Winter is coming and it will be a hard one for many households. Families will reportedly have less financial strength to manage the high energy bills.

Several charity organizations said energy debts went up this year. They also noted that many households are making unwise choices to keep energy bills down. This includes cooking on barbecue grills to cut down on gas consumption. This can become deadly in certain situations.

The average domestic energy bill is now expected to go down in October. It won’t make a difference since the amount remains steep by historical standards.

Part of the problem is the price cap set by energy regulator Ofgem. The cap impacts 29 million households in the UK. Families using the usual amount of electricity and gas will be paying £2,074. It will go down to £1,923 between October and December.

Gas prices are set to drop to 6.89p in the last three months of the year. The price of electricity is now estimated to fall to 27.35p per kWh. It’s quite a drop from the current 30.1p per kWh.

This means domestic power rates will be lower than the £2,500 a year. It was what citizens paid last year when the government limited further increases. Gas prices went up after Russia moved to invade Ukraine.

It’s different this year. UK households enjoyed a government-sponsored £400 discount last year. It came in six installments. But this generosity is over and done. Costs today are also higher than winter 2021 prices. The annual energy bill for that time was around £1,277.

Charities gave several warnings to the Energy and Net Zero Select Committee. They said vulnerable citizens would face many challenges. They also noted that winter this year would be worse. The snowball effect of the rising cost of living means life is harder now.

The End Fuel Poverty Coalition said the signs show citizens will be struggling more. People will also be experiencing these hard times in damp and cold homes. The National Energy Action said the government must come up with another package. They need to do this, regardless regardless if they want to or not.

Several of the UK’s biggest suppliers said they were helping their customers cope. They offer debt relief and credit on meters. They’re calling on the government to do something similar.

Households can also embrace some energy-saving measures to save money. One suggestion was to get a water-efficient shower head. Consumers can get them for free from their water company. Showering instead of a bath is also a good way to save money.

It’s also a good idea to consider insulation. Other practical suggestions include walking instead of diving. It’s also more affordable to hang out the washing. Most people don’t use a tumble dryer anyway.

When it comes to luxury homes, Dubai is still the place to beat.

According to Knight Frank, the price of Dubai luxury homes shot up by almost 50%. This is from the start of the year until June. The surge in price means the city still holds the top rank for eight consecutive quarters.

The property consultancy company reported that Dubai luxury home prices swelled by 225%. It’s a remarkable achievement after plummeting at the height of the pandemic in 2020.

Tokyo stands proud in second place. The popular Japanese city saw a 26.2% annual rise. Manila comes in third place, with a 19.9% increase.

Shanghai and Singapore also had a remarkable recovery. The two cities saw an increase of 6.7% and 4.2%.

The report took note of the flood of expatriates to Singapore. It had a large impact on the city-state’s rental market. It’s more robust compared to its sales market. The influx is reportedly due to a thriving professional and financial services sector.

The discrepancy between the rental and sales market could also be due to a tax levy. Foreigners buying residential property in the Lion City have to pay an extra 60% stamp duty. It’s double the previous rate of 30%. The increase has been effective since the end of April.

It’s a different scenario in Hong Kong. Luxury home prices dropped 1.5% this past year. It’s the offshoot of realty projects with large unsold inventory. The Hong Kong government has already taken steps to drum up interest and increase demand. It’s doing this by raising the mortgage loan-to-value ratio to 70%. This is for residential properties valued at 15 million Hong Kong dollars ($1.9 million) or less.

Analysts from Knight Frank said the move will become lauded by buyers. But they’re uncertain if the plan will provide a significant boost to the market.

Luxury housing demand also experienced slumps in New York and San Francisco. The Big Apple saw a drop of 3.9% while San Francisco’s rate plummeted 11.1%. Frankfurt in Germany suffered the most with a decline of 15.1%.

Liam Bailey of Knight Frank said the global housing markets continue to feel the heat. It’s the norm when there’s a shift to higher interest rates. But the Global Head of Research said he looks at the report as an affirmation. It’s proof that prices are now bolstered by a robust primary demand. It also highlighted a weak supply. This is not a surprise as the pandemic disrupted building projects.

