Italy (IT)

Jurisdiction Overview

206 *Is any formal registration required at all? NEITHER, BUT NO DOMESTIC: Domestic law trusts cannot be created, but no registration of domestically managed foreign law trusts.
 Data Date: 2017


Only trusts that are relevant for tax purposes are required to register beneficial ownership information. Regarding legal ownership information, trusts are required to register with tax authorities, but it is not clear what information has to be provided and compliance in very low (50%) (GF 2017: 50).
The (EU) 2015/847 Directive was implemented by Legislative Decree No. 90 of 25 May 2017, which came into force on 4 July 2017 (the “Decree”). The beneficial owner is defined as any natural person(s) who ultimately owns or controls the customer. When the customer is a corporate entity, an indication of direct/indirect ownership is a shareholding of 25% held in the customer. When the customer’s ownership does not allow to identify the natural person(s) who ultimately owns the customer, the beneficial owner is any natural person(s) who ultimately controls the customer by means of majority of the voting rights. The requirement applies to legal persons as well as trusts. However, the obligation to register trusts applies only if the trusts have tax consequences: Article 21, paragraph 4 of Decree n. 90 provides that “trusts producing juridical effects relevant for tax purposes, in accordance with article 73 of the Presidential Decree n. 917 of January 22, 1986, shall be registered with a special section of the Register of Enterprises”.
As for legal ownership information, the Global Forum reported that trusts with an Italian trustee have to register, but it's not clear what info has to be provided, and it appears that compliance is low: "All trusts with resident trustee in Italy or administrated in Italy are required to register for tax purposes. Based on the information provided by the Italian authorities there are about 6 800 trusts registered with AE and about 3 600 of them file their tax returns (53%). According to the Italian Authorities the discrepancy between the number of trusts registered and the number of tax returns submitted may depend on the fact that some registered trusts are not required to file tax returns because they do not earn income in Italy or their income is not liable to taxation. The low filing rate raises a concern that the required information may not be kept by trustees in all cases." (GF 2017: 50).
The FATF mentioned in this context: "The NRA [national risk assessment] highlighted the difficulties in acquiring the necessary documentation for the verification of the beneficial ownership, in particular when trusts are established entirely abroad and constitute the last structure in the chain of control of the customer acting in Italy. It categorised the vulnerability of trusts as “very significant” and the specific risk of misuse as “high risk,” i.e., higher than the risk posed by Italian legal persons. Discussions held with the authorities and the private sector during this assessment confirmed that trusts are being misused in Italy, but not to a significant extent." (FATF 2016: 109-110; [TJN's Note]).

GF 2013: 36; GF 2017: 49-50
FATF 2016: 109-110
GF 2013: 36; GF 2017: 49-50