However tempting life on an idyllic Caribbean island may be to those seeking to escape the grey winter days of Europe, particularly when the perceived paradise can also be an escape from high taxation, for many the lure of sun drenched beaches in St Kitts & Nevis or Saint Lucia can rapidly fade. Many such islands have positioned themselves as fiscally advantageous, or visa and passport friendly, in an attempt to attract high net worth individuals who may provide an immediate boost to government coffers whilst potentially helping the local economy through their spending power.
For those wishing to pursue a relaxed life of sailing, fishing and scuba diving then perhaps they may find their island idyll. But for many, leaving behind the dynamism and culture of a city like London or Paris can be a difficult adjustment. A remote fiscal paradise is therefore not always the answer for those seeking a sensible tax regime whilst wanting to enjoy the quality and familiarity of urban life with all it offers. In addition, after a lifetime in business, many entrepreneurs find it difficult to distance themselves from their financial interests and investments in their home country. Perhaps a bigger consideration is that family and friends are now separated by a long haul flight.
The proliferation of favourable tax environments to be found in certain European countries could offer an alternative that those seeking an active lifestyle may find more fulfilling. The Italian flat tax regime in particular is increasingly attracting interest from residents of higher tax countries wishing to protect the return on their assets from fiscal erosion whilst enjoying life to the full.
As Italy’s leading business hub, Milan’s appeal is enduring and has long been a favourite of international residents. It will therefore come as no surprise that the city has in 2019, for the second year running, topped the Italian Annual Quality of Life Index as published by the business daily Il Sole 24 Ore. The Index is prepared on the basis of a number of factors falling into six themes; wealth and consumption, business and work, demography and society, environment and services, justice and security and leisure time.
If lifestyle factors are not persuasive enough, individuals wishing to relocate to Italy can also potentially benefit from the flat tax regime for new residents whereby an annual payment of €100,000 covers all tax obligations in Italy on income and capital gains from all non-Italian situs assets. Additional family members wishing to similarly benefit may usually do so by payment of an additional €25,000 in each case.
The Probus Group, with Italian speaking staff, can help with establishing residency in Italy and the formalities necessary to take advantage of the flat tax regime. In addition, through its expertise in wealth management and financial and estate planning, it can ensure that investments are managed and structured appropriately, not just in accordance with the requirements of the Italian flat tax regime, but also taking into account other important factors including potential fiscal and succession considerations relating to an individual’s country of origin and the nature of the investments held.
Life in Milan offers diverse entertainment, from opera at La Scala to football at the San Siro, pondering Renaissance art at the Pinacoteca di Brera, indulging in one of the many Michelin recognised restaurants, or browsing in the flagship stores of leading designers along Via Monte Napoleone. Milan also affords easy access to nearby Lake Como with its enduring timeless beauty or the Liguria coast including Portofino and the villages of the Cinque Terre with their pastel coloured charm. For the more active the Italian Alps offer top quality skiing in the winter months and Milan will host the 2026 Winter Olympics together with Cortina d’Ampezzo.
It is however as an international business centre that Milan has firmly established itself, drawing Italians and expatriates, who may also benefit from enhancements to the tax regime for inbound workers, to the metropolis that ranks amongst the top five European cities by GDP. As home to around 4,700 multinational companies and 2,000 start-ups, many in the fields of design, fashion, innovation and technology, Milan is one of the fastest growing large European cities earning worldwide recognition for its hosting of the universal exposition in 2015.
For those seeking to do business internationally, with Italy positioned at the heart of the Schengan zone, the success of Milan is underpinned by a transport infrastructure that sees the city served by three international airports within fifty kilometres serving annual passenger numbers approaching fifty-million and a range of advanced high speed trains and motorways providing access to the other major cities of Italy as well as France and Switzerland.
This article has been carefully prepared, but it has been written in general terms and should be seen as broad guidance only. The article cannot be relied upon to cover specific situations and you should not act, or refrain from acting, upon the information contained therein without obtaining specific professional advice. Please contact Probus Group to discuss these matters in the context of your particular circumstance. Probus Group, its partners, employees and agents do not accept or assume any liability or duty of care for any loss arising from any action taken or not taken by anyone in reliance on the information in this article or for any decision based on it.