So, probably you are here because you have been searching for the information to relocate to Italy, the Fashion city!
Now, a piece of friendly advice.
1. Are you single? Ok, think again.
2. Are you married? Think twice?
3. With kids? Never even think.
Disclaimer. I am not here to demotivate you. Every country has its own share of the problem. But the level of bureaucracy and paper works (read currency) involved for any work is simply amazing. So, please take this as a word of caution and plan well.
If you are still determined, go read ahead and I really appreciate your determination to make it to Italy.
Relocate to Italy
By now I am sure you know how difficult it is to get the Italy work permit or the Nulla Osta for self and their family.
Welcome to the club. You will never see anyone who would probably say their relocation was a breeze.
Before my relocation to Italy, I have been looking for information related to the visa, accommodation, income, expense, benefits, etc but was never able to get the right information. So, this frustration made me come up with this lengthy post.
I decided that I should share my hard-learned lessons with the world and it would be useful to someone in some part of the world. In fact, a series of posts with the information exclusively for expatriates to help then in “Relocate to Italy“.
How much enough is enough?
I often see people want to relocate to Italy, asking “Is this enough amount of money to relocate & live in Italy?”
This is such a misleading question. How much enough is really enough?
Frankly, for a human to live, all he/she needs is the following.
- Shelter – Place to stay
- Health – Food to eat
- Dignity – Clothes to wear
This means if you earn money to take care of the above, then it is enough. How many of you agree with this?
I know, most won’t. Why?
Because, once these basic things are taken care we look up to the next level – owning a house, car, etc. Does this mean, this is really enough? No.
Even if we earn sufficiently to achieve the above things, we still are not content. We want to move forward. Oh, how about those travel vacations to the places your neighbors went last year?
Did I miss those luxury travel cruises?
You see, there is nothing really called enough.
So, I am not here to tell about the amount of money you need to earn to live here, it depends on your living style. But, what I am putting here will certainly help you to plan, to know, to understand the expenses involved in the day to day life here in Italy before you make that decision.
Do not miss to read the Complete Guide to Cost of Living in Italy article with full details on the living expense in Italy.
After all, visiting a new country is entirely different than living in a new country. Right?
What is your first expense?
What is the first expense you do when you earn? Did you say rent? No. It is not the loan debits you pay. And certainly, it is not the groceries and other purchases you make.
The first and foremost expense is TAX.
Of course, the first expense on your side is the mandatory deductions that any government takes from your payslip.
Yes, literally anything you can think of is taxed in Italy. I know what’s in your mind now – How about trashes? Am I right?
Well, you DO have a tax for those throwaways too. Yup, you heard it right.
Lets me go one by one.
Many people miss this important piece of calculations needed to estimate the expenses. How do you calculate your salary? It is not the number in your appointment letter. Those are the gross payments.
So, what number should you take then? It is the final pay, otherwise termed as take-home pay.
Gross pay – deductions = Taxable income
Deductions are if you have a mortgage or a disabled dependent.
Then from the taxable income, you can deduct actual tax for every dependent you have, but those are minimal, and I am gonna skip it for making things easier.
Updates: Starting from the financial year 2020, the Italian government offers up to 90% of expatriate’s income to be tax-free. Read the new Income Tax Regime for Expats for more details.
So, this taxable income is used to calculate 3 different taxes in Italy.
- IRPEF or individual income tax to nation
- Local Tax
- Municipal Tax.
Note: 2 & 3 probably lot less, but can easily add up to 1000s if you earn a decent pay.
The tax rates are subject to changes – updated Jun 2019. I try to keep this table updated, but please visit official sites for more details.
Tax slabs in Italy
|Total tax on income |
|Tax rate on income |
So, sincere advice, when you discuss your pay with your HR or company, make sure you get your numbers in NET salary so you are not surprised to see what you really get in hand, later. Gross salary will NEVER help.
These are taxes for your earning. As I said, you are also taxed for your living in Italy 🙂
Updates 2020: Italian government has introduced a new Tax regime for attracting global talents. Under this scheme, you can take home 70% of income tax-free. You heard me right.
Read about the new Income Tax Regime for Expats explaining how to save 70% of income from taxes.
What are the regular expenses?
Let us first divide the expenses as Annual and Monthly for easier analysis. Now, let’s see one by one.
What is included in Annual expense
1. Property tax – if you own a house, so I skip it for now.
2. Garbage tax – even if you are staying in rent. This could be anywhere between 300 Euro to 400 Euro or more per annum depending on the Municipal you live. Yes, I hear you saying – “I never thought my trashes are so expensive, Hhhh”
3. TV tax – Yes, prepared to pay tax for your television too.
In addition to this, you could have an annual expense for the heating system depending on the type of system used in your house. In Italy, you have 2 types of heating systems for the houses.
