Newsletter - Tax offences: the new field for corporate criminal liability in Italy



2020 is going to be a decisive year for the inclusion of tax offences among the predicate offenses capable of triggering corporate liability, a matter which has been the subject of a controversial debate in Italy spanning the past decade. This move will increase the pressure on Italian and foreign companies acting in Italy, both in terms of sanctions risk and in terms of the need for preventive compliance programs.

In particular, on 1 October 2019, the Italian Chamber of Deputies definitively approved the European Delegation Law of 2018, instructing the government to introduce corporate criminal liability for a certain number of VAT offences following the Directive on the protection of the financial interests of the EU.

Most importantly, Law N. 157/2019, adopted on 19 December and entered into force on 25 December, introduces a wide range of tax crimes in the list of predicate offences capable of triggering the liability of entities under Italian law. Further significant amendments stem from the Legislative Decree, the draft version of which has been approved on 23 January 2020, implementing the Directive on the protection of the financial interests of the EU into the Italian legal system.

These legislative amendments deeply alter the Italian landscape in relation to corporate criminal liability and tax offences. Companies will be exposed to the risk of new, severe punishments and will need to adopt their compliances programs accordingly.


I. New predicate offences for corporate liability: the emerging role for tax crimes;
II. The previous attempts to introduce tax offences within the corporate criminal liability system; 
III. The European Delegation Law 2018 and the upcoming European Public Prosecutor’s Office: the VAT offences;
IV. Law N. 157/2019 and the new corporate criminal liability system for a wide range of tax offences;
V. The impact of the new legislation on companies in terms of compliance programs. 

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