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Why Italy is the new tax haven for foreigners

More and more US citizens are fleeing to Europe to enjoy tax benefits and a more affordable national healthcare system. While the number of young people migrating abroad for more stable conditions is constantly growing, an increasing number of retirees are choosing Italy to spend their retirement. But let’s go in order. Why is Italy becoming a tax haven for foreigners?

Italy is one of the most popular countries for wealthy retirees

Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy are among the top destinations for foreign retirees (and not just retirees).

Italy has promised more than favorable taxation to compete with these highly desirable European destinations, but with conditions. Foreign retirees who declare residency in municipalities with a population of less than 20,000 inhabitants in Basilicata, Abruzzo, Molise, Calabria, Puglia, Sicily, or Sardinia are entitled to a 93% tax exemption on their foreign-sourced pensions. According to the 2023 tax return, in 2022, a whopping 474 retirees opted for this smart move.

Scilla is a coastal village in Calabria with less than 5,000 inhabitants, a true paradise!

Besides the tax issue and tax reduction, several reasons push silver-haired individuals to leave everything behind and enjoy their well-deserved permanent vacation in beautiful Italy…

National healthcare system

Loved and hated by Italians: despite various shortcomings always under the spotlight of media and newspapers, the Italian healthcare system still guarantees numerous benefits.

Just for comparison, 2022 data shows a significant gap in the American healthcare system, with about 9% of the population (nearly 30 million people) without health insurance. In Italy, however, Article 32 of the Constitution enshrines the right to health for all citizens. Various healthcare services are funded by the state, to which citizens contribute a small amount by paying a fee (in the public sector). On average, each Italian citizen pays 1.8 thousand euros in taxes to finance the national healthcare system.

Unfortunately, medical care in America is not affordable for everyone, relying — unlike the Italian system — on private healthcare. This is one of the main factors attracting American retirees (and not just them).

Food, culture… and breathtaking landscapes

The 93% tax exemption requires the wealthy retiree to reside in a town in southern Italy… who wouldn’t kill two birds with one stone? Imagine abandoning the city chaos and relentless work to permanently move a stone’s throw from the stunning Italian coasts.

Think of the renowned beach of Taormina in Sicily, a stone’s throw from Mount Etna; or the paradisiacal Baia dei Turchi, Otranto (Puglia).

Baia dei Turchi beach
Baia dei Turchi Beach – Otranto (Puglia)

These can be just some evocative lifestyle choices for those who decide to move permanently to southern Italy, enjoying tax benefits, Mediterranean food, and the never-boring Italian lifestyle.

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