A flat-tax scheme is luring the wealthy to Italy
Ah, italy! “The school as well as the playground of the world,” as one of E.M. Forster’s characters described it: cities packed with the greatest Western art and architecture, ravishing landscapes, delicious food and a sunny climate. What a place to live—but for the tax, levied at 23% from the first euro earned and at progressively higher rates up to 43% on income over €75,000 ($89,000).
But a small number of very rich people—ultra-high-net-worth individuals, in the jargon of private offices and estate agents—are living the Italian dream while paying what, for them, are modest taxes. Several hundred belong to a scheme in which they pay an annual €100,000, plus €25,000 for each member of their family. The flat rates, which apply only to non-Italian income, are valid for 15 years. After that, unless the programme is renewed, its beneficiaries will become subject to Italy’s normal regime. Cristiano Ronaldo, a Portuguese football star, is said to be among those who have made use of the scheme. In 2018, the year after it came into force, he surprised the footballing world by transferring to an Italian side, Juventus.