Guide to Becoming and Working as a Freelancer in Italy

Written by Xolo
on July 08, 2022 5 minute read

Are you dreaming about living an amazing life in Italy as a freelancer? For a freelancer, the opportunities for professional success are seemingly endless. Some people will turn their hobby or favorite pastime into a freelancing job. For example, you may love doing yoga in your free time. By taking a few instructor classes, you could soon be freelancing as a yoga instructor and enjoying all that life in Italy has to offer.

Other people will draw on their professional expertise and training to start a freelancing business in Italy. For example, you may have been working as a website designer for a company for years. You could venture out on your own as a freelance website designer to take control of your professional life.

From dog walking to marketing, writing, translating and more, there are many work opportunities available for you to consider. However, before you jump into action and start looking for clients and customers, it is important to learn how to work as a freelancer in Italy.

Benefits of Working as a Freelancer in Italy

When you become a freelancer in Italy, you will spend your days doing something that you love. You can select which clients you want to work for. You will be in full control of your business. Do you have a great marketing idea or a new product concept that you are excited about? You can pursue all of your ideas to your satisfaction. This can create an added layer of fulfillment in your professional life that you may have not experienced so far.

Many people are also drawn to freelancing in Italy because of the incredible income potential. As a freelancer, your income is not capped by a salary established by your employer. If you work longer hours or are especially great at your work, your income may skyrocket. You can also set your own rate. Are your skills and talents not being properly compensated right now? This source of stress can soon be a thing of the past when you freelance in Italy.

When you freelance, you can also choose when you start and end your day. With your amazing life in Italy, you could even have time to hit up a few wineries or enjoy a long lunch in a beautiful piazza.

How to Register to Work Legally as a Freelancer in Italy

While freelancing in Italy comes with an impressive range of benefits, there are a few hurdles to jump over before you can legally work in this country. Are you wondering how to work as a freelancer in Italy? The first step is to obtain a self-employment visa if you are not a citizen in the European Union. To obtain this 2-year visa, you must first determine if your profession is regulated. Regulated professions are those that require a degree or other specific accreditations. A translator is a great example of an unregulated profession.

You will need to contact the Chamber of Commerce in Italy to walk through the steps for obtaining the appropriate self-employed visa. You may also need to contact a local association for your profession to get security clearance in some instances. Be aware that the Decreto Flussi immigration policy has specific windows throughout the year when you can request security clearance, and these periods vary.

Once you have the appropriate security clearance, you can apply for your freelance visa through the Italian embassy in your home country. After you receive the visa, you will need to request an Italian residence permit. To do so, you will need to bring the required paperwork to the Vital Records Office. One of the important items that is required is proof of health insurance.

You will then be ready to start setting up your freelance business in Italy. One of these steps is to request a Codice Fiscale, or a unique tax code for your business. This is available through a local police station or the Single Desk for Immigration. Once you have this code in hand, you are ready to set up your formal business structure. This must be done before you can register for VAT and open a business bank account. Once all of these steps have been taken, you are ready to focus on getting your business operating in full gear.

Taxes and VAT for Freelancers in Italy

Italian residents are required to pay several types of personal income tax. If you are not a citizen, you will only be taxed on the income that you receive in Italy. The national tax rate is tiered based on income, and it ranges between 23% and 43%. There is also a regional income tax that may vary between 1.23% and 3.33%. The municipal income tax ranges between zero and 0.8%. These taxes are reported via an annual tax return.

You are also responsible for reporting and paying VAT. Before you can pay this tax for a freelancer in Italy, you must first request a VAT number. Unfortunately, there is some red tape involved in this process. At Xolo, we believe that you should be able to set up your business and pay your taxes without hassle. Because of this, we offer a complete solution that enables you to request a VAT number with ease. Our solution also helps you to manage all of your new business’s accounting needs.

Once you have your VAT number, you can begin paying VAT for qualifying income. VAT is due if your turnover is greater than 65,000 euros annually. However, expats are required to register and report VAT on all income. This is payable through the Inland Revenue of the Italian Government. The standard VAT rate is 22% in Italy. However, there are reduced rates available for some types of business activities. Be aware that you are required to keep detailed records of your income and VAT as a freelancer. This includes invoices for all transactions.


How to Start a Business as a Freelancer in Italy

Starting a freelance business in Italy can seem daunting, but you may be able to glide through the process by focusing on each step. What are the steps required to be a freelancer?

  1. Apply for your freelance visa. Remember to research regulated professions so that you apply for the right type of visa.
  2. Look for an open registration period to apply for security clearance for your business activities.
  3. Complete the steps to apply for a residence permit.
  4. Apply for a tax code.
  5. Set up your business’s legal entity structure.
  6. Open a business bank account in Italy.
  7. Register for VAT.
  8. Focus on launching your new freelance business.


Some of these steps require you to provide several pieces of documentation and to submit them to the appropriate government offices. In many cases, the steps must be completed within a specific number of days of each other. Keeping track of all of the steps can be tedious, and the good news is that you do not need to do this alone. You can conveniently take advantage of Xolo services to manage your taxation and finances so you can focus on your core business.

There may be legal obligations for freelancers in Italy that you must comply with. One of these obligations is the selection of a legal entity. The two primary options are freelancing and sole proprietorship. A freelancer will not hire additional workers to support the business. Examples of freelance professions are journalists, lawyers and those who work in consultancy roles. Freelancers engaged in unregulated activities must register with the INPS. Those who participate in regulated activities must register with the National Institute for Social Security.

Sole proprietorship is appropriate for self-employed individuals who are engaged in artisan or tradesman work. Some examples of these professions are shopkeepers, painters, plumbers, hairstylists and others. A sole proprietor may have employees. If you plan to operate your business as a sole proprietor, you must register with three entities. These are the National Institute for Insurance Against Accidents at Work, the National Institute for Social Security and the Chamber of Commerce’s Italian Business Register.

Become and Work as a Freelancer in Italy

You can see that it can take a significant amount of time and effort to become a freelancer in Italy. In fact, because many of the initial steps must be completed before the next steps can be made, it can take weeks to get your business set up. After your business is established and you have started earning money, you must have an excellent money management system in place. This will enable you to keep up with your tax liabilities and remain compliant with taxation rules.

While you could try to become a freelancer in Italy on your own, this is a stressful headache that is simply not necessary. Xolo offers all of the services and support that you need to set up your new business and manage it from any location. With Xolo Italy working for you, you can save time and energy with the setup process. More than that, you can enjoy streamlined financial management over the years. This enables you to spend more of your time focusing on running your business and less time dealing with finances.

Are you ready to go freelance in Italy? Cut through the red tape of opening your VAT number, doing your tax returns and managing your business admin with Xolo today.