CORRECTED-Italy may hike tax on capital gains from government bonds

Mon Feb 24, 2014 4:29am EST

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(Corrects day of bond auction)

MILAN Feb 24 (Reuters) - Italy may raise taxes on gains from investing in financial instruments including government bills, new Prime Minister Matteo Renzi's chief of staff Graziano Delrio said in a television interview on Sunday.

"We will consider whether we should rework the taxes on capital gains from financial investments, which at the moment are not in line with the European average of 25 percent," Delrio told the Italian television programme 'In Mezz'Ora'.

Delrio also raised the prospect of increasing the tax on shorter-dated government debt such as BOTs.

Gains on Italian government bonds and bills - popular with Italian savers and foreign financial investors - are currently taxed at 12.5 percent. Capital gains on other financial instruments are taxed at 20 percent.

Italian newspaper La Stampa said on Monday that the government was looking to increase the tax levied on capital gains from government bonds to 20 percent.

Another option was to increase to 22-23 percent the tax rate on capital gains from all financial instruments, with some exceptions for investments by pension funds, the paper also said.

Italy will hold a debt auction on Tuesday, which may prove a first test of investor sentiment towards a potential capital gains tax hike. (Reporting by Lisa Jucca; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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