Bailey added that the price adjustments in most markets will be less pronounced. This will come about as unpredictable inflation appears to be slowing down.

Cornwall residents are up in arms over a possible 5% council tax hike. It would be the second increase residents will face in two consecutive years.

The Cornwall Council has already given the go-signal for the increase. It’s included in the draft for the 2024/2025 budget.

If the move pushes through, it would be the second year the council voted to raise the tax. An approval would mean the council tax will go up by 4.99%. The group reportedly wants to save £29 million next year. It also plans to save around £45 million by the 2027/28 fiscal year.

The Local Democracy Reporting Service said it will mean an annual increase of around £89. This pertains to Band D householders.

The council emphasized that the budget is fair. But it also admitted they developed the plan in the midst of a difficult economy. They noted that they also had to contend with high inflation rates. There was also a growing demand for council services.

Councilor David Harris said the council tax rise wasn’t an easy decision to make. The deputy leader said they’re 100% aware of the effect the increase would have on Cornwall’s residents. Especially now that the country is experiencing a cost of living crisis.

Harris explained they’re putting a lot of effort into providing more financial help. This will become offered to residents in need via the Council Tax Support Scheme. He added that there will be other avenues people can use to access and get help.

The projected increase would result in a Band D property going up to £1,892.75. This is for the Cornwall Council aspect of the charge.

The conventional council is now looking at a £33 million estimated deficit by 2025/2026. That’s a 60% increase from the £20 million of 2021.

Harris is happy that the Cornwall Council was able to develop a balanced budget in a short period of time. He says this would allow for a close look and meaningful discussion of the plans. To that end, Harris is encouraging residents to speak up.

Harris said it’s vital for every resident to feel like they’re part of the process. He also assured them that their voices would become heard. Their views will receive careful consideration. But he said he can’t guarantee each idea will become accepted.

Residents can find all the information they need about the budget on Let’s Talk Cornwall. There’s also an online survey they can check. Residents can ask for a physical copy of the survey at their local information hub or library.

Meta Platforms rolled out its multimodal AI model SeamlessM4T on August 22. It’s a neural network that can reportedly process both audio and text. The company says it’s capable of translating and transcribing speech. It can do it in about a hundred languages.

If it lives up to the hype, then the SeamlessM4T stands as a vanguard. It would allow for real-time communication through various languages.

Facebook’s parent company explained that their AI model can perform text-to-speech translations. It can also do speech-to-text. It also supports speech-to-speech and text-to-text translations. It can do this in almost 100 languages. The SeamlessM4T model can reportedly do full speech-to-speech translations in 35 languages. This includes Western Persian, Urdu, and Modern Standard Arabic.

The tech company built upon previous innovations. It combined technology that was available as separate models. The No Language Left Behind model was one tech Meta used in creating Seamless. The other was the Universal Speech Translator.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he thinks of these tools as means to ease interactions. Especially between users in the metaverse. It’s a series of interconnected virtual worlds. Zuckerberg has already made this controversial platform a hill to die on. The SeamlessM4T could make communications easier. It won’t even matter if the users are from different parts of the world.

The blog post also mentioned that Meta will be making the model open to the public. But it will only be for non-commercial use.

The social media company has already rolled out a surge of AI models this year. Most of these are for free. The language model Llama is reportedly a serious threat to what Google and OpenAI offer.

Zuckerberg said an open AI ecosystem is beneficial to Meta. He explained that crowd-sourcing consumer-facing tools gives the company an advantage. It’s also more effective for Meta’s social platforms than charging users access to the models.

It’s not all smooth sailing though. Meta is facing some legal questions on the training data consumed to develop its models. The rest of the industry is also facing the same situation.

Popular comedian Sarah Silverman filed a lawsuit against Meta and OpenAI. Silverman and two other authors opened a copyright infringement case against these companies. They claimed their books were then used as training data without permission.

