Traditionally in Italy, tax evasion has been a national sport. But a growing fiscal emergency and reduction of government services is pressuring even the Italian Tax Police (Guardia di Finanza) to step up their game. High on their “to get” list are prominent corporate players with convoluted schemes to side-step taxes with foreign domiciles,etc. Bulgari is already on the hot seat but Facebook and Google also have had visits (raids?) from Italian cops dressed much better than the nerds under scrutiny.
Via WWD: “Bulgari execs are in the headlines with confirmation that Guardia di Finanza seized $60 million-worth of property, life-insurance policies, and corporate investments belonging to Paolo and Nicola Bulgari (chairman and vice chairman of Bulgari SpA), former CEO Francesco Trapani ( Trapani, heads parent company LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SA (MC)’s watch and jewelry unit), and Maurizio Valentini, their current legal representative, after it emerged that the jewelry brand may or may not owe $4 billion in taxes, WWD writes. The Guardia reportedly found Bulgari’s nine-page “escape strategy” using made-up businesses in the Netherlands and Ireland to sidestep paying Italian tariffs. For the last seven years. In a statement, Bulgari pointed “out that some media were informed of the procedure even before the individuals involved were notified.”
Meanwhile Italian police have been carrying out checks at the Milan offices of Facebook to assess whether it regularly declared its income in Italy, an investigative source and the U.S. company said Italian officials have stepped up their efforts to collect taxes in recent months and have already targeted other big corporate names such as Google to check whether they are paying their dues.
“Facebook pays taxes in Italy as part of its business activity in the country and strictly complies with Italy’s fiscal rules,” Facebook said in an emailed statement. “Facebook has fully cooperated with tax police during the investigation and intends to continue to do that.”
Italian police opened a new tax probe into Google Italy last week, five years after an earlier investigation into transfer pricing. Google has said it complies with the tax laws in every country in which it operates.