Business property loans in Italy
There are so many reasons to love Italy and why it attracts millions of visitors every year. People from all over the world come for the beautiful natural scenery and landscapes, the rich culture, the ancient monuments and sites, and of course, the delicious Italian food and wine. Consequently, the country also attracts foreign entrepreneurs interested in investing in property-based businesses such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, and holiday homes.
Often, foreign investors inquire about the financing options available to them. Is funding for hospitality businesses in Italy provided by Italian banks? And if so, what is the most efficient and cost-effective way to obtain financing?
All foreign non-resident investors, both individuals and companies, are entitled to apply for a mortgage for the purchase of real estate intended for commercial use in the hospitality industry. Although there is no law which forbids foreign investors from getting a mortgage from an Italian bank, prospective buyers should be aware that Italian banks tend to be cautious in granting mortgage loans. There are several steps that can increase an investor’s chance of obtaining a mortgage or other types of financing. Having an advisor who understands the customs and red tape involved in getting a mortgage from an Italian bank is crucial to your success.
There are two factors that greatly influence the probability of getting a loan: 1) being an italian resident; and 2) incorporating an Italian commercial entity. Italian banks are traditional institutions, not commercial ones, and are careful when evaluating whether or not to grant a mortgage loan, and thus, are more inclined to grant these loans to residents. Consequently, it is highly advisable for foreign individuals or companies interested in buying property for commercial use in the hospitality industry to establish an Italian commercial entity. A company established with its legal headquarters in Italy (for example, an SRL, Limited Liability Company) is automatically an ‘Italian resident” (entity). The owner can then easily apply for a mortgage on behalf of the ‘resident’ company.
One benefit of incorporating a company in Italy is that the Italian government and Revenue Office offer incentives and special tax dispensations to foreign nationals who relocate or establish a business in Italy. For example, there are tax incentives for ‘attracting human capital in Italy’ for teachers and researchers who move to Italy; and incentive tax structures for new residents or high-net-worth foreigners who change their tax residence to Italy. In this regard, the Italian government grants tax benefits and administrative incentives for the establishment of innovative startups and may grant other benefits for companies created in specific locations.
There are several types of company structures available in Italy ranging from sole proprietorships to stock companies. Choosing which type depends on the investor and determining factors such as budget, liability and risk evaluation, size of the company, and number of employees.
In order to open a business in Italy, the administrator must register with the Business Register (Registro delle Imprese) managed by the Chamber of Commerce (Camera di Commercio) in charge of the area where the business is located. Registration in the Business Register is compulsory for all investors who aim to:
- produce goods and/or service of goods and services
- act as mediators in the distribution of merchandise
- provide transportation (for people and/or goods)
- operate in financial activities such as banking and insurance provision
- operate in the agricultural field (optional under a certain output)
Operating a hospitality business is providing a service and therefore must be listed in the Business Register.
In addition to registration in the Italian Business Register, company incorporation procedures also include:
- issuing and assembling the company regulatory articles of and memorandum
- executing the articles before a public notary
- applying for an Italian tax code (Codice Fiscale)
- opening an Italian bank account
- registering for a VAT number (Partita IVA)
Once the company structure has been decided and the above steps have been initiated, the owner(s) is required to begin the company formation process.
The main documents necessary to incorporate a commercial entity in Italy are:
- Identification documents of the shareholders/final beneficiaries
- Evidence of the source of financing for the incorporation of the commercial entity in Italy (Balance Sheet/Tax Return)
- Proof of headquarters – evidence of the Italian location of the head office
Once the company is established, its legal representative may immediately submit a mortgage application to an Italian financial institution. The mortgage company will require the following documents:
- The extract of the Italian commercial entity’s corporate registry, as issued by the competent local Italian Chamber of Commerce;
- The extract of the foreign mother company’s corporate registry (if applicable, i.e. if the Italian company has been incorporated by a foreign undertaking)
- The official Business Plan, proving that the commercial scheme is unquestionably sustainable under Italian financial standards. Presenting a well-drafted, accurate, and convincing Business Plan is absolutely crucial in your application being accepted.
Launching a new business or opening a branch of a foreign company in Italy has legal, fiscal, and bureaucratic requirements which are sure to encounter complications. On the upside, there are profitable contingencies and breaks available to prospective entrepreneurs and corporations. The key to proceeding flawlessly and efficiently is having skilled, reliable, and straightforward professionals who are on-site and are knowledgeable of and experienced with Italian bureaucracy.
Our team of highly-skilled lawyers, accountants, and real estate developers assist foreign investors through all phases of company incorporation and financing requests. We guarantee professional service, reliable advice, and practiced assistance every step of the way.
What we can provide:
- preliminary evaluation of the investment’s financial sustainability;
- commercial property research and assistance in finding the most suitable property to purchase;
- assistance with the incorporation of the Italian branch, comprising collection of the necessary documents, translation into Italian, legalization by apostille, opening of a bank account, dealing with VISA issues when and if required;
- assistance with the preparation of the mortgage applications at multiple Italian banks;
- experienced assistance with drafting of the necessary business plan;
- dealing with potential problems in terms of transfer pricing, movement of funds, and any additional problems that may arise.