Grazie alla cortese disponibilità’ del dott. Alessandro Mazzoni CEO della SOS YACHTING
siamo in grado di pubblicare una utile guida di come affrontare un’ispezione delle autorità’ fiscali in Italia.
I vostri commenti e le vostre esperienze in merito sono benvenute .

How to handle Inspections on a Yacht for Tax and/or Criminal Violations
By Carlo Galli, Clifford Chance, Milan
With an Introduction by Alessandro Mazzoni, CEO SOS Yachting

When I opened my first yachting company in Lavagna with Carlo Agliardi back in 1984, yachting was still all about having fun and pleasure cruising. Now, thirty years later, things couldn’t be more different. Little by little regulations eased their way into the picture and then in the last 5 years, well, yachting has …… come of age. And coming of age entails responsibilities, some of which might not be welcome, but we all know they are here to stay.
So moving with the times, I have decided to stay in the vanguard of the industry and spearhead a new venture – SOS Yachting – which is about the less sexy side of yachting – compliances and regulations. The sort of stuff that makes people yawn and mentally switch off. But we do so at our peril.
My aim is to try and make the stuff, if not fun, available, to the point and easy to understand.
SOS Yachting is in the process of opening its fourth office in two years (we operate in Italy, France and Monaco, Spain and now Croatia). Our core business is the provision of fiscal representation services to yacht owning companies who wish to charter in EU waters. We work with the support of an international network of maritime lawyers and tax experts and thanks to our industry knowledge and experience have become the leading service providers in the industry.
We publish regular updates on our website on all aspects of yachting related to our services. Check us out at I hope you enjoy the article below and wish you a successful summer season.
Inspections on yachts typically focus on uncovering tax or criminal violations. Tax inspections are much more common but captains should be aware that, under certain circumstances, an inspection which is initiated for tax purposes may develop into an inspection for criminal violations. Different rules and proceedings apply if the scope of proceeding relates to tax violations or to criminal violations. For this reason captains should always understand what the scope of the inspection is at any given time so as to deal with it in the most effective manner.
Tax inspections would normally be focused on Value Added Tax and on excise for fuel evasions. Sometimes, they may also be aimed at discovering who the ultimate beneficial owner of a vessel is.
Please note that not all inspectors speak/read good English so due care should be paid to avoid miscommunication.
S.O.S. Yachting Srl uninominale
Società soggetta ad attività di direzione e coordinamento di S.O.S. Holding SRL OPERATIONAL OFFICE: Piazza Lorenzo Viani 11/A – 55049 Viareggio Italy

