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Reader question: How will Venice’s tourist tax affect second-home owners?

Those who live in Venice are exempt from paying a new charge for tourists - but how do the rules apply to other frequent visitors who aren't resident?

View of Venice's Grand Canal
Day-trippers looking to access Venice’s city centre and its smaller islands will be charged an entry fee starting from January 16th 2023. Photo by Laurent EMMANUEL / AFP

Question: I own a property in Venice, but I’m not registered as a resident as I don’t live there permanently. Will the new ‘tourist tax’ apply to me?

Many people who own homes in Italy are not registered as residents, even if they spend significant amounts of time in the country.

But in certain parts of the country, second-home owners and other frequent visitors are becoming concerned that they may now be hit by additional charges and rules aimed at controlling tourist crowds.

Venice will introduce a new entry fee in January 2023. While residents will no doubt be exempt from the tax, what are the rules for others who spend a lot of time in the area – but aren’t officially resident?

READ ALSO: How will the tourist-control system work in Venice?

Commonly known as the ‘tourist tax’, the new charge or contributo di accesso will apply to daytrippers looking to visit the city centre or any of Venice’s smaller islands.

It will cost between three and ten euros and will be in place from January 16th, 2023, city mayor Luigi Brugnaro confirmed earlier this month.

The goal of the measure, said Brugnaro, is to encourage visitors to stay in the city overnight, and to better regulate seasonal crowds as Venice’s pre-pandemic overtourism problems begin to resurface. 

While it was clear as far back as last April that those residing within the Comune di Venezia – which includes Mestre and all minor islands – would be exempt from paying the entry fee, uncertainty still lingers over others who are not registered as residents in Venice.

The local authority’s website states that those who own “property located within Venice’s municipality and their close family members” will be exempt from the fee, as long as they’ve paid their taxes: second-home owners are required to pay a tax known as IMU (Imposta Municipale Unica, or Unified Municipal Tax) on the property in question. 

It’s worth noting that IMU must be paid by all second-home owners, regardless of their nationality. It’s generally paid in two instalments: one in summer and the other in the last months of the year (this year’s second payment is due on December 16th).

READ ALSO: Can second-home owners get an Italian residence permit?

So, are we certain that those who own a second home in Venice and regularly pay their IMU are exempt from the entry fee? Well, they should be.

But Venice’s city council hasn’t yet approved the final text of the decree setting out the rules for applying the charge. So for now, this exemption is not confirmed.

Additionally, should the exemption for second-home owners be confirmed, it isn’t yet clear what type of documents they would be asked to produce in order to confirm their ‘exempt’ status. 

Alongside residents and second-home owners, those working or studying in Venice’s city centre or any of its smaller islands should also be exempt from the contributo, as will be visitors spending the night in one of the city’s hospitality structures (hotels, B&Bs, hostels and so on). 

Exceptions are also expected to apply to children under six years of age, anyone born within the Comune di Venezia, people with disabilities and their carers, public officials, and people visiting family members. A full list is available here

The local authority in Venice is expected to confirm the rules and exemptions in the coming weeks.

Find more information about how the new charges will apply in a separate article here.

Do you have a burning question about life in Italy that you’d like the The Local’s writers to answer? Email us here.

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READER QUESTIONS

Can I open a bank account in Italy as a non-resident?

Having an Italian bank account is an advantage when it comes to paying for utilities and services in Italy, but can foreign residents get one?

Can I open a bank account in Italy as a non-resident?

Opening an Italian bank account is one of the very first things people moving to Italy are generally advised to do as overseas accounts (especially those from outside the eurozone) are unlikely to cut it when it comes to things like receiving an Italian salary, paying taxes and taking out insurance.

But there are some cases in which even non-Italian residents may hugely benefit from or may need to have an account with an Italian IBAN number.

For instance, owners of a second home in Italy may be required to provide an Italian account to set up a direct debit for utility bills and internet or phone payments, and even paying IMU (Italy’s main property tax) is generally a much more straightforward process for Italian account holders, though it can still be paid via a foreign account.

But can foreign nationals that don’t enjoy residency status under Italian law (that’s anyone who spends less than 183 days a year in the country) open an Italian bank account?

The short answer is yes, though there are a number of things to be aware of.

Any foreign national aged 18 or over can open a bank account in Italy, but the full range of account types – from regular bank accounts, or conti correnti, to savings and deposit accounts – is generally only available to legal residents.

READ ALSO: Which are the best banks for foreigners in Italy?

In particular, non-Italian residents can only open international accounts (known as conti internazionali or conti correnti per residenti stranieri), which often come with a number of limitations regarding the banking services and operations holders can have access to.

Generally speaking, major banks (UniCredit, Intesa Sanpaolo, BancoBPM, BPER, etc.) tend to have better international account offers as they regularly operate with foreign clients, whereas local institutions often only provide very basic non-resident accounts. 

The documentation needed to open non-resident accounts tends to vary from bank to bank, and at times even from branch to branch. 

That said, the following documents are generally required:

  • A valid identification document (usually a passport)
  • An Italian tax code (or codice fiscale)
  • Proof of foreign address
  • Proof of income or employment, which may include pay stubs, employment contracts, or other financial documents

Additional documents may be required depending on the bank’s policies.

The relevant documentation will in most cases have to be presented in person, as most branches will not be able to perform identity checks and anti-money laundering procedures remotely. 

As a final note, it’s advisable for foreign nationals looking to open non-resident accounts to enquire about the type of verification checks they’ll have to go through to access online banking services.

Access to desktop or app services generally happens by means of a two-step verification process, with one step usually involving information sent to a mobile phone. 

In some cases, passcodes can only be sent to an Italian phone number.

Have you opened an Italian bank account as a non-resident? Share your experience and recommendations below.

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