By Daniel Flynn
ROME, Dec 29 (Reuters) – Italians have declared 95 billion euros ($136.7 billion) held illegally overseas under a tax amnesty, topping original government forecasts and providing a boost to Italy’s banking system.
The Finance Ministry said in a statement on Tuesday around 98 percent of the money declared under the amnesty had been repatriated to Italy. Analysts estimate repatriated funds have flowed mainly into small- and medium-sized banks.
The amnesty, which expired on Dec. 15 and led to tensions with neighbouring Switzerland, allowed Italians to declare illegally held assets, paying a one-off tax of 5 percent.
The ministry said in a statement a prolongation of the amnesty until end-April, approved by the cabinet this month, would be the one and only extension. Government sources say they expect this to reap a further 30 billion euros.
“The time of tax havens has finished forever,” said the ministry statement. “To place or keep money in tax havens is no longer convenient, neither in economic nor tax terms. The returns are small, the risk is high.”