Meta researchers revealed in a research paper that they collated audio training data. They got this from 4 million hours of “raw audio.” These were from a repository of crawled web data that was available to the public. The data was then used for the SeamlessM4T model. The company didn’t mention what repository they used.

China and Saudi Arabia closed a dozen cooperation agreements in a recent forum. The deals the two countries signed are worth more than $1.33 billion. The agreements aim to strengthen partnerships in critical sectors like infrastructure. Areas like housing and financing are also included.

The Saudi-Chinese Business Forum happened on August 16 in Beijing. Minister of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing Majid Al-Hogail represented Riyadh. He also signed the agreements on behalf of his country.

The minister later said these developments underscored Saudi’s growing ties with China. He said this would open the door for shared progress and growth.

The partnership between the two will encourage advancements in several areas. This includes five agreements focused on developing real estate. It’s a sign of an auspicious move for the mutual growth of both parties.

Minister Al-Hogail emphasized Saudi’s commitment to improving its relationship with China. He even talked about what they’ve achieved so far. He mentioned the three dialogues they had with President Xi Jinping last December.

The rural affairs minister also clarified several items. One was the comprehensive strategic partnership accord between Saudi and China. He included an action plan focused on a housing sector collaboration.

Al-Hogail highlighted the remarkable investment opportunities Saudi can provide. He mentioned the ongoing development of more than 300,000 housing units in 17 cities. This covers an area of 150 million square meters. It’s also valued at SR100 billion or $26.66 billion.

Al-Hogail also said that his department is collaborating with some Chinese companies. They’re working on housing development projects. These have an accumulated value of SR3 billion.

The forum also took stock of investment opportunities the two sides can enjoy. These can also bolster cooperation in housing and urban infrastructure. It can also enhance financing and real estate development.

China and the Kingdom have already closed 35 investment deals in December 2022. These agreements are reportedly worth around $30 billion. A Belt and Road Initiative report stated Saudi Arabia is one of China’s key trading partners.

The reverse holds. China is reportedly Saudi Arabia’s largest trading partner as well. Reuters reported that bilateral trade between the two reached $87.3 billion in 2021. China’s exports to the country hit $30.3 billion. Meanwhile, its imports totaled $57 billion.

The Asian powerhouse exported electronics, machinery, and textiles to the Kingdom. It imported primary plastics and crude oil. China imported 1.77 million barrels a day from January to October 2022. These were then valued at $55.5 billion.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have parted ways with Spotify. The two royals had a deal to produce content for the music and video service. But the two parties appear to have ended their agreement.

The Sussexes and Spotify issued a joint statement. They announced there was a mutual agreement to part ways.

This was later confirmed by Spotify. The streaming giant said it was not renewing Archetypes, Markle’s podcast. The series’ first season ran 12 episodes from August 2022.

The Spotify contract was reportedly worth $25 million (£18 million) in 2020. It was one of the more important commercial deals the couple agreed to. They did this after leaving their royal duties and moving to the US in 2020.

The project was later revealed in the latter half of 2020. At the time, Prince Harry described it as something bringing forward different perspectives. He said people will hear from those that they might not have heard before.

Breaking Ground in Discussions on Women

Markle’s Archetypes podcast saw her engaging with various high-profile women. She talked to powerhouses like Serena Williams and Mariah Carey. All her guests discussed the different stereotypes women face.

Markle said she loved digging her hands into the creative process. She added that she enjoyed working on the writing and creative aspect of the podcast. Even if it means a lot of late nights.

She called her work on the podcast a labor of love. She said she enjoyed diving deeper into meaningful discussions with her inspiring guests. She also learned with them.

Her work paid off as Archetypes won the top podcast award. She received it later at the People’s Choice Award in Los Angeles last December.

The first episode of Archetypes was then released in August 2022. The podcast claimed it investigates the labels that hold back women. It also aims to find out how these stereotypes began. Markle also described her podcast as “uncensored conversations.” She will talk with women who have first-hand experience with stereotypes. These women know how stereotypes can shape an individual’s narrative.

