High Net Worth Individuals: the Italian "Flat Tax"

INTRODUCTION 

Italian tax legislation includes several measures aimed to encourage foreign individuals to move to and invest in Italy. This measure is part of a wider initiative to promote Italy as an attractive destination for workers and investors’ capital. 

One of them is a tax regime similar to the UK currently in force, which has been designed for high-net-worth individuals as well as sportsmen, artists and executives. 

THE HNWI FLAT TAX

The newly introduced legislation provides a key change to the general principle of worldwide taxation system applicable to Italian tax residents. According to the new provisions, a foreign individual can be considered as resident but non-domiciled in Italy for tax purposes. This would allow taxpayers to pay ordinary taxes upon income generated in Italy and a flat lump tax of Euro 100.000,00 to cover taxes due on non-Italian sourced income

This optional regime would be available to individuals who meet both of the following requirements:

  • transfer their tax residence to Italy; 
  • have not been tax resident in Italy for nine out of the previous ten years preceding the year of the claim for this new regime.

The regime can be opted upfront self-assessment in the first Italian resident tax return. In any case, an advance tax ruling may be filed with the Italian Tax Authorities to ascertain, on a preliminary basis, that the flat lump tax regime can be successfully opted for.

Upon approval of non-domiciled status, taxpayers will be liable to progressive tax rates on Italian-sourced income only (employment/business/self-employment income for duties carried out in Italy).

Whereby a lump sum tax yearly payment of Euro 100.000,00 will be due on foreign sourced income with the exception of capital gains arising from the sale of qualified shareholdings realized in the first five years of the regime.

The regime can be extended to family members eligible for the special tax regime for an annual additional Euro 25.000,00 per family member. 

The option expires after 15 years from election and it is revocable at any time albeit its exercise does not jeopardize the relief already used by the individual. 

EFFECTS

The annual lump sum tax payment substitutes income tax, local taxes and wealth taxes. Taxpayers will also become exempt from financial monitoring obligation of foreign assets and inheritance/gift tax due on assets located outside of Italy. 

Edited by Fiona Balla and Valeria Giuliani

Author(s)

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