Moving to Italy For Members

Moving to Italy: Finding the right bank account and setting up as self-employed

Clare Speak
Clare Speak - [email protected]
Moving to Italy: Finding the right bank account and setting up as self-employed
Italy's Intesa Sanpaolo bank is one popular option for foreigners moving to Italy, but what should you consider when choosing an account? Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

Moving to Italy, a country infamous for its red tape, can seem like a daunting task. Our new newsletter is here to answer your questions - this time we're looking at Italy's low tax rate for new freelancers and the best Italian bank accounts for foreigners.


Here at The Local we're an international team living in Italy - which means we've either grown up navigating Italian bureaucracy or been through the simultaneously exciting and nerve-wracking process of moving countries.

Our new newsletter is aimed at people who are in the process of moving, have recently moved and are still grappling with the paperwork or perhaps are just thinking about it - and we'll share a regular selection of practical tips. Our team is also available to answer questions from subscribers to The Local.

Is Italy’s low tax rate for freelancers right for you?

Becoming self-employed or starting a small business can be a great option for those who want freedom and flexibility, and you might be considering this as you plan your move to Italy.

Self-employed workers need to open a VAT number (Partita Iva) and will be responsible for covering all of their own social security contributions, as well as filing tax returns and paying income taxes - which in Italy range from 23 to 43 percent depending on how much you earn.

The income tax rate however falls to as little as five percent if you open your Partita Iva under Italy’s simplified regime forfettario: a flat-rate tax scheme for individuals and small businesses which aims to cut down on red tape as well as lowering tax bills.

It’s an attractive offer, but is anything in Italy ever really that simple? We looked at some of the pros and cons of setting up as self-employed under this scheme.

Which are the best banks for foreigners in Italy?

It’s not the most exciting thing to think about when planning a move to Italy, but opening a bank account is one of the first hurdles foreigners moving to Italy face - and it will pay to do some research in advance. 

Overseas accounts, especially those from outside the eurozone, are unlikely to cut it for everyday tasks like paying bills by direct debit, receiving an Italian salary (or invoicing as a freelancer), and taking out insurance. Italian authorities usually require you to use an account with an Italian IBAN number.

Italy has a large number of banks to choose from; ranging from traditional Italian institutions to large international banks, plus a host of online-only operators that have grown in popularity in recent years.


But a lack of information in English, confusing paperwork, and countless different offers on the market can make it hard to find the right option for you. We asked readers for their recommendations here.

And what if you’re not a full-time resident of Italy - at least, not yet? Non-residents can also open an Italian bank account, though the options are more limited. Find out more about what's available.


The Local's Reader Questions section covers questions our members have asked us and is a treasure trove of useful info on all kinds of practical matters. If you can't find the answer you're looking for, head here to leave us your questions.


Join the conversation in our comments section below. Share your own views and experience and if you have a question or suggestion for our journalists then email us at [email protected].
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