Italian authorities will be targeting yacht owners this month in a nationwide sweep to uncover tax evaders. Agenzia delle Entrate, Italy’s inland revenue authority, recently released figures saying that Italians evade more than 124bn in taxes each year.
According to The Daily Telegraph, revenue inspectors will be scouring Italy’s coastline, concentrating on marinas located in prime holiday destinations. More than 25,000 inspections will be carried out.
Yacht owners will be asked for registration documents, and those numbers will be checked against the income they declared for the year. If there is a discrepancy between the numbers, the agency will investigate in greater detail.
The probe follows the high profile seizure of Flavio Briatore’s yacht, Force Blue, earlier this year. The financial police allege that the Formula One owner owes millions in taxes on the yacht. Briatore maintained his innocence, and after being impounded, the yacht was returned.
Agenzia officials told the paper they had caught one person in Ravenna on the Adriatic coast who had declared an income of 8,000 a year. But he had chartered a yacht for 20,000, as well as paying 6,400 in fees to the local sailing club.
“This year we aim to recoup 10bn. It’s a lot and you have to understand just how much work that entails, even for just 1,” Attilo Befera, head of the Agenzia, told the paper. “We are not after the people who evade 100, otherwise we would be tied up all day, we are after the medium and large size evaders.”
Beyond yachts, the tax authorities will be targeting hotels, night clubs and restaurants to make sure that the décor and fittings match with annual tax returns.