Starting January 2014 in Italy you’ll no longer be able to pay rental fees in cash, says the law! Does not matter if you are coming for a few days or staying for a long term, the rule is simple: no cash or the landlord might incur in big time fines.
Italy is continuing its rightful battle against tax evasion, beside already banning payments in cash above amounts of 999 € has recently issued and passed another law that enforces mandatory payments of rental fees strictly by wire transfer, for everyone.
We’re wondering how this will work in reality for the short term rental’s holiday industry as there is really no effective way to track down such small amounts but for sure it will have an impact on the small private owners that might not be able to accept other forms of payments beside printed money.
Very few in fact accept payments by credit card or have digital currencies accounts.
How this will affect you?
Large web sites such as airbnb.com, housetrip, wimdu, already take care of full payments in advance at reservation time and wire transfer or paypal the payment to the owners. Many smaller agencies and on line services including Firenze Lodging do not handle payments on behalf of the owners as, at least personally, we believe that paying the entire stay in advance is far too risky in the vacation rental business.
What most likely be is that property owners will start charing all the amount due up front in order to avoid cash payments upon arrival, even though is very unlikely that some one will come check inside the house how you’re paying the rental fee, Italian law has become particularly strict against tax evasion and landlords will prefer not to risk.
How can I pay my rental fee in Italy then?
Paypal and moneybookers:
Most property owners will finally open an account on Paypal or Moneybookers but the service has a cost therefore expect additional charges on top of your rental fees to cover them. In most cases you’ll need to open an account as well or the owner might be able to process a valid credit card via their own accounts.
Internationl wire transfer:
With this you’ll blame the Italian Government for passing this law as International wire transfers might end up costing over 30 € and up depending on the bank and the location of the transaction. This will not much of a deal if you are wiring a payment of 10.000 € (actually preferred over Pay-pal as it eats up to 4%) but a smack if you have to pay only a few hundreds €.
Nothing will change, keep stacking cash.
As in many cases with these spaghetti laws the result might be a boomerang, boosting even more black money and not issued receipts.
Our personal view on this is that if an honest property owner usually cashes a few hundreds € for their rent, issues a receipt and declare the amount for the fiscal year this will be no longer possible and chances are that will still cash the amount but not declare it for fear of fines.
For those accustomed at not declaring the amounts cashed for their rentals this will be absolutely no change, who will come in the house which is private property to check how the rental is paid, when is paid and by whom and how.
A quick tip of advice: to avoid any misunderstanding from now on, at the time of booking please do ask how the payment of the balance will be requested so you can be ready upon arrival to settle your payments in the most efficient way.
More info on the Italian Economy Newspaper Il Sole 24 Ore here (ITA)