Italian resident taxpayers are required to report all of their assets held outside of Italy, on form RW of their Italian income tax returns (which include various sections and can be considered the equivalent of the FBAR and other international tax returns that are required to be filed in the United States).
Resident taxpayers subject to reporting include U.S. (or any other foreign) citizens who crossed the line and have become tax residents of Italy under Italian tax residency rules (unless they can claim U.S. tax residency under the tie breaker provisions of article 4 of the U.S.-Italy income tax treaty).
They also include Italian nationals who moved abroad but maintained their tax residency in Italy as a result of keeping their domicile there.
Reporting requirements extend to any foreign asset, not just bank or financial accounts, which is capable of generating (currently or at any time in the future) foreign source income taxable in Italy (such as houses, boats, jewelry, artworks, etc.).
Recently, the scope of reporting has been dramatically extended as a result of the enactment of the "beneficial owner" rule, which requires to report assets that are not immediately or directly owned by the taxpayer, but are owned indirectly as a result of owning shares of stock or similar interests in foreign entities, or that will be received in the future as distributions out of trusts of which the taxpayer is a beneficiary.
The new reporting rules adopt a "look through" approach pursuant to which the taxpayer is required to report her pro rata share of the underlying assets owned by an entity in which she is owns stock or other similar interests.
Reporting can be very daunting, in case of multiple entities and levels of ownership, and assets owned foreign in trusts that need to be properly classified and interpreted under Italian tax rules to understand exactly who and how (among the various settlors and beneficiaries) is required to report the assets held in trust.
In this article we provide a general overview of the new Italy’s international tax reporting rules referred to here above. We hope it proves to be useful as an initial orientation guidance in a very complex area of Italian international tax law.