by Melinda Gallo

Prima fattura e primo pagamento

I've been told many horror stories about people not getting paid in Italy. Although to be honest, I have a few friends who do freelance work in the US and they sometimes don't get paid either. Around the 13th, I sent my first fattura (invoice) to the company that I developed a website for. I didn't work for the end-client, but for a web company. They told me that they'd pay me as soon as they received the funds from the end-client as soon as they were paid.

It seemed a bit embarrassing to have to write that it was my fattura number 1. I generally number my invoices per client starting with different numbers, but in Italy I have to start with 1. I sent my fattura to my commercialista so she could check it for me. There was a lot of information that I had to put on it and I also had her double-check my calculations for INPS (Istituto Nazionale Previdenza Sociale), which is like the Social Security in the US.

Initially, I was a little worried that I wouldn't get paid because I had delivered the site and I hadn't even received an acconto (installment), which is common practice in my work especially with new clients.

I talked to a few people I know here who work here in Italy and they said that because I had a contratto (contract), I could go in front of a giudice di pace (Justice of the Peace) if I didn't get paid. But, that seemed a bit daunting as well.

After I sent my fattura, I worried a lot less. I didn't really sense any fear around not getting paid and just thought I'd wait it out because there was nothing I could do to change anything.

Last Wednesday, a week after I sent them my fattura, I received an email from my client telling me that the bonifico (wire transfer) was completed and that the money should arrive into my bank account within three giorni lavorativi (workdays).

I logged into my bank account on-line and saw that the money did arrive last Friday. I wanted to celebrate, and I will by buying myself a new Apple Cinema display. It'll be my first spesa (expense) that I will be able to deduct for my new activity in Florence.

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