Markle’s first guest was her old friend and tennis legend, Serena Williams. The two women talked about motherhood, perseverance, and ambition.

Markle admitted to Williams the word ambitious never had a negative connotation. But that all changed when she became involved with Prince Harry. After that, she saw that some people looked at ambition in a woman as a terrible thing. The erstwhile actress also admitted that it was hard to unsee and un-feel that type of negativity. She said she now notices it in the countless females who make themselves smaller on a regular basis.

The first few episodes were well-received. It catapulted Markle’s podcast to Spotify’s elite. It was among the most popular podcasts in the US, the UK, and Canada. It also did very well in Australia, Ireland, and New Zealand when it was then launched in these countries.

The deal with Spotify might have ended but there’s still hope for Archetypes. A spokesperson for Archewell revealed the Duchess was still developing content. But it appears it will be on a different platform.

Where Did It Go Wrong?

The podcast deal was first advertised as a fruitful relationship. It should’ve produced several series. It’s disappointing that it only lasted for one season.

There were reports suggesting the dust-up was due to the Sussexes. The couple reportedly failed to meet Spotify’s productivity benchmark. The podcast only has 12 episodes in the period it was on the air. The content was all produced by the royal couple’s Archewell Audio. But they weren’t enough to get the entire $20 million payout.

One source agreed that Archetypes did well. Producing only one series for that duration wasn’t good though. They gave as an example President Barack and Michelle Obama’s output. Their production firm Higher Ground was able to develop several new series.

News also surfaced that Markle faked some of the podcast interviews. Various sources stated some of the interviews were reportedly done by different people. Markle’s questions were then added later.

Writer Allison Yarrow’s Instagram post was one such example. She announced she was going to be on the podcast. But she thanked producer Farah Saffari for interviewing her. There were guests who denied claims that Markle had other people doing her job. TV host and writer Andy Cohen said the accusations were insane. He also said that he spoke with Markle during their podcast conversation.

Despite the issues and the end of their Spotify run, Archewell only had positive things to say. In a statement, the firm said the team behind Archetypes remains proud of their creation. It also assured audiences that Markle will continue to develop content for Archetypes.

The royal couple has been leveraging their fame since they stepped back from their royal duties. It’s their preferred method of financial independence.

Their strategy has seen Prince Harry signing a contract with Penguin Books. The publisher has already produced and released his autobiography “Spare.” It also netted them a $100 million deal with Netflix.

The drama with Spotify has left many people wondering how it will affect their deal with Netflix. But it seems like nothing has changed as far as the streaming giant’s concerned.

Netflix stated that they value their partnership with Archewell Productions. The company said the documentary “Harry & Meghan” was their biggest documentary debut ever. They also have several ongoing projects with the couple. This includes the documentary “Heart of Invictus.”

Amazon has now gotten the go-signal to buy iRobot. The e-commerce company had plans to buy iRobot. But it stalled when the Competition and Markets Authority called for a review.

The government’s competition watchdog checked into the planned takeover. It might give Amazon an unfair advantage over other competitors. But the CMA has now declared that the merger could take place.

According to the agency, iRobot has a modest market in the United Kingdom. It has also faced off against other competitors. It then concluded that the robot vacuum cleaner niche is a small one. There’s a slim chance it will grow much in the future.

The Argument Against the Merger

The CMA was right to voice its concerns. The agency narrowed its misgivings into three areas. The first was whether the company could enter as a competitor. Particularly for the supply of robot vacuum cleaners. The CMA had to consider if they can still do so if the merger doesn’t push through. They also considered if this loss of a prospective competitor will have a big impact.

The CMA also had to look into how Amazon could use its online store to put iRobot’s competitors at a disadvantage. The final issue was whether the Roomba can become a vital input for the smart home platforms. After all, Amazon might eke out an unfair edge over its smart home rivals after the proposed merger.

After weighing all the issues, the CMA has concluded the deal with iRobot should push through. The watchdog declared it wouldn’t result in competition concerns in Britain.

