Ferrari owning Italians are subject to tax audit

Italy is known for many things from wine, to food, to hundreds and hundreds of years of human history. The country is also well known in automotive circles as home to some of the most exotic automakers on the planet. Ferrari, Maserati, and Lamborghini all call Italy home as do several other automakers.

Owning a Ferrari is becoming more difficult in Italy as the government looks to crack down on tax evaders and boost its bottom line during the current period of economic turmoil. The crackdown on luxury goods by the Italian government has led to a record number of second hand high-performance sports cars being exported from Italy. In 2011, 4,923 exotic sports cars were exported from Italy and in the first five months of 2012 alone, 13,633 high-performance cars were exported from Italy.

The massive growth in exports of high-performance sports cars reflects the weaker overall demand for the vehicles within Italy. Sales for these super luxury cars are expected decline 47% in 2011 compared to 2008 numbers. Sales won't return to previous levels before 2016 according to IHS Automotive. One significant reason why Italians are selling and exporting more exotic sports cars is that owning a vehicle such as a Ferrari makes them a target to the country's tax auditors. That is in addition to increased ownership levies for purchasing these exotic vehicles.

Owners of exotic supercars such as Ferrari and Maserati models are being scrutinized by the Italian government in an effort to find tax evaders. Italian authorities have conducted raids in wealthy areas of the country and have stopped supercar owners to check whether or not the owner declared enough income to own the vehicle. Financial auditors for the government have been coming to Ferrari owner's club events and checking every person at the event for tax evasion.

"Many Ferrari owners want to get rid of their supercars after the financial police came to one of our events near Rome and checked every driver," said Fabio Barone, who heads the Ferrari owners' club Passione Rossa.

[via Bloomberg]