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Guide to Buying Ski Property in Italy

This buying guide gives an overview of buying and owning a ski apartment or ski chalet in Italy. As with any property purchase, it is important to get expert advice.

There are currently no restrictions to non-Italian residents purchasing property in Italy, though it is always recommended that you instruct the services of a reputable agent, surveyor and notary.

Ski Property Purchase

In general, there are three stages to acquiring a ski apartment or chalet in Italy.

  1. Offer: After vendor and buyer have verbally agreed a price, a proposta d’acquisto (letter of intent) is normally exchanged, accompanied by a holding deposit of up to 10%. This protects the buyer, for about a month, from losing the opportunity to proceed, though the deposit may not be refunded if the buyer withdraws without good cause.

  2. Preliminary Exchange of Contracts (Compromesso): The preliminary contract (Compromesso) commits both parties to the sale. This contract establishes the terms and conditions of the final contract (Rogito) and details price, date for completion, the nature of the property and guarantees from the seller. It may also include any other relevant legal details. The buyer’s solicitor and/or geometra will undertake initial searches, check conformity with permissions and regulations, and check for any pre-emption rights. He will then work with the notary (notaio) and the vendor’s solicitor to produce the compromesso, and when signed by all parties this will be lodged with the notary. Usually a deposit of 20 to 30% of the purchase price is exchanged between buyer and seller at Compromesso.

  3. Completion (Rogito Notarile): This is the final stage of the process and transfers ownership of the property from the seller to the buyer. Following compromesso, the notary will undertake any final necessary searches, tie up any loose ends, and prepare the final contract. If the vendor is found to have not declared any important information, the purchaser may withdraw. However, if the purchaser withdraws after compromesso without just cause they lose their deposit. If the vendor withdraws after compromesso, a penalty of twice the deposit level is paid to the purchaser. Please be aware that damages could also be requested from either side under certain circumstances. Upon signature of the final contract, the purchaser pays the remaining sum to the vendor and associated fees. Please note that the purchase tax due will differ on every sale and should be calculated on an individual basis. The notary, upon final signing of the contract, will transfer legal title of the property at the Ufficio delle Entrate and register the change at the land or building registry.

In addition to the above, it is essential to set up the following:

  • Fiscal Code (Codice fiscale): The codice fiscale identifies a citizen in all his or her dealings with Public Authorities and Administrations and is necessary if buying a property in Italy.

  • Italian Bank Account: Establishing a current account promptly is essential in order to facilitate prompt payments and the transmission of funds from abroad.

Property Type & Location

Properties in ski resorts in Italy fall into two main types: new builds and re-sales.

New build properties are defined as those dwellings sold within five years of completion of construction or restoration. Buyers of new properties do not pay registration tax and instead are liable to pay Value Added Tax (VAT).

Re-sale properties are sold by private owners or estate agents. The buyer purchases the property freehold and is free to use, rent, renovate or sell the property.

Purchase Costs

Purchase Tax (imposta di registro)
A purchase tax of approximately 7% for non-residents and those buying second homes applies upon the purchase of a resale ski apartment or chalet in Italy. Those purchasing new build homes do not pay a purchase tax, but pay VAT instead.

Land Registry Tax (imposta catastale)
A tax payable on all property purchases. First home resident buyers of new or resale properties pay a fixed fee of €129.11. Buyers of second homes and non-residents pay 1 per cent of the declared price.

Cadastral Tax
1% or a fixed fee of €168 for new properties. The fixed fee of €168 also applies if the property is their main or only residence.

Italian banks will fund up to 70% of the purchase price and usually the loan period will be between 10 and 25 years. Some banks charge a set up fee and this is usually around 1.5% - 2% of the value of the loan. They will also charge an appraisal fee of 0.5% and you will need to pay the notary a fee of 1.5%-2% of the amount of the mortgage to register the mortgage in the land registry. If required, it is possible to add all these mortgage related costs into your mortgage.

Please read our guide to mortgages in Italy for more information.

Legal Fees
The fees for conveyancing, which is usually performed by a lawyer (avvocato), are usually from 1 to 2 per cent of the declared price of a property or a fixed fee, depending on the amount of work involved. Legal fees are subject to VAT at 20 per cent.

Notary Fees
Notary fees generally range from 1% to 2.5% of the declared value of the property. The cost of a notary is based on a property price list prepared by the Bar Association and varies according to the town council (and is subject to 22% VAT).

Agent’s commissions (provvigione) vary considerably (e.g. between 3% to 8%) and are usually shared equally between the vendor and buyer.

If you propose to use mortgage funds from your resident country (i.e. outside of Italy) to buy your property, currency risk and fluctuation must be taken into account.