The CMA noted that iRobot’s market position is quite modest. It already went up against key competitors and the Amazon deal won’t have a big impact on market outcomes. The Markets Authority noted that Amazon can use its standing as a top retailer to its advantage. But there’s no incentive to do so and hobble competing robotic vacuum cleaner makers. The market for this type of device is quite low in the UK.

The small niche also means getting iRobot won’t place Amazon’s smart home platform at a disadvantage. It’s because these cleaning devices and the data they collate aren’t vital to the country’s smart home market

Deal Pushes Through

The £1.4 billion ($1.7 billion) deal with iRobot will help Amazon grow its market for smart home appliances.

iRobot is an American tech company. It’s known for designing and building consumer robots. One of its most notable creations is the Roomba robot vacuum. These smart vacuums retail for about £249. Some of the better models can cost as much as £899.

Amazon’s deal with iRobot is reportedly valued at around $1.7 billion. Jeff Bezos’ company will buy the tech firm for $61 per share. It will reportedly be an all-cash transaction.

Dave Limp of Amazon Devices acknowledged that people love iRobot products. He said that he’s excited to work together with the iRobot team. He added that they’ll be inventing ways to make consumers’ lives more enjoyable.

There are still questions about how the robot company will become folded into Amazon. But the multinational firm plans to keep Colin Angle on as iRobot CEO.

iRobot has been around since 1990. The company was then founded by three members of the Artificial Intelligence Lab of MIT. But the robot vacuums were only launched in 2002. It has sold millions since then. And its most popular robot vacuum is the Roomba.

The company launched its newest iRobot OS earlier this year. It’s an AI-powered platform dedicated to robot mops and vacuums. This latest OS is reportedly designed to differentiate Roomba products from its competitors. It’s done via extra software features and capabilities. It’s considered a necessary change. The smart cleaning space is becoming more competitive.

Amazon hasn’t been very forthcoming about its plans for iRobot. Despite the lack of details, experts can tell where the wind is blowing. The company’s efforts with regard to other smart home products hint at what market they’re focusing on.

Amazon introduced its Astro smart home robot in 2022. The $999 device is reportedly an interesting mix between a Roomba and the Echo Show. The latter is a smart speaker display.

The Astro smart home robot is now touted as a new kind of household robot. Amazon described it as a robot for home monitoring. It integrates advanced hardware and software. It has computer vision and the power of AI. You add Alexa to the mix and you have a compelling case for a smart home robot.

The long-awaited smart home assistant robot can reportedly map out floor plans. It can also recognize faces and can listen to commands to move to another room. It can also play music and answer questions like Alexa. It can also show you information like sports scores and the weather.

The latest OS launched by iRobot might not be compatible with a device that’s like an Alexa on wheels. But it’s still an ambitious move. The company’s goal is to have a better understanding of a home through the robot’s smart features. They can then extend it to other aspects of the smart home.

There are concerns about the amount of data Amazon has. The company does have a lot of smart home products on the market. It has Alexa and the Ring doorbells. It will soon be adding the Roomba to the list. It won’t be long before privacy concerns are again raised. Many will also be wary of Amazon’s seeming control over the smart home sector.

The COVID pandemic is now more manageable. Because of this, many countries have lifted their travel restrictions. It’s not surprising that tourists from different parts of the world have booked flights. Hotel reservations are also through the roof.

A UNWTO report showed that tourism has started to bounce back. Around 474 million international tourists traveled from January to July 2022. That was a major increase from the 175 million who traveled during the same months in 2021. There were about 207 million international arrivals recorded in June and July 2022. Those numbers were more than twice seen in the same two months of the previous year.

The report also revealed that 309 million of those tourists visited Europe. The Middle East also received its fair share of tourists. Saudi Arabia led the tourist charge. More than 18 million tourists visited the Kingdom from January to September 2022.

Another popular country on travelers’ radars is the United Arab Emirates. Countless tourists are so excited to visit the country. They want to experience its amazing sights and breathtaking travel spots.

