Under new anti money laundering legislation due to become effective in Italy in 2017, all foreign trusts with tax effects in Italy shall have to be filed and registered on the Italian Register of Enterprises. They include trusts with Italian settlor, Italian beneficiaries, Italian assets, Italian source income or treated as Italian resident trust under Italian tax law.

The tax effects of a trust in Italy and the consequent obligation to disclose it on the Italian Register of Enterprises is determined under Italian tax laws.  The way in which a trust, its income or its beneficiaries are treated under foreign tax law is not determinative for that purpose.   

Trustees of trusts subject to the new disclosure and filing rules shall have to collect, conserve and disclose adequate information about trust’s ultimate beneficial owners, which are meant to include the settlor, the trustee, the guardian, the beneficiaries, and any other person having any type of control or authority over the trust.

The scope of the new disclosure and reporting rules for trusts is very wide. All trusts with any apparent or potential point of contact with Italy should be revised to determine whether they fall within the application of the new rules.   


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Foreign trusts, with connections to Italy such as Italian located assets, beneficiaries or grantors, and aimed at producing legal and tax effects in Italy, will be subject to full disclosure in Italy including registration in the Italian public register of enterprises regardless of the fact that they are created and administered abroad and governed by foreign law. The disclosure obligation falls upon the trustee, even if residing abroad. Failure to disclose brings with it criminal and monetary penalties.

That is the result of the new transposition in to Italian law of the new EU anti money laundering directive.

The deadline for the implementation of the Directive in the law of the EU Member States is June 2017.

Foreign trustees of foreign trusts with connections to Italy must pay attention to the developments in this area of law.
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On January 9, 2011 the Internal Revenue Service reopened the offshore voluntary disclosure program to help people hiding offshore accounts get current with their taxes and announced the collection of more than $4.4 billion so far from the two previous international programs.

The IRS reopened the Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) following continued strong interest from taxpayers and tax practitioners after the closure of the 2011 and 2009 programs. The third offshore program comes as the IRS continues working on a wide range of international tax issues and follows ongoing efforts with the Justice Department to pursue criminal prosecution of international tax evasion.  This program will be open for an indefinite period until otherwise announced.

“Our focus on offshore tax evasion continues to produce strong, substantial results for the nation’s taxpayers,” said IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. “We have billions of dollars in hand from our previous efforts, and we have more people wanting to come in and get right with the government. This new program makes good sense for taxpayers still hiding assets overseas and for the nation’s tax system.”

The program is similar to the 2011 program in many ways, but with a few key differences. Unlike last year, there is no set deadline for people to apply.  However, the terms of the program could change at any time going forward.  For example, the IRS may increase penalties in the program for all or some taxpayers or defined classes of taxpayers – or decide to end the program entirely at any point.

“As we’ve said all along, people need to come in and get right with us before we find you,” Shulman said. “We are following more leads and the risk for people who do not come in continues to increase.”


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Italy’s tax administration issued a guideline according to which all foreign assets must be reported in Italy, including personal assets (such as vacation homes, yachts, jewelery) that do not generate any foreign income taxable in Italy. The new guideline is part of a general reinforcement of foreign assets reporting rules adopted in connection with the enactment of the new tax shield, which enables taxpayers to declare unreported foreign assets and income and pay a reduced tax (4 percent, increased to 5 percent for disclosure returns filed by February 28 and 6 percent for disclosure returns filed by April 30).
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