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Italian Tax Inspectors Target Yacht Owners

Italian Tax Inspectors Target Yacht Owners

By M.E. Dodge
The Digest, Associate Managing Editor

Beginning in August, approximately 25,000 government tax officials in Italy will investigate many of the country’s prime resorts and marinas. Tax investigators are in search of yacht owners believed to be evading taxes. The Financial Times reported that the latest figures available from the Agenzia delle Entrate, akin the Internal Revenue Service in the United States, indicated that over €124 billion is evaded every year by Italians, and by extension, dual Italian-American citizens.

Tax officials will ask yacht owners to provide registration documents that officials will then verify and cross-reference with the owners’ declared income. Any discrepancies will result in further investigations.

The Agenzia delle Entrate’s impetus to seek out yacht owning tax evaders stems from recent altercations with Flavio Briatore, who owed roughly €1.8 million on his almost €9 million yacht. Although his boat was registered in the Cayman Islands in order to avoid Italian tax, the Agenzia delle Entrate insisted that Briatore owed taxes to the Italian government. Further investigation in Briatore’s case is pending.

Other Officials at the Agenzia delle Entrate have discovered other large tax invaders, including one individual person in Ravenna, on the Adriatic coast, who declared an income of €8,000 a year, but chartered a yacht for €20,000, in addition to paying €6,400 in fees to the local sailing club.

In the words of, Attilo Befera, head of the Agenzia delle Entrate, "This year [the agency] aim[s] to recoup €10 billion, it's a lot and you have to understand just how much work that entails, even for just €1.”

For more information, please see:

Telegraph, “Italian Inspectors to Hit the Have Yachts for Evasion,” 10 Aug. 2010.

The Financial Times, “Italy's Tax Crackdown Steers Away Superyachts, Business,” 26 May 2010.