Visitors need a visa to travel to the UAE. People living in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) can apply for an entry permit online. They can do so via the country’s General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

The GDRFA said on social media that the service allows for easy and hassle-free entry to the UAE. The department will issue the entry permit in advance to those who live in GCC countries. This post will discuss everything residents need to know to apply for an entry permit online.

Conditions GCC Residents Must Pass

GDRFA declared they must make sure GCC residents meet the following conditions. Especially when applying for the online service.

  • They must have a legal residence permit from a GCC country. The permit should be valid for at least one year.
  • The resident must not have any existing restrictions. Especially ones that prevent them from entering the country.
  • The traveler’s residency or work card must also show their profession.

Required Documents for GCC Residents

  • The resident must have their original passport.
  • The resident must present their original residence permit. This should be from a GCC country. They must show this upon arrival.
  • The resident must present a labor or civil card.

Steps to Applying for an Entry Permit

Check out the online service “Entry Permit for Residents in GCC Countries.” It’s available at They should then click on “Start Service.”

New applicants will have to create an online account. Previous visitors will have to log in. Click on the tab marked “Individuals.” A username and password are also needed for existing GDRFA accounts. Individuals with a UAE Pass can use that to log in to the GDRFA portal. The UAE pass is available to non-residents of the country.

Individuals who don’t have a GDRFA or UAE Pass account must register. They should click on the corresponding tab. Next, they must select the option to register by email. They will become asked to provide or do the following:

  • Create their user name
  • Enter their first and last name
  • Enter their email address
  • Enter their Date of Birth
  • Set a password and confirm it.

The applicant will have to request an OTP. They will also need to check the box indicating they’re not a robot. They should then accept the terms and conditions. The last step is to click on “Register.”

The resident will then fill in a form. They will have to input personal details.

The resident will have to upload the specific documents mentioned above.

The applicant will have to pay the fee. This can be done using a credit card or debit card.

The last step is to submit the application.

Fee Payment

Applicants will pay Dh250. A 5% Value Added Tax is also included in the payment. The GDRFA stated that approved entry permit applications are often sent fast. This often happens within 48 hours.

Extra Notes for GCC Residents

  • The eVisa is always emailed to the resident’s registered email address. This becomes done once the application’s approved.
  • GCC expatriate residents must have their sponsors with them. The same rule applies to companions traveling with citizens from GCC countries. Application for entry permits is always denied if their sponsors are not with them.
  • Entry permits for GCC residents are only valid for 30 days. This starts from the date of issue. They are then permitted to stay for 30 days from their entry date. They can extend their visa for 30 more days
  • UAE Entry permit for companions traveling with GCC citizens is valid for 60 days. This starts from the date it was then issued. They are also permitted to stay for 60 days from their date of entry. Their visa can be extended for 60 days.
  • Travelers with canceled or expired GCC residence visas cannot enter.
  • A GCC resident can become barred from entering due to their employment. This can happen if they have a different profession on their card. There are cases when a resident changed employers after getting an entry permit. They will need to apply for a new one before they’re allowed entry to the UAE.
  • The visitor’s GCC residency card must be valid for at least 3 months from the date of arrival.
  • The GCC resident must have a valid passport. It should also be valid for at least 3 months from the date of arrival.

Italy has been amending its Law Decree No. 34 on a regular basis since the start of the pandemic. It made some revisions again to Decree No. 34 on March 30, 2023.

The “Decree” was amended. This is to ensure that families and businesses receive much-needed support. The increase in gas and power prices has affected households and companies. The new tax measures included in Decree No. 34 include deadline extensions. The extensions are for different settlement procedures for tax litigation. These pending legal cases were all introduced in Law No. 197 of December 29, 2022. It’s also known as the “Italian Budget Law of 2023.”

The Decree states that it’s providing new policies. This includes an extension to the deadlines for different settlement processes. The deadlines are also earmarked for unsettled tax litigation. It was then launched by the Italian Budget Law.

The extended deadlines cover a wide array of settlement processes. These include cases like:

  • Judicial Conciliation

  • Settlements of Formal Violations

  • Settlements of Pending Tax Disputes

  • Settlements of Tax Assessment Notices

  • Settlements of Tax Disputes Before the Supreme Court.

