Astolfo Di Amato & Associati | Jenny Avvocati | Portolano Cavallo
Can anyone (including foreigners) own and occupy real estate in your jurisdiction (including shares in property owning companies)? Are there any restrictions?
Foreigners can generally own and occupy real estate and can hold shares in property owning companies. Few restrictions on foreigners owning or occupying real estate are established in application of the condition of reciprocity (for example: as a response to certain restrictions imposed by the Australian government on foreign real estate investors, Australian nationals cannot buy buildings in Italy but only building areas).
Are there restrictions on lending for the purchase of real estate by foreign companies? If so briefly give an outline?
No, except for restrictions decided by EU with respect to individuals, organisations and governments that are subject to financial sanctions.
Please provide a short summary of the fees and costs (including tax) relating to buying real estate in your jurisdiction.
A registration tax is usually levied on the transfer of immovable property (pursuant to DPR 131/1986). The rates vary according to the property transferred (standard rate is 9%, but a reduced rate of 2% applies to immovable properties qualifying as first dwelling and a 15% rate to agricultural land, except for transfers to agricultural entrepreneurs). In all cases, the minimum registration tax levied is EUR 1,000. For residential properties, registration tax is levied in the cadastral value of the property (usually significantly lower than market value). In all other case, tax is levied on market value (that is: the price paid by the buyer). In addition, mortgage and cadastral taxes are levied on the transfer of immovable property at a lump sum of EUR 50 each. In case of commercial property, mortgage and cadastral taxes are levied at a total rate of 4% (however, if the transaction is subject to VAT, registration, mortgage and cadastral taxes are levied at a lump sum of EUR 200 each). With effect from 1 January 2016, in case of qualifying assignment or sale to shareholders of certain immovable properties, the applicable registration tax rates are reduced by 50%, and mortgage and cadastral taxes apply on a lump-sum basis.
The fees of an Italian notary public must be added as the deed of transfer of a real estate property must be done in front of a notary public. The fees vary depending on the purchase price.
Are there taxes applicable to owning real estate and can the burden of the taxes be passed to someone else (e.g. a tenant or an occupier - not being the owner)?
The resident owner or person having an interest in immovable property located in an Italian municipality is subject to a municipal tax, composed of two subtaxes: the unified municipal tax (IMU) and the taxes for communal services (TASI and TARI). For individuals, IMU is generally levied at a rate of 0.76%, but the municipality in which the immovable property is located may increase or decrease the rate. The IMU and TASI do not apply to immovable properties qualifying as a first dwelling (except high-value properties, villas, castles and buildings of historic or artistic interest, and agricultural lands or rural properties). If the property is leased, the TARI is usually paid by the tenant.
A similar property tax applies on real estate held abroad by individuals resident in Italy (IVIE). The rate is 0.76% (0.40% for owner-occupied dwellings) of the purchase price or, if unavailable, the market value. Any comparable tax levied by the country in which the real estate is located may be credited against IVIE. IVIE does not apply on foreign assets of qualifying resident individuals opting for a favourable tax regime.
Are there tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in your jurisdiction? If so what are they?
No, there are no particular tax breaks or other incentives for foreigners to buy real estate in Italy, but the taxation can be mitigated by using a tax efficient structure.
How is the ownership of Real Estate evidenced in your jurisdiction?
Ownership is evidenced by the deed and can be verified in the Real Estate Register hold by fiscal authority (Agenzia Entrate – Territorio). From the Register it is also possible to verify existence of mortgages, liens or encumbrances.
Is it possible to keep the identity of owners of real estate confidential in your jurisdiction?
All documents referred to Real Estate Register are subject to a general right of inspection.
Ownership of companies registered in Italy is also publicly available.
Anti-money laundering regulation impose the declaration of the beneficial owner.
All documents referred to in HM Land Registry’s registers of title are subject to a general right of inspection. However, some documents or parts of them may contain prejudicial information and, upon application, can be designated exempt from public scrutiny.
Ownership of companies registered in England and Wales at Companies House is publicly available.