Retiring in the South of Italy: the 7% Flat Tax Regime

some retired persons in an italian cafe reading journal and talking together flat tax 7 percent retired and pensioners

Are you contemplating relocating to Southern Italy for retirement?

If so, you may qualify for a special tax relief program that offers a fixed tax rate of 7% on all income for pensioners. Let’s explore the details of this appealing opportunity.

What Does this Special Tax Relief Consist of?

Under this program, pensioners (retired individuals)—regardless of nationality—who have maintained tax residency outside Italy for at least five years before becoming Italian tax residents can benefit from the 7% flat tax. However, specific criteria must be met:

– The transfer of tax residence must be to one of the designated regions in Southern Italy or specified seismic areas in other regions.

– Previous residency in a territory with which Italy has administrative cooperation arrangements is required.

– The regime exempts pensioners from standard Italian tax rates, wealth tax, and foreign asset reporting obligations.

Defining “Pensioner” and Other Key Terms

The legislation defines a pensioner broadly as any individual receiving a pension, whether from government or private sources, regardless of age or income source. The inclusion of private pensions makes this regime appealing to retirees with diverse pension arrangements.

Understanding the Period and Timing

The 7% tax regime extends over 10 years from the tax year of residence transfer. It’s essential to opt for this regime in the tax return for the year of relocation. Timeliness is crucial, as failure to elect promptly may result in losing entitlement to the program.

Checking Municipality Population

Before making the move, ensure that your chosen municipality meets the population criteria. Direct verification with the local authority is advisable.

Impact of Electing the 7% Flat Tax Regime

Choosing the 7% flat tax regime entails several significant consequences for retired individuals, offering both exemptions and limitations that should be carefully considered before making their choice:


– Income Taxes: Beneficiaries are exempt from the standard income tax rates applicable to various income sources, including pension income, overseas business profits, employment earnings, and rental income.

– Investment Income Tax: Individuals are relieved from the 26% substitute tax on investment income, such as dividends and interest from non-Italian companies, providing favorable tax treatment for investment returns.

– Foreign Asset Reporting: There is no obligation to declare foreign assets, eliminating the need to compile the RW section of the tax return, thereby simplifying the reporting process.

– Wealth Taxes: The regime grants exemption from wealth taxes, such as IVIE and IVAFE, on foreign assets, alleviating the tax burden associated with owning assets abroad.

– Deductions Limitations: However, it’s worth noting that the 7% substitute tax does not permit deductions for tax-deductible expenses or credits, including those for dependents, alimony, energy-saving expenses, or real estate refurbishment.


Italian Source Income: The regime does not encompass income sourced within Italy, which remains subject to standard taxation methods, including marginal rates or other applicable flat-tax rates.

– Reporting Requirements: Individuals with Italian source income must report and pay tax on such earnings separately, following standard taxation procedures.

Understanding these implications is crucial for individuals considering this tax relief option.

Considerations for Foreign Pension Income

For pensioners receiving income from foreign governments or local authorities, tax liability may vary based on double tax treaties. In such cases, consulting with tax authorities and understanding treaty terms are essential to determine eligibility for the 7% regime.

At the end of the flat tax period, taxpayers revert to the normal tax regime unless extended by new legislation. Termination of the regime occurs upon taxpayer request or relocation to a non-qualifying municipality. Changes in eligibility criteria may also affect the tax status.

In conclusion, the special tax relief presents an attractive proposition for pensioners seeking to settle in Southern Italy. However, a thorough understanding of eligibility criteria, timing considerations, and implications for foreign pension income is essential for making informed decisions regarding tax obligations and benefits.

Please note that this article serves as general information and does not constitute legal or fiscal advice. For personalized assistance tailored to your specific circumstances, it is recommended to consult with a professional advisor.