In a memorable scene from his film April (1998), the Italian actor and director Nanni Moretti takes to task, from his sofa, the main leader of the Italian left at the time, Massimo d’Alema, as he takes part in a televised debate. “Say something left! “, he yells in the direction of the post, while on screen the leader of the right, Silvio Berlusconi, quietly unfolds a long indictment against the magistrates.
The scene hits the mark, because it sums up, with a remarkable economy of means, the dismay and apathy of the Italian left, in all areas, in the face of the effectiveness of the Berlusconian message. In fact, due to the ideological domination of Berlusconism and the budgetary constraints weighing on the country, the Italian center-left has had the greatest difficulty, over the past two decades, in formulating proposals in the economic and social field.
It is on this ground that the former president of the council (2013-2014) and new secretary of the Italian Democratic Party (PD), Enrico Letta, returned to Rome in March 2021, after six years at the head of the School of International Affairs of Sciences Po Paris, wanted to return, on May 20, by awakening a debate buried for ages – the taxation of inheritance – placed on the ground of justice between generations. The proposal, which has provoked intense debate in Italy in recent days, is the culmination of his latest work, Core and Screwdriver (literally “the soul and the screwdriver”, Solferino editions, untranslated), released in bookstores on May 27.
Maintain the exemption up to million euros
Abolished in 2001 by the Berlusconi government – the then president of the council was also the country’s first fortune – and reinstated in a much watered down form by the government of Romano Prodi (center left) in 2006, inheritance taxes are particularly low in the Peninsula. At present, a direct heir does not pay anything below one million euros and must pay (excluding exemptions, especially for company shares) a tax of 4% above this figure .
For heirs without a close family tie (beyond the fourth degree), the addition rises to 8% of the total. In other words, the taxation of inheritance is almost zero. In 2020, it brought 429 million euros into the state coffers (against fifteen billion euros per year in France), and this point is the subject of a fairly strong consensus in society. Italian.
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