ITALY: HOW TO INVEST

Anyone in the United States can buy Italian stocks, as long as that person’s broker is licensed to deal in European markets. Trading stocks and bonds in Italy is equally straightforward. Even nonresidents can buy and sell them through an Italian bank or broker. Most brokers work in what is called a societ  d’intermediazione mobiliari (SIM). Just as in the United States, you have your choice of trading online or doing business over the phone. Commissions generally cost about ‚10 per transaction.

When you open an account, first you will be asked for an identity card and some form of tax ID. Those with residency in Italy will need to show a codice fiscale, as they will be paying Italian taxes, while nonresident Americans, who will pay U.S. taxes, need to show a Social Security number. They also need to sign a document that declares them immune from Italian taxes. The United States is on Italy’s white list of countries whose citizens are protected from double taxation. Finally, brokers and banks may ask you to fill out a questionnaire, ensuring that you’re a responsible investor, and ask you to sign a waiver. This is meant to weed out those who tend to overexpose themselves to risk. For those who prefer a more hands-off approach to their personal finances, there are hundreds of managed funds that deal in Italian stocks and bonds.

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