by Melinda Gallo

Finding out how to do my own dichiarazione dei redditi

Most people would probably want to avoid doing to the Agenzie delle Entrate (Italian Revenue Office), but I couldn't wait to go. Thankfully this morning it was sunny after a rainy day yesterday. I jumped on my bicicletta (bicycle) and headed to Piazza Indipendenza. As I was riding down via dei Servi, I noticed that there was a mercato (market) in Piazza Santissima Annunziata where I used to live. It was so busy with people walking around the bancarelle (stands) at 10am that I had to walk my bicicletta through the piazza.

I rode through Piazza San Marco around large buses and crowds of people crossing the piazza and up via 27 Aprile to park my bicicletta in Piazza Indipendenza. I walked down via Santa Caterina d'Alessandria to the office for the Agenzie delle Entrate because it was easier for me than riding contromano (in the opposite direction down a one-way street).

I waited in the short line to talk to the woman at the information desk. When it was my turn, she listened to me and the second I said "Partita IVA (VAT account)" she turned to the man sitting behind her and called out something to him. She waved me on and told me to pick up the number from him.

I sat down in the sala d'attesa (waiting area) and opened up a book I brought. I didn't know how long I'd have to wait, and I wanted to be prepared. I looked up at the electronic board that had the numbers on it with the sportello (window) to go to. A beep went off every couple of minutes and a female electronic voice called out a number.

I had been waiting only about twenty minutes when my number was called. I walked back to sportello, which was in a room down the hall from all the other sportelli. The white-haired man didn't smile, but did greet me when I walked in. He had a book opened up in front of him and a basket where I was supposed to put my number.

I explained that I have a Partita IVA and wanted to know if I could do my own dichiarazione dei redditi (tax return) instead of paying a commercialista (accountant/business consultant). I had seen my commercialista to set up my Partita IVA, which consisted of my filling out a modulo (form). When I asked her how much I would have to pay, her response was that we'd talk about it later. And now that I have to do a dichiarazione dei redditi, I wanted to possibly not have to use her services any more and not pay her. I had heard that I could pay around 500 to 800 Euros a year.

I was a little shocked with the rate since I also have the simplified Partita IVA with few invoices and even fewer expenses. I could understand paying that kind of money if I had a lot to do or if it was complicated like it can be at times in the US.

The man said that the Agenzie delle Entrate could not help me and that I'd have to contact a CAF/CAAF which stands for Centro Assistenza Fiscale (Tax assistance office). He told me to look it up on the Internet and someone could fill out my dichiarazione dei redditi at a low cost. I was a little disappointed because he didn't explain much to me. Before I left, he said, " ancora presto. Devi fare la dichiarazione dei redditi a maggio. (It's still early. You have to do your tax return in May.)" I agreed with him, but I want to get it taken care of because I'm not clear yet on how it all works.

After leaving the Agenzie delle Entrate, I walked back to Piazza Indipendenza and thought I'd pay a visit to my parrucchiere (hair dresser), Simone, since I was so close. I'm rarely in that part of town unless I'm going to see him for a haircut.

He was just finishing up with his client when I walked in. We chatted for a minute while his client was still sitting in the chair behind him. After mentioning my visit to the Agenzie delle Entrate, Simone's client interrupted us to explain how CAF/CAAF could help me out. Simone told me to go to CGIL, which is right near my apartment, to ask them if they could also help me with my dichiarazione dei redditi because they also have a CAF/CAAF. They both said that that would be the cheapest solution.

As I rode my bicicletta back home, I thought of how fortuitous it was for me to go talk to Simone. I was so grateful for the information that he and his client gave me about how to get a dichiarazione dei redditi completed by a CAF/CAAF. Now I know that it is possible to do my dichiarazione dei redditi without a commercialista. Most people said that it was either impossible or highly uncommon to do it, but now I know that there is another way. All I have to do is make a few calls now.

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