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Italy: Circular to Clarify Tax Amnesty for Offshore Assets

(Oct. 23, 2009) Under Ministerial Circular No. 43/E of October 10, 2009, the Italian Tax Authorities (ITA) seek to clarify the provisions on the tax amnesty set forth in Law No. 141 (converted from Law Decree No. 103 on October 3, 2009). Law No. 141 stipulates that from September 15, 2009, to December 15, 2009, Italian taxpayers resident in Italy for tax purposes may regularize their funds and assets that are held abroad (“offshore funds and assets”) as of December 31, 2008, and that have not yet been declared to the ITA. (Emanuela Santoro, Tax Amnesty – Ministerial Circular Issued, TAX NEWS SERVICE, Oct. 19, 2009, IBFD online subscription database; Circolare N. 43/E [in Italian], Agenzia Entrate website, Oct. 10, 2009, available at
; Legge 3 ottobre 2009, n. 141, “Conversione in legge, con modificazioni, del decreto-legge 3 agosto 2009, n. 103, recante disposizioni correttive del decreto-legge anticrisi n. 78 del 2009. (09G0150)” [in Italian], 230 GAZZETTA UFFICIALE (Oct. 3, 2009), available at [Note: the webpage gives 2007 instead of 2009 as the year of the gazette issue, which would appear to be a typographical error].)

Highlights of Circular 43/E are:

1) The tax amnesty covers the above-named taxpayers' “indirectly held” (through fiduciary companies) offshore funds and assets; i.e., controlled foreign corporations of Italian tax residents may apply for the amnesty and the Italian shareholder/s will enjoy the benefits obtained from the amnesty

2) Application of the tax amnesty may be to:

a) regularize and “repatriate” offshore funds and assets to Italy. Regularization is compulsory for those funds and assets held in Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, San Marino, or Switzerland; and/or

b) regularize but still “hold” offshore funds and assets without physically transferring them to Italy, to the extent that they are held within: (i) the European Union or the European Economic Area or (ii) countries that have an exchange of information with Italy, namely, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, South Korea, Turkey and the United States. (Santoro, supra.)