Overseas property

Italy’s new investor visa programme

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In December 2016, the Italian government presented a new residence-by-investment programme. Applications for the new visa are expected to start in September 2017.

To qualify for the visa, foreign nationals have several investment options: — Placing at least €500,000 into "local innovative start-ups" — Placing at least €1 million into charter capitals of Italian companies or socially significant projects — Placing at least €2 million into Italian public bonds

Applicants need to prove:

  1. Availability of funds
  2. The legal origin of their income
  3. Their intention to make an investment in the Italian economy within 3 months of arriving in the country
  4. Regular income exceeding the minimum amount for an exemption from healthcare contributions (about €8,500 per annum)

According to preliminary data, such visas are issued for 2 years (during which investors are obliged to hold on to the assets acquired) and can be extended for another 3 years (if the investments are maintained). Investors can apply for permanent residence after 5 years and for citizenship after 10 years of residence in the country.

If applicants are not going to become Italian tax residents, their Italian incomes will be taxed 23% to 43%, depending on the level of income. However, if investors are going to spend more than 183 days per annum in the country, have a business or family members living there, they qualify for tax residence in Italy. In this case, their total income worldwide will be taxed at a progressive rate. However, in December 2016, the Italian government introduced a "special" tax regime for new residents:

From now on investors can pay a fixed annual tax of €100,000 for themselves and €25,000 per family member, which exempts them from paying tax on profits obtained outside Italy.

Gift and inheritance taxes will only apply to Italian assets. These conditions will be available to applicants who have not been Italian tax residents for 9 of the last 10 years and have obtained preliminarily approval from the Italian Revenue Agency (Agenzia delle Entrate). Such conditions apply for 15 years.

According to estimates by analysts, this tax regime is beneficial for investors whose foreign incomes exceed €250,000.

Italy offers interesting investment-immigration options to international investors. Those who want to live in the country can now benefit from an attractive tax regime, which has already become known as an alternative to the one offered by Switzerland. The Italian lump-sum tax is significantly lower than the Swiss one, especially for families. This tax regime allows not only spouses and children of applicants, but also their parents and siblings, to migrate to the country.

Ekaterina Shabalina, Tranio lawyer

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