Italy looking to attract the wealthy but none are arriving

Italy looking to attract the wealthy but none are arriving

Italy looking to attract the wealthy but none are arriving

The latest country looking to attract wealthy expats is Italy, but no-one wants to know!

Last year, Italy hit on a great idea to attract millionaires and possibly billionaires to its charms, simply by offering a flat tax rate of 100,000 euros annually, no matter how much tax would have been due in the real world. Sadly, the scheme fell flat on its financial face as the mega-rich simply weren’t that interested in what the country had to offer them as residents. The flat tax is a fraction of the annual tax bills paid in the USA by the ultra-rich, with an income of 10 million dollars attracting payments of over three million.

When the plan was announced to a waiting world, Italian officials expected a frantic rush of around a thousand millionaires beating down the doors of the Italian immigration office, but the actual progress of the scheme has only resulted in enquiries from around 150 of the idle rich. Russians, UK citizens, Americans, Swiss and a few Dutch and Norwegians were referred to as the ‘usual suspects’ by an official, who added some aren’t even millionaires, they’re ‘just art collectors’.

Some believe the real money was waiting until last Sunday’s general election, which has now resulted in the Italian version of a hung parliament, whilst Italy’s most famous millionaire ex-PM Silvio Berlusconi is now suggesting a flat tax plan for all Italians. He didn’t mention whether expats would be included, but it’s far more likely that Italy’s infamous tax evasion issue will continue no matter what is decided.

Citizenship for investment is a big deal nowadays and is being offered by a number of countries including Malta, Thailand, Grenada, Greece, Canada, Portugal, the USA, Spain, Australia and New Zealand. The schemes are especially popular with the Chinese, who see residency as a bolthole from any Communist excesses which may become the norm in the future. Russians are also busy participating for similar reasons, as are wealthy British citizens looking for the easiest way to retain EU citizenship post-Brexit. The snag is that those who’ve taken advantage of the schemes are rarely seen in their new countries, a fact which doesn’t endear them to genuine expats.

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