  • Special Voluntary Settlements

  • Amendments to Judicial Conciliation

Italian taxpayers can settle tax disputes that are pending before the courts. They can do so by coming to an agreement. This benefits from the application of penalties down to 1/18 of the smallest penalty. The deadline for establishing an agreement with the IRA is September 30, 2023. The previous deadline was June 30, 2023.

Amendments to Settlements of Formal Violations

Taxpayers may also correct formal violations done before October 31, 2022. This refers to offenses that don’t impact the determination of the tax basis and payments. Taxpayers can correct the violations by paying €200. This is for every fiscal year relevant to the case. They can do this in a single installment by October 31, 2023. The previous deadline was March 31, 2023). They also have the option to do it in two installments. They can pay by October 31, 2023, and on March 31, 2024.

Decree No. 34 was already entered into force on March 31, 2023.

Amendments to Settlements of Pending Tax Disputes

The country’s taxpayers can also resolve their pending tax disputes. They can do this before the courts of the first and second instances on February 15, 2023. The previous deadline fell on the 1st of January this year. They can then push through with a judicial settlement by September 30, 2023. The previous deadline was June 30, 2023. They can enjoy the lowering of penalties to 1/18th of the smallest charge.

Taxpayers can also settle tax disputes pending before the Supreme Court. This was for January 1, 2023. They can do so by coming to an accord with the Italian Revenue Agency by September 30, 2023. The previous deadline was June 30, 2023). They can have the penalties lowered to 1/18th of the smallest penalty.

Italy’s parliament must also bring the Decree into law within 60 days from the date it was then published. They can do this with all the prospective amendments.

Amendments to Settlements of Tax Assessment Notices

Italy’s taxpayers can resolve assessment notices with penalties lowered to 1/18. There are two conditions they have to meet for them to qualify for this procedure. First, the assessment or recovery notices must become challenging on January 1, 2023. Second, it should be served by March 31, 2023.

Decree No. 34 extended this procedure to also cover tax credit recovery notices. These are notices finalized between January 2, 2023, and February 15, 2023.

Amendments to Settlements of Tax Disputes Before the Supreme Court

Italy’s taxpayers can also work out pending tax disputes before the Supreme Court on January 1, 2023. They can do this by coming to an arrangement with the country’s Revenue Agency. This should happen by September 30, 2023. The previous deadline was set on June 30, 2023. Taxpayers can take advantage of the application of penalties. These are now lowered to 1/18th of the smallest penalty.

Amendments to Special Voluntary Settlements

It’s possible for Italy’s taxpayers to now correct the tax returns already filed. This includes individual income tax returns and corporate income tax returns. It also covers local income tax returns and value-added tax returns. Taxpayers can do this by paying the extra tax, interest, and penalties. These were already lowered to 1/18 of the smallest penalty in a single installment. They should pay by September 30, 2023. The previous deadline was set for March 31, 2023. They can also make eight installments at most. Payments are also done by quarter. It can start from September 30, 2023. The previous deadline was set for March 31, 2023.

The Law Decree No. 34 was already published on March 30, 2023. It appeared in the Official Gazette No. 76. The Decree was also entered into force on March 31, 2023. There’s a condition that the Decree must become brought into law by the Italian parliament. This must be all done with the possible amendments within 60 days from the date of publication.

The final form of Italy’s Law Decree No. 34 was also approved by the Senate on May 25, 2023. Decree 34/2023 had a provision for a 52% discount on specific payback amounts. The paybacks were reportedly requested by the Regions and Autonomous Provinces. It’s for the medical device companies that haven’t begun litigation on the matter. It also covers companies that have waived any current litigation.

Like many countries, Italy is trying to get people to move to some of their picturesque towns. New residents mean more money spent on the area. This can help revive and repopulate many of the country’s dying towns.

Italy seems to be on the right track, at least when it comes to attracting millionaires. The country put in place a little-known incentive back in 2017. It’s one that had bearing only on the mega-rich.

