How your tax dollars are spent
Happy New Year!

Offshore tax amnesties are international

Continuing tax forgiveness when it comes to offshore accounts isn't limited to the United States.

Encouraged by a tax amnesty that brought in about €80 billion (about $114 billion U.S.) between October and mid-December, Italian finance officials extended the program.

Economy Minister Giulio Tremonti said the amnesty, designed to to collect more assets currently deposited out of the country, will now run to April 2010.

And the earlier Italians bring their money back into the country, the better terms they'll receive. The extension calls for a fee of 7 percent on repatriated assets, but investors who move their money from foreign accounts to Italian institutions by Feb. 28 will pay a 6 percent fee.

This latest tax tax amnesty is Italy's third in the past eight years. Under the October to Dec. 15 terms, folks who repatriated their assets paid a 5 percent fine on the total but didn't have to declare how they earned the money.

The U.K. forgives, too: A similar offshore account amnesty also is underway in England, but only for a few more days.

The New Disclosure Opportunity amnesty started Sept. 1 and was part of a broader effort by the United Kingdom and other governments to crack down on offshore tax havens.

The deadline for disclosing that unpaid taxes are owed runs to Jan 4. Individuals then have until March 12 to pay what is owed.

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