1.1 General
At the beginning of a tax inspection the tax inspectors must identify themselves by showing their badges and deliver a copy of the document justifying the audit called foglio di servizio duly signed by the head office’s Tax Administration or the Tax Police local Commander.
The tax inspectors act differently depending on whether they belong to the Tax Administration (Agenzia delle Entrate or, as the case may be, Agenzia delle Dogane, the Customs) or to the Tax Police (Guardia di Finanza).
Inspectors belonging to the Tax Administration are more approachable. Normally there will be two officers in plain clothes on the team. The Tax Police team, on the other hand, usually includes more than two people and are usually in uniform.
One person, normally the captain, should immediately identify himself as the person in charge of the audit and he/she is the only person who interacts with the other tax inspectors.
Should the tax inspectors not act as above, then the captain is entitled to:
 Ask the tax inspectors to identify themselves;
 be informed about the reasons for the tax inspection;
 ask to see, and for a copy of, the foglio di servizio.
Refusal to comply with the above constitutes an abuse and the captain must inform the yacht manager and/or tax adviser/fiscal representative immediately.
In any event, it is highly recommended that the captain calls the yacht’s manager/tax adviser/fiscal representative immediately in order to ensure the availability of a qualified professional in the early stage of the tax audit. Normally, it would not be necessary for the tax adviser to be physically present at the beginning of the tax inspection – keeping him/her briefed should be enough.
1.2 The start of the tax inspection
After having identified themselves and delivered the foglio di servizio, the tax inspectors must inform the captain about the purpose of the tax inspection (in particular, in relation to which taxes the inspection is being carried out) and the provisions contained in the Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights, such as the right to appoint a tax adviser in case of a tax inspection.
The captain must be provided with the full contacts and addresses of the Tax Administration or Tax Police offices, where the tax inspection information is held and be advised who is in charge of the proceedings.
From the start the captain and the crew must remain calm and courteous at all times. If for any reason the captain is temporarily absent, only one other person should be appointed to interact with the tax inspectors. No other member of the crew must provide information or documentation: if asked to do so by the tax inspectors, the crew should politely invite the inspectors to wait for the captain and try to contact the same immediately.
1.3 Behaviour the tax inspection
As a general rule, a cooperative attitude is the best way to handle a tax inspection. In any event, it is strongly recommended that the captain never, at any stage, leaves the tax inspectors alone on the yacht. Should the inspectors’ attitude become adversarial or intimidating, the captain should refrain from reciprocating and immediately call his tax adviser for instructions.
The captain must grant the tax inspectors access to data without delay (e.g. the register book – libretto di controllo – of the yacht, the invoices received in Italy and copy of the charter agreements). Any obvious hesitation or unjustified delay may be interpreted as an attempt to manipulate or hide something and should be avoided. Therefore, it is highly recommended that the captain comply with the requests made as soon as possible.
The libretto di controllo cannot be taken away by the tax inspectors. Other documents may be taken away if their content cannot be summarised in the minutes drafted by the tax inspectors. However, normally, there is no reason for the inspectors to take documentation away from the yacht unless violations are discovered.
In case the documentation required is not provided by the captain, the tax inspectors may search the yacht of their own accord.
However, the tax inspectors may not open bags, sealed envelopes or closed drawers or execute a body search without the authorization in writing from the public prosecutor.
Under Italian tax legislation, during a tax inspection the tax inspectors may not interview the captain, the crew or any other person. Questions may only be asked in writing and replies must be given in writing, not necessarily on the spot. However, neither the captain nor the crew shall answer any questions posed by the tax inspectors in writing or sign the minutes without consulting their tax adviser. The captain should be prudent but not cagey when providing verbal information since a reticent attitude could be counterproductive. In general, there should be no problem in providing verbal information that is included in the on board documentation. Any other information should not be provided verbally.
In addition, it is strongly recommended that under no circumstances should the captain and crew offer or render any spontaneous declarations or observations to the tax inspectors, unless this is counselled by the tax adviser and within the limits of the content agreed with him/her.
All the activities carried out by the tax inspectors and the list of the documents shown to them must be reported in the minutes of the tax inspectors.
If during a tax inspection carried out by the Tax Administration and the Tax Police a criminal violation is identified, the public prosecutor will be informed. Should this occur, any subsequent activity by the
persecution for the criminal violation is carried out under Italian criminal procedure legislation and it is led and coordinated by the public prosecutor.
1.4 Conclusion of the tax inspection
The captain must underwrite all the original copies of the minutes (normally drafted in 3 original copies) and ask for an original copy (together with the attachments, if any) duly signed by the tax inspectors.
2.1 General
Inspections for criminal violations are normally conducted by the Tax Police who shall inform the captain that the proceeding is governed by the criminal procedure legislation.
