Italy is bringing in new rules from July that mean changes for freelancers on the 'flat tax' rate. Here’s what you need to know about the new ‘fatturazione elettronica’, or digital invoicing system.

EXPLAINED: What is Italy’s new digital invoicing rule for freelancers?

Italy has been slowly moving more of its bureaucratic systems online in recent years, and in many cases this has made it quicker and easier for residents to access services and get their considerable amounts of Italian life admin in order.

It was hoped that the new electronic invoicing rule would do the same for freelancers on Italy’s flat-tax regime, by doing away with the existing need to print out invoices and affix tax stamps by hand.

READ ALSO: Beat the queues: 19 bits of Italian bureaucracy you can do online

But a close look at the details of the new rules shows that it probably won’t make life easier for those on the flat tax rate, who have so far been spared the bulk of that infamous Italian red tape – but now need to get to grips with a new online system.

Known as the ‘regime forfettario‘, Italy’s flat-rate tax scheme for individuals and small businesses was introduced in 2015 to encourage more commercial activity by slashing tax rates and simplifying bureaucracy.

New freelancers who choose this tax system generally pay somewhere between just five and 15 percent tax on earnings, regardless of overheads.

READ ALSO: The pros and cons of Italy’s five percent flat tax for freelancers

Little has changed since its inception seven years ago, but freelancers using the scheme now need to be aware of new rules coming into force from July 1st, 2022.

How you invoice – how you send, receive and store receipts, therefore – is due to move from analogue to digital, bringing new requirements and know-how on digital invoicing software.

Here’s what’s changing for freelancers with the so-called ‘fattura elettronica‘.

Who is required to send electronic invoices?

While this was already a requirement for the self-employed on other tax regimes, those on the flat tax rate will now be included from July 1st.

They were previously exempt, but that changed under the PNRR (National recovery and resilience plan or piano nazionale di ripresa e resilienza) – the Italian government’s plan for using EU funding for post-pandemic economic recovery.

Digital invoicing is intended to fight Italy’s major problem with tax evasion, as well as to further automate accounting processes.

For now, not all freelancers under this tax scheme need to move to digital accounting – only those who received an income in excess of €25,000 in the previous year are required to comply with the new rule.

It will then extend to all freelancers using the flat-rate scheme from January 1st, 2024.

From that date, everyone subscribed to the ‘regime forfettario’ will have to switch to electronic invoicing and there are hefty penalties in place for those who don’t.

How will electronic invoices work?

Italy’s tax authority has defined a couple of notable differences between the digital or electronic invoice (fattura elettronica) and a paper invoice (fattura di carta) in its updated guidelines.

Firstly, the digital invoice has to be created using a digital device (a computer, tablet or smartphone), and secondly it has to be sent to the client via an ‘Interchange System’, the so-called Sistema di Interscambio (SdI).

READ ALSO: ‘Smart working’? Here’s what you need to know about going self-employed in Italy

Italy’s flat-rate tax scheme is going digital. Photo by Christian Dubovan on Unsplash

This electronic postal system checks whether the invoice contains the required data for tax purposes, as well as checking the verified e-address (or the so-called PEC address) of the recipient.

In doing so, the electronic invoice automatically checks that the VAT number (partita IVA), or the tax code (codice fiscale) depending on who you send the invoice to, really exist.

Once the checks are completed, the system sends the invoice to the client, which will trigger an alert to the freelancer with a delivery receipt, showing the date and time the document was delivered.

How can you send an e-invoice?

There are a few accounting software options on the market if you’re now faced with having to send electronic invoices.

Some charge a fee of around €1-€4 per month or come at a cost per transaction.

Platforms such as ‘Aruba‘ or ‘Fatture in Cloud‘, are competitive and may offer you a free trial before you deciding to buy.

The Italian revenue agency (Agenzie delle Entrate) has also created free-of-charge services to help send and receive e-invoices. These include websites as well as apps for completing the required steps, which are detailed in their guide here.

You can access their Invoices and Receipts (‘Fatture e Corrispettivi‘) portal to benefit from these free services.

You’ll either need a Spid ID (‘Sistema Pubblico dell’Identità Digitale‘), a Carta Nazionale dei Servizi (CNS) or accounting credentials known as Fisconline/Entrate, which are issued by the Agenzie delle Entrate.

You can also delegate this task to an intermediary, such as an accountant (commercialista) who would do this on your behalf, the revenue agency stipulates 

What about the Italian tax stamp?

Until now, freelancers issuing invoices under the ‘regime forfettario‘ have had to attach a €2 stamp, called a ‘marca da bollo’, to every invoice over the value of €77,47.

So what happens when e-receipts go digital and you can’t physically stick a stamp on a document? Well, that goes digital too and the Inland Revenue has issued a 16-page guide on how you need to go about it.

It seems the previously attractive ‘light’ accounting of this regime is about to get bogged down by time-consuming bureaucracy too.

Authorities will systematically check that the fee has been paid each quarter for all the invoices that require it.

As a general rule, you can see if there are any discrepancies by the 15th day of the first month following each quarter on their Invoices and Receipts portal.

You or your intermediary have until the end of that month to fix any accounting errors, but make sure to check with an accountant if you have any difficulties or need specific advice for your personal circumstances.

Once you receive your final stamp duty bill for each quarter, you can pay either via IBAN, which you set up on the portal, or by filling out an electronic F24 form – details of how to do that are included in the guide.

For further information and FAQ’s, see Italy’s Inland Revenue Agency website on the electronic invoice here.

Please note The Local cannot advise on personal cases and seeking expert financial advice is recommended.

SHOW COMMENTS