The meeting takes place in an undisclosed, luxurious, but bustling hotel lobby in Rome
Head Tax Native (“TN”):
Secret Private Client Adviser in Japan, your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to educate us on the practical tax considerations in Japan.
This task requires a delicate balance of expertise and discretion. Be warned, should your real identity be revealed during this covert operation, you will be disavowed by Tax Natives and shunned by your fellow private client advisers.
Do you accept?
Secret Private Client Adviser in Italy (Secret Adviser):
[settles into a plush chair in the bustling hotel lobby, notebook ready] So, let's dive straight into Italy's tax residency rules.
What makes someone a tax resident here?
[leans forward, glasses reflecting the lobby's chandeliers] It's about presence and connection.
If you're registered at an Italian municipality, have your domicile or main center of interests in Italy for over 183 days a year, you're a tax resident.
Interestingly, even if you leave the registry and move to a low-tax country, you might still be deemed a resident unless proven otherwise.
[animatedly to a guest] "No, the gondola ride isn't included with your room, this is Rome, not Venice!"
[smiles, then refocuses] And for these residents, how does Italy tax their income?
[sips espresso] Residents face worldwide income taxation, meaning they're taxed on income earned both in and outside Italy.
The IRPEF system classifies income into categories like employment, business, and capital, applying progressive rates from 23% to 43%.
[interrupts, brandishing a map] Could you point me to the Leaning Tower of Pisa?
[points gently] That’s a bit of a journey from here. Head to the train station... and get a train to Pisa.
Now, regarding non-residents...
[jots down notes, intrigued] Yes, how are non-residents taxed?
Non-residents are taxed only on their Italian-sourced income.
But there's an appealing flat tax option for new residents, like a €100,000 substitute tax on foreign income.
[nods] That's the famous 'non-dom' regime we hear so much about?
Go on... tell us a bit more. Don't be shy!
[Laughs] OK, you twist my arm!
As I say, one of the most advantageous aspects of the regime is that Italy now offers a flat tax rate for high-net-worth individuals.
[Takes another sip of Espresso for extra fortitude]
As a high-net-worth individual, you have the option to pay €100,000 per annum on any foreign income you generate as an Italian tax resident.
The rate is fixed - it doesn't matter how much foreign income you have.
There is an exemption from paying wealth tax in Italy on your foreign investments, including paying tax on the value of foreign real estate investments.
In addition, there is an exemption from inheritance and gift tax payable in Italy.
[starts unconsciously twiddling with spoon]
But don't get carried away. Any income you generate in Italy will not fall under the flat tax and will be taxed at standard Italian rates.
The scheme is likely to be most beneficial if most of your income is – and will continue to be – generated outside Italy.
Intriguing. How long does this regime apply to taxpayer?
The flat tax rate is applicable for a period of fifteen years, which is counted from the first year that you benefit from Italian tax residency.
And all that great food and wine. What is there not to love?
What about capital gains?
Capital gains, typically from financial assets like stocks or bonds, are taxed at 26%.
But there are lower rates, like 12.5% for government securities.
There is no tax on real estate sales if held for more than five years.
And the approach to lifetime gifts and inheritances?
Gifts are subject to indirect tax, with rates depending on the relationship between donor and donee.
Inheritance tax also varies but offers some exemptions, especially for direct relatives.
[returns, cheerfully] Got my ticket to Pisa, thanks!
[stands up] Just a quick one on real property taxes before we wrap up?
[standing too] Sure.
The key ones are IMU and TARI, but your primary residence is typically exempt, barring luxury properties.
[extends a hand] Thanks for your insights. I've learned a lot about Italian tax laws today.
[shakes hand warmly] Happy to help. Enjoy your time in Italy!
[They part ways, the Tax Natives heading towards the bustling hotel exit, amused and enlightened by the day's interactions.]