Lonely Planet Writer

Seniors could live tax-free for ten years in southern Italy under new plan

If you fancy the idea of retiring to Italy, you might appreciate a new proposal that could see seniors living tax-free for a decade if they move to the south of the country. The project aims to repopulate areas of Sicily, Calabria and Sardinia that have seen a mass decline in the population in recent years, by encouraging retirees to settle there with the promise of paying no taxes for ten years.

Aerial view of Santa Maria dell’Isola Monastery in Calabria. Image: GagliardiImages/Shutterstock

The Italian government is still to discuss the proposal, which will be open to both Italians and foreign nationals. It has been proposed by The League, the hard-Right party that makes up one half of the coalition currently in power. Pensioners would have to spend at least six months and a day in one of the three trial regions to qualify for the tax breaks, and it is hoped that 600,000 new residents will be attracted.

Sardinia is an Italian island in the Mediterranean Sea. Image: @mitchFOTO/Shutterstock

You can’t live just anywhere in the three areas, as the towns and villages that qualify must have populations of less than 4000 people and have experienced a population decline of 20% or more in the last decade. They would also have to show that they have a good healthcare system, efficient waste collection procedures and good parks and lighting. The benefit for the areas in question is that an average couple would spend €20,000 to €25,000 (US$23,349 to US$29,186) per year in these regions, which would help to boost the local economy.

Sicily with Mount Etna in the background. Image: Angelo Ferraris/500px

In exchange, retirees could enjoy the low-cost properties, good weather and great food, and of course, a decade of paying no taxes. “We think it could appeal to foreigners as Italy is a beautiful country,” said Alberto Brambilla, economic adviser to Matteo Salvini, the interior minister and head of The League.