1. Centralized – Where the building owns and maintains the system, and expenses are collected from each individual in the building. Cost is distributed based on the size of the house, number of people, etc. Now, this is moving towards metered expenses.
2. Autonomous – Where the system is installed inside your own house, and you have complete control. And hence you own complete expense 🙂
If you have an autonomous heating system in your house, you have to get this equipment certified every year. This comes with an additional expense of about 100 Euro per year.
What is included in Monthly expenses
1. Gas & Electricity – This should be in the ranges of 60-100 Euro per month. This is for sure a bit on the higher side, but this should give an idea.
2. Telephone & Internet – If you are looking for landline and unlimited internet, be ready to shell out 30-40 Euro per month. And mobile connections could be in the range of 10 euros per month.
3. Transport – In Milan, you have good public transport. A travel card for 39 Euro, will solve all your commute inside Milan. But outside the city, it is going to be difficult.
4. Food – This should be in the range of 400-500 Euro per month for a family of 3-4 people.
Read more: Ultimate Guide To Public Transport in Milan
Cost of Living
Once you relocate to Italy under a regular employment contract, remember then you are considered on par with the locals. Once you know how much you can expect on hand, now let’s look at the regular expense or the cost of living.
The major portion is for Rent / Affitto – depends on the area. In general, the north of Italy is more expensive than the down south. Of course, as usual, there are always exceptions.
A 100sqm house in Milan would range on average from 1000 Euro to 1500 Euro depending on the amenities.
Make sure you read the article with the Tips to Find your Dream Home in Italy. I have provided the links to the online agencies and also the tips and tricks to do the search in finding the best home for you.
If you plan for the car, the first shock will come in the name of Driving license. The license cost is almost 500+ Euro depending on the classes and tests. And most important – you need to be well versed in Italiano. Why? Because the tests are NOT available in English.
Yes, you heard it right. It’s in Italiano. But do not worry. I have provided the details on how to prepare for the driver’s license exam and win it for you.
So, it’s not only about the initial cost but also about the time, it takes for you to reach the level when you are ready to take on the test.
Before you ask me, yes. I did the driving license here locally, and the post is based on my personal experience.
Expenses for Kids Schooling
The availability of English schools for your kids could be an important thing in making the decision for relocating to Italy. So, if you are looking for English schools for your kids, there are few in major cities. Couple of them in Milan and Monza too. One in the Bergamo area as well.
In Milan, there are a couple of them.
There may be a couple more, a simple google can get you much more.
The cost of education is super-expensive if you are thinking to send your kids to private school. It will cost in the range of 12K Euro to 20 K Euro per annum as tuition fees. In addition, its about 4-5K Euro for initial admission.
Add extra for Lunch, Uniforms, Exam fees, bus, book and stationery, site visits, etc. I would say plan in the range of 1500 – 2000 Euros.
If you would like to opt for the school bus, then add additional 2500+ euro. Also, plan for any after school activities in or outside school if your kid would be interested in it.
If you want your kids to continue the English medium of instructions, but are these International schools are not affordable, the next best option is to go for the Bilingual schools.
Yes, these schools are a good compromise when in Italy. They teach kids both English and Italian with equal importance. Which means, it would greatly help you when you are ready to settle here and move your kids to the Italian public schools.
These schools are not as expensive as in International schools. They cost in the range of 10K Euro to 13K Euro per annum. This does not include lunches, books, school buses, etc, obviously.
If you plan for Public school, you are saved. It’s almost free. You may have to spend a max of 100 Euros per year for school fees. For year 1 to 5, books are also provided free of cost by schools. So, you will only need to pay the fees for lunches. This will be a max of 700 Euro per year.
Which school for my Kids?
My recommendation is, if you are planning to be in Italy for short and will be back to India in 3-4 years, then get your kids into the International or the Bilingual schools.
On the other hand, if you plan to be here for long, close your eyes and get your kids to Italian public schools. After all, knowledge and language are different. Learning in Italian language is no way make your kid handicapped in this global village.
And the next important expense would be the cost of renewing your Permesso di Soggiorno in Italy. It will be around 200 Euros per person for the complete process.
I hope I have not terrorized you all. My intention was not that.
My only goal here is to make sure you get as much information as you can get to make an informed decision. And not just more info, but also the right and credible information.
Relocated successfully? What’s next?
Read more: Finding your dream home in Italy