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More than 80 bln declared in tax amnesty

Tremonti says target surpassed in bringing back foreign assets

23 December, 20:30
More than 80 bln declared in tax amnesty

(ANSA) - Rome, December 23 - Italians have declared over 80 billion euros in hidden assets, capital and investments held abroad thanks to a government amnesty, Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti said on Wednesday "We still don't have the exact numbers but it appears we have surpassed the target we set of 80 billion euros," Tremonti said in an end-of-the-year press conference.

The deadline for the amnesty was postponed last week from December 15 to April 30, a move which Tremonti said was necessary "because the amount of assets being declared and the paperwork involved was too much for us to process in time". The original amnesty allowed Italians declaring their foreign assets to pay a one-off fine of 5% on the value of their holdings, but no back taxes.

The terms of the deadline extension raises to 6% the penalty on assets declared by the end of February and 7% until the end of April.

Although Italian media and financial analysts estimated that between 100 to 110 million euros of assets could be declared thanks to the amnesty, Tremonti said last week that ''what really matters is that this repatriation (of assets) will stoke the Italian economy, keep companies going and prevent job losses''.

The controversial initiative not only gave tax evaders a chance to legalize hidden assets and accounts without having to pay back taxes, but also shielded them from prosecution for related crimes like accounting fraud and illegally exporting capital.

Tax authorities have estimated that the total value of assets held abroad illegally by Italian citizens is in the neighborhood of 300 billion euros and the Treasury hopes the amnesty will raise some 4.5 billion euros for the state through the penalty fee.

It is the general consensus that over half the undeclared assets held by Italians abroad can be traced to organised crime and thus will never be legalised.

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