If I have a house in the UK (or even somewhere outside of the European Union) and I buy a house in Italy, does that count as a 'first house' (4% tax) because it's my first house in Italy? Or a second home (10% tax) because I also have a home in my country of origin?
You can benefit from the "first home" tax benefits at the time of purchasing the property in Italy, provided that the following requirements are met:
a) The property does not belong to the category of "luxury house", i.e. is not defined in the Land Register in categories / 1 (mansions), / 8 (villas) and / 9 (castles and palaces of outstanding historical and artistic value), in accordance with new rules DL 104/2013;
b) the property is located in the municipality where the buyer lives or where he will become a resident within 18 months from the date of purchase (deed);
c) the buyer does not own other property rights, nor use (usufruct), the right of residence in real estate properties located in the same municipality,
d) the buyer is not the owner of other rights of possession, nor use (usufruct) residence rights in other real estate properties acquired with the tax benefit "first house" in Italy.
This all means:
Even if you have real estate abroad, and you are going to buy your first property in Italy, then you can request a "first house" tax benefit, subject to the rules above.
If you are not a resident of Italy and do not plan to become resident here in the future (18 months after buying), you will be subject to taxes at 'second home' rates, even if you do not have another property here in Italy.
If you already have real estate in Italy, for example, a house in Menaggio, but you bought it and paid the taxes as a "second home", and now you are buying another property in another city, for example, in Tremezzina, even though it would be your second purchase, you can take advantage of the 'first home' tax privilege.
If you are an investor and you are not buying the property for permanent residence, you will pay all properties first, second, third, etc. at the tax rate of "second home".
And something to keep in mind; if you buy a property belonging to the category of "luxury real estate" for example, a luxury villa in Italy, you can't benefit from 'first home' tax rates.
For each individual case, we can show you the best way forward, for example:
- what to do if after the purchase you did not become a resident within 18 months
- what to do if you sell before 5 years and have used the tax privilege "first house" when buying