Hidden Swiss funds must return in Italian tax amnesty

October 12, 2009

SANMARINO/    ROME, Oct 10 (Reuters) – Italians who hold undeclared funds in Switzerland, Montecarlo and San Marino must repatriate them to be covered by a new tax amnesty, unlike other countries and the EU, the Italian tax agency said on Saturday.
   It listed 36 countries where funds can be declared and a one-off penalty paid without repatriating them. As well as the European Union they included the United States, Japan, Australia and New Zealand, South Korea, Mexico, Norway, Turkey and others which the agency says cooperate by providing information.
   But it said “regularisation is not allowed for assets held in non-EU countries such as Switzerland, Montecarlo and San Remo where the only option is repatriation”.
   Earlier this month Italy’s parliament passed the amnesty law which Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi says will fund billions of euros in social spending, but which the opposition has slammed as a reward for crime and tax evasion.
   The government estimates Italy’s third tax amnesty in nine years will affect 300 billion euros, taxed at a one-off rate of 5 percent, to help boost flagging state revenues. Private bankers peg the figure at between 50-100 billion euros.
   Previous tax amnesties in Italy in 2001 and 2003 imposed one-off tax rates of 2.5 percent — half of the new measure — and repatriated a total of around 80 billion euros.
   The government forecasts a deficit of 5.3 percent of GDP this year as Italy’s worst post-war recession whittles down tax revenues. Berlusconi says the amnesty will help fund spending on health and universities.’
   Italy’s amnesty is one of the most generous in the global crackdown on offshore tax evasion, both in terms of the low one-off rate and the anonymity given to tax evaders.
   (Additional reporting by Giuseppe Fonte; writing by Stephen Brown) ((stephen.brown@thomsonreuters.com; +39 06 8522 4350; stephen.brown.reuters.com@reuters.net))
Saturday, 10 October 2009 15:06:23RTRS [nLA55054  ] {C}ENDS

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