Italy’s incentive offered individuals tax breaks on income they’ve made overseas. But they would have to pay a fee of €100,000 every year. They can also extend this privilege to other family members. This is in exchange for an annual payment of €25,000 per person.

The policy was reportedly developed to help improve big spending in the country. It didn’t matter if the money’s spent on luxury brands or property. The important thing was for the country to generate more revenue. It worked quite well. The incentive drew in 98 people in 2017. The numbers jumped to 549 in 2020. The country attracted more than double that in 2021 when 1,339 wealthy patrons arrived.

The arrival of these millionaires did reinvigorate the market for luxury homes. These buyers don’t think twice about putting down €10 million for good property. Their interest also encouraged the repair and renovation of historic landmarks. Most of these are in city centers and are victims of long neglect.

A prime example is the Palazzo Raggi. It’s an 18th-century building in the neoclassical style. This jewel of architecture is very near the Spanish Steps of Rome. It was once the abode of the Raggi family. It was also called home by a host of Italian nobles and cardinals.

The six-story building was in ruins for many years. But it has since been rebuilt and transformed into 29 luxury residences. The opulent structure will soon be home to foreign billionaires. These are moguls who’ve eschewed countries like Switzerland or the Cayman Islands. These individuals and their families are moving to Italy to live the good life. Living la dolce vita is only one reason. They’re staying for the financial advantage of Italy’s tax regime.

Realtor Diletta Giorgolo said residences for the Palazzo Raggi sold fast. It was something her company never experienced before. She said 19 of the Palazzo’s 29 opulent apartments are already sold.

It’s been a hectic few years for Giorgolo. Millionaires only started looking into Italy as a serious safe haven of sorts in 2019. Many of them had non-domicile status in the UK. It means they’re exempted from paying tax on revenue earned overseas. Their arrival in Italy was due to Brexit at first. But the pandemic left many reevaluating their lifestyle.

Giorgolo said Italy’s tax exemptions for the rich were the best thing to happen to the top realty market. The realtor has sold mansions worth millions to Chinese buyers and French nationals. She has sold properties all over the country, from Capri to Venice and Milan.

Tax lawyer Marco Cerrato has secured several billionaires as clients. These new Italian residents have tapped him to handle their financial affairs. Cerrato acknowledged that foreign nationals are leading this particular charge.

These nationals had non-domicile status in the UK before. But Brexit has made London feel less welcoming. He said these people are also afraid of a Labour Party win. He said the party winning in the next election might result in their losing their tax incentives.

There’s also a contingent of super-rich from Switzerland. They opted to change their residency to Italy. The former also has a good tax regime but the cost of living is cheaper in the latter. Italy also has a warmer climate and a beautiful environment. There are also many millionaires coming from South America or Asia.

They’re also a mixed bag of individuals. Italy’s new wealthy residents range from investment bankers to asset managers. There are also entrepreneurs and tech people. Many generate their income via trusts or dividends.

Cerrato said the flat-tax regime targeted those who had passive income. That was the initial plan. But the regime then started drawing in those who are working but found the system appealing. They also don’t mind paying taxes on income made in the country.

The tax initiative netted Italy €108 million in 2021. Many luxury brands are also making more investments in places where millionaires live. Most of the uber-rich have homes in Florence, Milan, and Rome. Liguria, Lombardy, and Tuscany are also popular areas. So is the south of Italy.

Giorgolo said that many wealthy buyers love Noto. The area is in Sicily and lies south of Catania. She said there are good flight connections in Catania. It has made the area more interesting and easier to get to. She added that many of the well-to-do prefer to live in beautiful regions, like Sicily. Although some live in the city because they need to.

Palazzo Raggi’s showroom is always busy. The properties for sale have been attracting prospective buyers every day. Work on the building is now expected to wrap up in 2024. Interested buyers only see what the building will look like through brochures. The realtor also provides promo videos. These seem to be convincing enough. The videos do a good job highlighting terraces showing Rome’s amazing views. Meanwhile, the photos document the building’s restoration at different stages.