PROPERTY TAXES IN ITALY: How to calculate and pay IMU tax.
What is the IMU tax, how to calculate IMU and how to pay IMU.
The IMU (Imposta Municipale sugli Immobili) is a tax due by homeowners or other individuals having a qualified real estate interest in a property, such as life interest, habitation, etc.
The IMU is calculated “pro-quota” for each co-owner and for the number of the months they actually owned the property in the year, on the basis of the property cadastral value, as shown in the property records (visura catastale).
For example, a husband and wife buy a property 50% each in March 2019. They, as the new owners, are liable to pay the IMU, 50% each, for 10 months in 2019. The vendor (i.e., the previous owner) is responsible for the IMU payment for the previous period, therefore for only 2 months of the 2019 (January and February).
The IMU is categorised as a local tax; each Municipality can charge an extra tax rate in addition to the standard national rate, according to specific parameters established by the law every year. Therefore, the IMU amount to be paid for similar properties located in different places, might vary from one Municipality to another, from one year to another.
The IMU is due on any properties (land and/or buildings) with a few exceptions, for example, properties that benefit from Primary Residence Tax Exemption (esenzione prima casa).
Currently, Italian law provides an IMU exemption for properties used as the primary residence of individuals or families that do not qualify as luxury properties.
IMPORTANT: Unlike in many countries, you will not receive a bill from your municipality for your IMU payments. Property owners are responsible for ensuring that they take action to calculate the relevant amount of IMU and settle payments accordingly every year.
The information you need in order to calculate the IMU are the following:
Property category (habitation, shop, land, …);
Property tax value;
IMU tax rate applied by the Municipality where the property is located.
The first two items can be retrieved from the Visura Catastale, i.e. the property record issued by the Building Registry or Land Registry (Catasto). It is likely this information is also attached to your title deed.
The IMU tax rate applied by your Municipality is more difficult one and should be obtained directly from your Municipality.
Also, there are websites that help homeowners to calculate IMU payments. The information these sites contain are based on property records and general information collected from Municipal websites.
However, caution should be taken with these IMU calculator websites, which can not always give accurate or updated information (and usually, the sites contain disclaimers about this risk).
The difficulty in understanding how much you should pay might be also higher if you cannot speak Italian or are unsure about the relevant information to provide for the IMU calculation.
How to pay IMU
Another difficulty a foreign individual can face in dealing with the IMU is making payments.
The IMU is paid in two instalments: the retainer and the balance (acconto e saldo). Payments are due respectively by 16 June (acconto IMU) and 16 December (saldo IMU) of each year.
Usually the IMU is settled by means of a standard tax form (F24 form) that can be found at any bank branch or post office. Italian banks generally offer the IMU F24 form as an online service too.
You can also settle the IMU with the assistance of an Italian accountant or other professional (such as an Italian lawyer). This can help you with the whole process: from the calculation to the payment.
Do I need professional assistance to pay the IMU
All individuals can calculate the tax due on their own. As mentioned above, the IMU settlement should be done by homeowners. Your municipality will not send you a bill or any reminders to pay.
However, it is not as easy as it seems. Even Italian nationals can find it difficult. It is particularly hard for individuals who do not have an Italian bank account or cannot present a tax form for payment in person an Italian bank or post .