Go Italian

Written by Henry Martin . Posted in Finance

We interview Benedikt Kaiser, Partner at Kaiser Partner

Here he outlines how Italy competes for the rich with England. Benedikt Kaiser has ten years of experience in financial services. His professional experience includes strategy consulting, finance and the arts. He was heavily involved in the development of Kaiser Partner’s Responsible Investing strategy. Today his main focus is on building up the Multi-client Family Office and the US business

CEO Insight: What is the new Italian non-domiciled tax regime?

Benedikt Kaiser: Basically, it is a tax regime for those willing to move their tax domicile to Italy. Italy will tax all their income from non-Italian sources with a flat rate of 100.000 Euro per year and 25.000 per year for every additional participating family member. This flat tax regime will be valid for a maximum of 15 years.

CEO Insight: Who is it aimed at and what are the eligibility criteria?

Benedikt Kaiser: At a first glance, the program is aimed at wealthy EU citizens. They can move to Italy without too much administrative effort. Non-EU citizens might however receive a residence permit through acquiring another EU citizenship or take part in a specific investment program in Italy. What all participants have to keep in mind: You are only eligible for the program if you haven’t been liable for taxation in Italy for more than one year out of the last ten years.

CEO Insight: What inspired this new tax regime?

Benedikt Kaiser: Well, most likely the Italian government wanted to attract the wealthy. Following experiences in other countries, this has a positive effect on the economy; and they pay taxes as well! Just to give you an example: “The Independent” has calculated that the UK Exchequer loses 6 Billion pounds because they have abolished the privileges for UK Non-doms.

CEO Insight: How can potential candidates apply?

Benedikt Kaiser: You can apply with the Italian Tax Authorities. We highly recommend asking for an advance approval, especially for people from abroad. The tax authorities provide it within three months, regardless of whether you participate or not. Before you start transferring your tax residency, you can find out whether or to what extent you will benefit from the ruling.

CEO Insight: What can they expect from the process? What can they expect if successful?

Benedikt Kaiser: Following the legal tradition of the country, the program as a part of the Italian tax regime will be more and more specified. It is still in its early stages but with the right advisor and tax specialist, transition should be smooth. Given that things are prepared in the right way, you might lower your tax burden for you and your family efficiently.

“The Independent” has calculated that the UK Exchequer loses 6 Billion pounds because they have abolished the privileges for UK Non-doms."

CEO Insight: How can Kaiser Partner help with the process?

Benedikt Kaiser: First of all, we advise clients to ask the Italian tax authority for a preliminary tax ruling. We believe that you should discuss the result with your wealth manager and tax advisor before going further. Another important action beforehand is to revise the structuring of your wealth.

Do you really profit within given wealth structures? Will your privacy effectively be protected? Wealth structuring can address crucial questions like these. In providing family office services as well, we frequently discuss the question of residency. While it is important to bring all financial aspects to the table, one should also consider emotional aspects: It just doesn’t make sense to move to a country for tax reasons when you don’t feel comfortable there.

CEO Insight:  What are your thoughts on why the UK has chosen to withdraw from its own ‘non-dom’ regime? Do you think this was a factor in Italy’s decision? What impact could the UK’s withdrawal have on Italy?

Benedikt Kaiser: Isn’t it popular to criticise the wealthy? Although the advantages of the program for the UK have been obvious it ironically was the conservative Theresa May campaigning against the program ahead of the extraordinary General Election. The coincidence between the removal of tax privileges for Non-doms in UK and the introduction of the Italian program is most likely not accidental. I’m sure, some will move from UK to Italy given the attractive conditions there.

CEO Insight: US candidates won’t benefit from the regime, why is this the case?

Benedikt Kaiser: US citizens are taxed by their global income so a Non-dom program isn’t attractive. Wealthy US citizens however often consider transferring funds abroad to geographically diversify wealth. Kaiser Partner Financial Advisors does exactly this from its office in Zurich (Switzerland).

CEO Insight:  What kind of popularity of this regime do you expect?

Benedikt Kaiser: I’ve already mentioned it before - the question of residency is something that should be carefully considered. As a consequence, we will most likely experience a gradual increase of the number of participants. It’s about quality, not quantity. But on the other hand, this shouldn’t hide the fact that the Italian Non-dom program certainly is an offering that stands out against similar programs.

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