The proceeding is led and coordinated by a public prosecutor who has the power to order searches and seizures to: (i) seek and preserve evidence in the context of a criminal investigation; (ii) locate and freeze the profits of an alleged criminal offence, which may be subject to disgorgement in the event of a conviction; and (iii) prevent the reiteration of a criminal offence.
The public prosecutor normally delegates the execution of search warrants on yachts to the Tax Police. In order to access the yacht the Tax Police must serve the captain with a warrant issued by a prosecutor. The warrant must state:
 the name of the person who applied for it;
 the date on which it was issued;
 the enactment under which it is issued;
 identify, so far as is practicable, the articles sought;
 if authorising multiple entries, whether the number is limited or unlimited.
As this may occur in the context of an inspection initiated for tax purposes (the original scope of the inspection is identified in the document delivered to the captain at the beginning of the inspection), should the inspectors initiate activities which are not allowed in the case of inspection for tax purposes (opening bags, body searches, interviews, etc.), the captain must request the inspectors to inform him/her as to whether the scope of the inspection has changed and inform the tax adviser immediately.
In the above cases, the captain must immediately contact the yacht’s manager or a criminal lawyer in order to guarantee the presence of a professional consultant during the execution of the inspection.
2.2 Summary of powers (and limitations) during a search
During a search the public prosecutors and the Tax Police may:
 require the captain to produce documents (falling within the description contained in section 2 of the notice);
 require the captain to give an explanation of that document (e.g., what the document is, the meaning of words in the document);
 remove those documents (subject to the limits set out below) or take copies;
 search the yacht;
 question other individuals who may be informed about facts relating to the subject matter of the
 copy or remove material identifiable as communication with and advice rendered by, the defence
counsel of record in a criminal proceeding to the extent that the privileged nature of the material is unclear or it is mixed up with/stored with material which they are entitled to remove (e.g., privileged emails on back-up tapes/computer disks);
 levy a seizure of the yacht and/or other goods (e.g. fuel). They may not:
 ask for documents beyond the scope of the description in the warrant;
 unless specifically authorised following the issuance of a body search warrant, search personal
bags (such as purses). However, they are entitled to search documents in corporate briefcases and
corporate computer-bags;
 require access to electronic data stored in servers located outside the Republic of Italy such as, for
instance, emails and intranet web pages.
Data, documentation and information collected during these activities can be transmitted, with the authorization of the public prosecutor, to the relevant Tax Administration for their consideration.
2.3 Interviews by tax police in the context of a search under the criminal procedure
When dealing with a criminal procedure, the Tax Police has the power to identify and question individuals who may be informed of facts regarding the matter under the investigation. There are no restrictions on the nature of questions asked and these need not, therefore, be linked to the investigation in progress.
In this respect, please consider that:
 No specific formalities apply to witness interviews.
 Witnesses under Italian law do not have a right to be assisted by a legal counsel and Tax Police may
insist on interviewing them alone. However, in certain circumstances, Tax Police may be willing to
allow a third party to attend the interview, including external legal counsel.
 Witnesses may not refuse to answer questions. If they do so or if they make a false statement, the witness could be charged with perjury which carries a sentence of up to four years’ imprisonment.
 The transcripts of the interview must name all people who attended as well as the exact and duration of the interview; the transcripts must accurately report all statements made.
 The Interviewed Person will be requested to sign the document acknowledging that the transcript summary is accurate.
During the interview carried out by the Tax Police it is highly recommended that the witness follow the below guidelines:
 Note that the Tax Police are professionals and could already be well informed.
 Avoid attending the interview with notes or other documents: be aware that any document or
hardware, including personal notes, handheld devices, etc. can be, and most likely will be, seized
by the interviewing officers. Note down all questions asked and the replies given but no more.
 Before answering any question, take time to think. Do not be afraid of silences.
 Do not be afraid of asking for questions to be repeated, rephrased or clarified.
 Give simple, precise and complete answers, without giving any personal opinion or making
 Only answer questions that concern you. Avoid/refuse answering questions unconnected with the
 Do not attempt to respond if you do not know the answer. Do not worry about replying, “I don’t
 Do not speculate.
 If necessary, offer to answer later, after having consulted the relevant people or having checked
the documents/information.
 Stay concentrated and attentive, even if the examination becomes tense.
 Remain calm and courteous throughout.
 Read the transcripts carefully and take whatever time you need. If they are inaccurate, you should
demand they be amended. If the final version is inaccurate, you should refuse to sign the document and demand that the Tax Police add a footnote to the document explaining why you did not sign it.
 If during the interview, the Tax Police requests to see any documents, the witness should address this request to legal counsel and/or reserve his/her right to provide the relevant documents at a later stage.
Don’t hesitate to contact out Italian office at or +39 0584 36 57 134 if you require further information.
The SOS Yachting team wishes you a successful summer season!

S.O.S. Yachting Srl uninominale
Società soggetta ad attività di direzione e coordinamento di S.O.S. Holding SRL OPERATIONAL OFFICE: Piazza Lorenzo Viani 11/A – 55049 Viareggio Italy

MEMORANDUM_CGalli con intro di AlexMazzoni_170614