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Family summer in Puglia

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TravelMama
12/6/2019 16:54 EST

Hi there!
I will be spending 6-8 weeks in Puglia with my family of 4! My kids will be 6 and 4 at the time...can anyone recommend where in puglia is a good spot for that age group? I think close to the sea will be best. I am also looking to enroll them in day camp or similar activities so they can socialize with other kids and learn Italian - any recommendations would be appreciated!
My husband will be working remotely- is a visa or anything special needed for that? Our stay will be maximum 8 weeks!
Thanks :)

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sinesolesileo
12/8/2019 09:15 EST

Hello Travelmama,
I have no idea, the region is beautiful and the landscape varied. If you like the sea, that is where you should go. If you can choose the period, you should avoid August, when you find lots of people for summer vacation. A working permit is probably required, but there is no way to achieve it and whatever you did to attempt you'd regret having even thought of it. Work remotely as you need, you'll enjoy very cheap connection costs and you will be able to deduct some of your expenses from the US return filed in 2021.

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TravelMama
12/8/2019 09:55 EST

Sinesolesileo thank you so much for your advice!
There’s so little information online regarding activities for the kids (other than touristy) stuff. I need to find something for them to do during the day to keep them entertained and socialize- maybe learn some Italian!
I appreciate your input :)

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Shtinky
12/8/2019 10:51 EST

Not sure where you are a citizen but many/most countries have an automatic 90 day tourist Visa with Italy. - US, Canada, Australia, etc. . Your husband doesnt need a permit otherwise.

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Sergios
12/8/2019 11:28 EST

when looking for stuff that italians do, like kids activities, do it in italian. Use google, or other translators, and do not search in english. The web algorithms will steer you towards tourist stuff if you do the search in english. This goes for house hunting too. If you don't do it in Italian you will get mostly vacation rentals.

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almare2
12/8/2019 12:29 EST

If all your husband is doing is working on the computer and corresponding with clients by email, there shouldn't be any problem. I'm a book copy editor, I spend several months a year in Italy and the rest of the EU on the normal Schengen tourist visa, and I always work while I'm there. My clients email me jobs, I do them on my computer wherever I'm staying, and I email the finished jobs back. It would be different if you were planning to move there and make his work your only income. For a couple of months as tourists, who's to know? Just be discreet.

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almare2
12/8/2019 12:33 EST

As to what sinesolesileo said about deducting expenses, that would not be possible unless his employer requires him to be in Italy or something about his work makes it essential to be there, for example, he is doing research on a book about Italy.

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almare2
12/8/2019 13:02 EST

As far as accommodations are concerned, for two months you will not be "house hunting." I use Airbnb. Many hosts give a discount if you will be staying for a month or longer.

Most of the people on this forum are expats and are generally older, hence without young children. Perhaps you could find a website that has to do with American schools in Italy (kids going to school in Italy might go to Puglia on vacation or to summer camp, though in my experience summer camp is not as common in Italy as in the US), or maybe there is an appropriate group on Facebook. Two months is a bit short to really integrate into society. If you rent through Airbnb, perhaps the host could suggest a babysitter/Italian tutor or might have children that your kids could play with. Just a thought!

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Sergios
12/8/2019 13:10 EST

There are short term language schools. My son went to one in Ontranto for 6 weeks when he was in highschool. It's a good way to learn Italian and Italian culture. He said it was a fun experience.

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lifelover
12/8/2019 15:57 EST

San Cataldo and Porto Cesareo are two beaches close to Lecce. Lecce will have a few English language schools you can contact to find out what kids that age do in the summer. Most are at the beach but there could be some summer activities for Italian kids who are learning English. And if you hang out in Lecce on your non beach days you won’t be bored! I would look for kids English language schools ( now, school ends mid June ) there are tons, and talk to those teachers. Google in Italian! Soccer and tennis are also big here for kids.

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sinesolesileo
12/9/2019 00:23 EST

What you can deduct will depend on how you decide work and private life mix. For years I have deducted 30% of expenses incurred while in Italy. It included travel and groceries. I was not traveling for work, I was traveling with work (done and delivered to the US on a computer). Nobody mandated it, it was my choice. It was initially the suggestion of an IRS employee who helped me fill the return. Once a taxpayer suggested to deduct 100%, but I considered it unfounded.

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rsetzer99
12/9/2019 02:48 EST

There is a strong section of the language school industry that is specifically targeted at tourists looking for the language and culture experience. They will be split about half a half between lessons and various excursions to sites and events.

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HenryGiovanni
12/9/2019 07:28 EST

Hi All,
Only weighing in on the work/tax portion of this discussion.

Verbal advice from an IRS agent is worthless; only written advice will suffice in case of a tax fight (audit or recalculation or other dispute).

Groceries are probably beyond any deductible capacity; everyone needs to eat, and you have to do it anyway, whether you owe taxes or not, so they are not deductible. On the other hand, meals and drinks out are deductible at 50%, on the assumption that you are buying dinner for another person because of business purposes (ie- again, you do not get to deduct your own meals and drinks). Always talk some business at the dinner table, then write it off at 50%. And if one must travel, say to another city to attend a court hearing, then one can buy lunch out alone and still deduct 50%.

