The Italian Legislative Decree n. 156/2022 amended article 301 of the TULD (Italian Consolidated Text of Custom Laws), allowing the possibility of equivalent value confiscation for the offence of smuggling when it is not possible to proceed with the direct confiscation of the product or the profit of the crime.
The introduction of confiscation by equivalent has a remarkable impact on customs criminal law, since, according to art. 240 of the Italian Criminal Code, from now on not only the smuggled good itself may be subject to such sanction, but also any equivalent sum of money, goods and/or any other asset at the disposal of the offender.
Smuggling is considered as a crime according to article 282 and subsequent of the TULD, that punishes anyone who behaves in a way intended to evade custom duties, to be considered as all those duties which the customs are obliged to collect by virtue of a law, in connection with customs operations (VAT included).
The sanction provided for smuggling is proportional to the border duties unpaid. The fine’s amount is between two and ten times the border duties due. According to article 295 of the TULD, the sanction is higher when there are special circumstances. Indeed, in addition to the payment it is provided imprisonment for up to three years when the amount of border duties due is between Euro 50.000 and 100.000.
In order to be criminally responsible the offender has to have fraudulent intentions in mind. When there is not the intention to fraud the custom system, then the only applicable sanction is the administrative one, that consists just in the payment of a fine (art. 303 TULD).
PG Legal remains at the disposal of the clients to verify the custom status of yachts prior to the purchase or prior to their arrival in Italian waters, in order to avoid the risk of prosecution for smuggling and the consequent sanctions described above.
You can regularize the custom status of the yacht paying VAT and custom duties plus a sanction for the late submission of the declaration (from 258,00 euros to 2582,00 euros). According to art.13 Legislative Decree n. 472/1997, the sanction can be reduced by up to 1/9 of the minimum amount provided for, in case the payment is done before the issuance of a tax assessment by the Italian Tax Authorities.
PG Legal remains at the client’s disposal for assistance in regularizing the customs status of the yachts.