Do beneficiaries need to pay tax on Italian inheritance?
This is a question we are often asked at De Tullio Law Firm. The answer is yes. Beneficiaries need to pay Italian inheritance tax.
Who calculates Italian inheritance tax?
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When you become the beneficiary of an inheritance you may have to submit a statement of succession, “Dichiarazione di successione” to the Italian tax authorities, “Agenzia delle Entrate”.
Firstly a succession procedure needs to be opened. Once this has happened, you can file the statement of succession. Although it is not always the case, the opening of a succession procedure usually coincides with a testator’s death. Your filing with the tax authorities should take place within 12 months of the succession procedure opening.
Once they receive the statement of succession, the tax authorities will calculate the amount of tax due on your inheritance.
It is worth noting however, that there is no obligation to file a statement of succession if the estate does not comprise any real estate. Likewise, if assets are valued at less than Euro 100,000 and the beneficiaries are a spouse, children and/or other direct heirs.
What is taxable?
In effect, Italian inheritance tax applies to the entire net value of the deceased’s estate. This therefore includes both movable and immovable assets.
Immovable assets include houses, shops, buildings, agricultural or building land.
Movable assets could for example include, boats, jewellery, works of art, bank and post office current accounts, money, investments such as shares, bonds, trust funds.
In addition, companies and shareholdings in companies are taxable. However, there are exceptions to this which would exempt heirs from inheritance tax.
How is Italian inheritance tax calculated?
Basic inheritance tax in Italy, “Imposta sulle Successioni” equates to 8% of the estate.
However, rates depend on the relationship of the beneficiary to the deceased.
The Italian inheritance tax rate drops to 6% between siblings, relatives up to the fourth degree cousins and relatives up to the third degree. This might for instance, be a spouse’s uncle. In the case of direct heirs such as the deceased’s children, spouse or registered partner, the applicable tax rate is 4%.
Summary of Italian inheritance tax rates
|Exemption up to
|Spouse, relatives in the direct line of descent (parents, grandparents, children, children’s children…)
|Brothers and sisters
|Other relatives up to grade 4, related in the direct line of descent, related in a collateral line up to grade 3
Because Italian inheritance can be a complex matter and each case is different, we recommend that you seek expert support and advice.
If you wish to discuss your case with us or you are feeling unsure about anything related to Italian inheritance, do not hesitate to contact us for a free preliminary consultation.
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