What is a Patronato or a CAF in Italy?

By now you’ve probably gotten settled into life in Italy, set up your residence and maybe even opened your Partita IVA. Maybe you’re still a student, or have started a family. No matter what stage you are at in your life in Italy – there’s talk of bonuses you can apply for. While many you can handle on your own, the bureaucracy and paperwork can also seem like another chore. This is the time to search a Patronato or a CAF. What is a Patronato or a CAF in Italy? Let’s get into it!

Get help when you need

Both CAF and Patronato are services set up to assist citizens take care of practically all bureaucratic measures, either for free or a very small fee. They can assist in obtaining pension, maternity or bonus payments, for applying for your ISEE, opening a SPID, or filing your taxes.

Most are open odd hours, so be sure to be flexible, and call ahead in case you need an appointment.

A Patronato

A “patronato” is an office that helps carry out mainly social security and pension services free of charge. They are officially recognized by the Ministry of Labor, and funded by the state.

You’ll find many different offices of these throughout Italy, in nearly every town. We personally have used ACLI, but there are other organizations that provide these services.

It’s not just for pension help. Head to your local Patronato if you need help with disability services, unemployment support, and even if you need help with your Permesso di Soggiorno! Though know for this last one it may depend on who is working, some offices might not have someone to help out.

They can also help you apply for maternity, paternity or “assegno unico” family bonuses.


A CAF is more used for financial assistance, especially when it comes to filing taxes.

They are recognized by the Ministry of Finance and they find support from this branch of government.

Their main purpose is to assist citizens in tax compliance. You can head to them for help with:

-Tax Returns
-730 form,
– ISEE form.
Many of their services are entirely free, yet some such as filing the 730 form, may require a small fee.

Patronato or CAF?

Choosing which to go for depends on what you are interested in receiving help with. If you are looking for help with bonus services or employment, it is better to head to a Patronato. Instead, if you need help checking on your taxes, head to a CAF!

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