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The General Manager of the Italian Revenue Agency, Rossella Orlandi, has confirmed that there have so far been 10,000 requests to enter into Italy's current voluntary disclosure program, compared with only around 1,000 applications received by May.
The program allows taxpayers who apply by September 30 to regularize undeclared capital held abroad and access penalty concessions. There are rumors that this deadline may be extended.
The number of participants is expected to grow substantially as the deadline nears. The program offers much-reduced administrative penalties for taxpayers availing themselves of the amnesty, and they will generally be free from criminal prosecution.
The hike in the number of voluntary declarations follows last month's approval of legislation to ratify amendments to Italy's tax agreements with Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and Monaco, to provide for the exchange of information in line with international standards.
Orlandi said on September 5 that the Agency already has "millions of pieces of information that, until the last few months, were secret. … We want Italy to be part of the new global battle against tax evasion that is based on a worldwide movement towards the exchange of tax information between jurisdictions."
She also admitted, however, that the Agency still has problems in bringing to a successful conclusion the "more than 20,000 tax evasion investigations" that it initiates every year, and that, at present, it is only succeeding in "flooding the justice system" with unresolved cases.
Meanwhile, in another development, on September 4, the Italian Cabinet approved the final draft of a decree that would increase transparency concerning Italy's efforts to tackle tax non-compliance. Under the decree, the Government would be required to produce an annual report on the effectiveness of its enforcement actions, estimates on the size of Italy's underground economy, and an estimate of undeclared assets and income. It will also include details on new initiatives planned for the next year.
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