Payments for New-Builds

New build ski chalets and apartments are paid for in stages and all payments are made through the lawyer. When the buyer has made their decision to go ahead with their purchase, the stage payments will typically be:

  • 10% upon signature of preliminary purchase contract
  • 25% upon start of building works
  • 25% on completion of shell and roof and 1st fix plumbing and electrical installations
  • 15% on completion of façade & windows and the 2nd fix plumbing and electrical
  • 25% on completion of the property and upon signing final purchase deed.

Property Ownership Taxes & Running Costs

There are two local taxes applicable to property in Italy:

  1. Imposta Municipal Unica (IMU): An annual property tax, ranging from 0.2%-1% of the value of the property, payable twice a year in June and December.
  2. Tassa Rifiuti Solidi Urbani (TARSU): Levied yearly for waste collection and depends on size and location of property.

As well as the above taxes, additional running costs include: utility bills and service charges associated with general maintenance (normally for apartments only).  

Municipalities also have the right to charge for the use of a vehicle in their jurisdiction, though not all do so. If charged, the rate is generally around 300 Euros annually.

Renting & Income Tax

Italian rental income must be declared in your Italian tax return. The Italian tax year is the same as the calendar year finishing on the 31st December and tax returns must be completed by April of the following year. There are certain allowable expenses, such as repairs, management fees and local taxes, which can reduce your taxable income. Any profit after deduction of the allowable expenses and tax exemption will be taxed at the following rates:

First 15,000 euros taxed at 23%, further income from up to 28,000 euros taxed at 27%, further income from up to 55,000 euros taxed at 38%, further income up to 75,000 euros taxed at 41% and all income above 75,000 euros taxed at 43%

Depending on your owner status you may need to register for VAT, if so, you will also need to charge VAT of 20% on your rentals.


Capital Gains Tax

As a general rule, if a property is sold within 5 years of purchase, 20% capital gains tax is due. If the property is sold more than 5 years after purchase, there is no tax to pay in Italy. Some exceptions can apply. For instance, if the property is sold before 5 years, but has been used as the owner's main home for the majority of the time, no capital gains tax is due.

Inheritance/ Succession Tax

Non-residents are subject to Inheritance and Donations Tax on assets located in Italy. The applicable tax depends on the relationship between the deceased (or donor) and the beneficiary. Tax rates vary between 4% and 8%.

As of August 17 2015, EU Regulation No 650/2012 (commonly known as "Brussels IV") will come into effect giving foreigners the right to opt for the succession law of their country of nationality to apply on their death. You need to make this election before death; otherwise, if you are habitually resident in Italy, Italian succession law applies by default.

Tax Reliefs

A tax relief of 24% is allowed for renovating old buildings or repairing old properties. Contact and registration must be made with the local Italian Tax office for approval before any work commences.

Inheritance Issues

An Italian will isn’t needed because the inheritance of Italian properties is, by default, regulated by the National Inheritance Law of the deceased. However, an important aspect to note is that in common law countries such as the UK, the home country international law would typically defer to Italian inheritance law to regulate the inheritance and the distribution of the Italian property. This can be an issue as Italy has very strict “forced heirship” rules that dictate who shall inherit the assets owned in that jurisdiction.

As mentioned above, new EU regulations coming into effect on August 17 2015 meaning succession laws of your home country may be applied to your property in Italy.

Useful Terms

Cadastral Tax: The legal tax payable upon purchase of a property.
Codice fiscale:  The Italian Tax Code which identifies each individual person in the Italian State when dealing with public offices and/or administration.
Compromesso: The preliminary contract committing both parties to the sale.
Geometra: The person responsible for organising the surveys, ensuring information held at the Local Land Registry is accurate, and conducting the “Commune” checks, with regards to local planning and building regulations.
Imposta Catastale: The land registry tax payable on all property purchases. For second homes and non-residents, this fee is 1% of the assessed property value.
Imposta di Registro: The purchase tax payable upon buying a resale home in Italy. New-build purchases are exempt from this and instead pay VAT.
Imposta Municipal Unica (IMU): The annual property tax, payable twice a year in June and December
: The notary, a public official who acts on behalf of both the buyer and seller to prepare all the legal documents, check that the seller has the right to sell the property and ensure that there are no outstanding debts or mortgages payable on the property.
Proposta d’Acquisto: A letter of intent to purchase the property once the seller and buyer have verbally agreed upon a price.
Provvigione: The estate agents commission, shared between the seller and buyer.
Rogito Notarile: The final contract/deed of sale drawn up by the notaio once all the investigations.
Tassa Rifiuti Solidi Urbani (TARSU): Annual tax for waste collection.

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