Travel? Almare2 is closer to the mark: only if required. For instance, it could be argued that one working on a computer can just as well do that from home, so no need to travel to another country. And if disputed, then it will be up to you to prove the work reason for travel and the percentage you claim. The IRS is always deemed to have acted correctly, so one is always guilty until proven innocent when dealing with the IRS.

Also, in cases where the taxpayer claims the constitutional exemption because taxes are "voluntary", the taxpayer loses 100% of the time. The court no longer even bothers to apply reasoning, but just refers to the multitude of cases where it (the court itself) has ruled that way in the past, without case-specific reasoning. And if one thinks about it for a second or two, then it makes sense: the govt cannot allow the govt to be unfunded by "voluntary" non-payment of taxes. They must have the money in order to continue ruling over you. There's a reason why the seal of the US Tax Court includes fasces.

Be aware of the popular deduction-traps, like the home-office deduction that is always challenged because taxpayers get greedy and always claim too much. The IRS wins 100% of these cases. The ice is thin out there; know the rules if you wish to use that deduction.

In the end, what you choose is your own business, but it can be contested by the IRS. Best to assume that it will. Remember: pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered. Don't be a hog.

Cheers, John.

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sinesolesileo
12/14/2019 04:45 EST

Thanks for the articulated advice. I always have a degree on uncertainty in filling the tax return. What in the end allows me to proceed (after days of mulling) is the taxact (a tax preparation online program) page that displays statistics on the taxes assessed to others in my same income level. It seems I always exceed that mark by 50% at least. Peace of mind in this field is a chimera.

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almare2
12/14/2019 09:15 EST

Well, only you know what is best for you. Personally, I would rather follow the official IRS rules at https://www.irs.gov/publications/p463 under "Travel Outside the United States." If you ever get audited, your case will be much stronger if you have followed those rules. If you have not and your claim is disallowed, not only will you have to pay back taxes, penalties, and interest but the IRS will be keeping a beady eye on you for years. (I know because it happened to an acquaintance.)

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rsetzer99
12/15/2019 06:42 EST

i am a retired CPA. Yes, you can deduct reasonable and normal expenses while working in Italy if you also do the same when you are working in the US. What will be considered reasonable and normal? You simply deduct expenses for comparable expenses when you are in the US. This would exclude your travel back and forth. The IRS is would not fall for the 'working vacation' angle unless you specifically need to travel for a living. Housing? I would stick to the same percentage you use on your US based deduction, and also use that as a not to exceed amount.

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Alisonspare
1/6/2020 01:28 EST

Hello - your summer plans sound fun - we have a holiday house in Puglia in a town of about 30,000. I would suggest you look for a town near the sea that has elementary and at least a middle school as that will ensure more kid friendly activities (even though your kids are younger). A lot of town right on the sea are very seasonal and don’t have year-round residents and schools. Our town has a community center that offers kid friendly activities - but as noted you won’t find as many week long camps like in the US (grandparents help with childcare or families go to the beach together). Once you pick a town start following the town on Facebook and make some inquiries about upcoming events. In Valle d’Itria I like the town of Cisternino - a little drive time the beach but a lovely town. In the Salento region, I love Nardo - and Lecce. I have found that announcements for events are not posted weeks in advance and often are only held if enough people sign up. I think a better approach would be to pick a town - find your rental now (as you don’t want to have to move homes if you can’t secure 6 continuous weeks) and search for a local student to help be a nanny. A local high school student would know local families and activities and provide a unique opportunity for everyone. Don’t overlook using a boy - my son was an Au pair in Austria for a year and was a summer manny for an Italian family with three young boys.. while you may be tempted to rent a country property with a pool - I would argue that an in town property where you can walk with the children to the market and shops will create a lovely experience where you can build relationships with the local community during your extended stay..

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TravelMama
1/6/2020 06:18 EST

Alisonspare, thank you so much for your advice- I really appreciate the town recommendations - Lecce looks nice. The kids activities- it’s been pretty difficult to find organized activities for the kids especially in their age group... an au pair is a great idea- do you think I can find one online (I don’t know if I could trust that) or wait until we get to Italy - not sure how I would go about finding One locally. We don’t speak any Italian so we need to be in a town that had some English speakers. I was hoping to make this a summer of fun and learning Italian for the whole family. The lure of a day camp is the kids would have organized, age appropriate activities with kids their own age and not just hang out aimlessly all day... you have a house in Puglia- do you feel like it’s not the right place for what I’m looking for?
TIA :)

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foxwhite1
1/7/2020 07:34 EST

I think if your kids are to have an adventure where they have fun and learn Italian and Italian culture, you need to forget about the American unhealthy obsession with ensuring our kids are never allowed to be just kids. Instead, every hour is spent in some organized activity for fear they will be bored. This concept is as foreign to Italians as placing one's elderly parents into a nursing home. Hanging out 'aimlessly' as you say is not the worst thing in the world if they are interacting with their peers, and it teaches them valuable lessons. Take them to any park and watch how fast they are befriended.

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