The Italian map of tax havens has changed. On 2 March 2015, the
special window offered by Italian Law n. 186/2014 for the signature
of exchange of information agreements was officially closed.
Several countries previously considered as 'black-list' by
the Italian Government have already signed such an agreement:
Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Monaco.
As a consequence, for the purposes of the new Italian Voluntary
Disclosure procedure, taxpayers in these jurisdictions will benefit
from, amongst other things, reduced penalties. These recent
agreements follow in the footsteps of San Marino and Luxembourg now
being considered white-list. It is therefore likely that the
geography of the new Italian Voluntary Disclosure procedure and,
more generally, the use of tax havens, may change considerably.
As a result of the combination of the signing of the
agreements and the regulatory change stipulated under Law
Decree 'Milleproroghe', countries hitherto considered as
black-list become 'black-list countries with agreement'
and, consequently, face equivalent sanctions to white-list
jurisdictions. Formal Protocols are due to be approved which will
provide more detailed guidance as to how the system will work,
although for voluntary disclosure purposes, they are already deemed
to be in force.
Jurisdictions which did not sign such an agreement in time will
now be considered as black-list for the purposes of
the Voluntary Disclosure procedure. Therefore, taxpayers
with assets held in countries with no agreement in place will face
higher penalties and less beneficial terms.
The status of those countries which signed a Tax Information
Exchange Agreement (TIEA) with Italy (e.g. Bermuda, Cayman Islands,
Gibraltar, Cook Islands, Guernsey, Isle of Man and Jersey) but have
not signed a double tax convention in accordance with OECD
guidelines is currently in limbo. Three of these agreements
(Gibraltar, Cook Islands and Jersey) have been ratified by the
Italian Parliament. Further clarification concerning their
treatment will be necessary because they do not include Article 26,
as required by the Italian Voluntary Disclosure Law. It is evident
that the status of black-list countries, with or without agreement,
will have a significant impact on the cost of regularisation for
taxpayers who are based there.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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