Italian Tax Authorities Targeting Boat Owners

August 20, 2012 Taxation in Italy

Luxury YachtROME – Boat owners are taking their vessels out of Italy, as the Italian tax authorities aim their sites on the tax affairs of wealthy taxpayers who have luxury boats.

Over the last four months wealthy Italians have been moving their luxury boats from Italy to Malta in an effort to hide the vessel from tax authorities and to obscure any evidence of their own lavish lifestyles.

Italian tax authorities are increasingly conducting undercover operations aimed at uncovering evidence of the country’s richest individuals living lifestyle that could not be supported by the incomes declared on their tax returns. The operations involve agents from the Guardia di Finanza, a law enforcement agency in Italy charged with investigating financial crimes, posing as tourists and holiday makers on popular beaches while collecting evidence of wealthy individuals with undeclared luxury items such as boats. The agents are also boarding private vessels to perform on-the-spot checks of the boats’ details and to verify the tax files of the yacht’s owners and occupants.

According to the Italian Association of Marinas (Assomarinas), the crackdown on tax evaders is leading to an exodus of vessels, with over 30 000 luxury yachts having been permanently moved from Italy since March 2012. It is estimated that the boats’ departures have reduced economic activity in Italy by EUR 300 million, due to lost marina fees, reduced fuel sales, and a lower demand for boats servicing.

Photo by yachtfan