New Italian Tax System: Police State Tactics?
2013-01-22 0:00

By Alan Johnston | BBCNews

The Italian authorities have been accused of resorting to police state-style tactics with the introduction of a new weapon to hunt down the nation’s many tax dodgers.

The new procedure makes it possible to scrutinise any family’s spending pattern, and compare this with what it says it earns.

Tax evasion in Italy has been a chronic problem for generations.

The authorities say the equivalent of nearly 120bn euros (Ł100bn, $160bn) worth of revenue is lost every year.


If you fail the Redditometro, you may get a visit from these guys, the Italian tax police.


And the nation’s army of tax inspectors desperately needs more firepower.

But some commentators have been outraged by this month’s launch of what is called the Redditometro - the Income Meter.

It has been described as unacceptably intrusive, the sort of thing that East Germany’s secret police might have dreamt up.

How it will work

The Italian tax inspectors have always had a lot of useful information to help verify income tax returns.

They have had data relating to major items of expenditure, like home and car ownership, and so on.

But the Redditometro will now help the authorities get a better fix on people’s likely spending habits in many other areas of daily life.

First, the system has divided the entire population into 11 classic, household types; couples, singles, families with children, etc.

Then it has built up very detailed models that show how each category is likely to spend its income.

The average probable outlay across 100 different areas of expenditure has been examined; food, drink, clothing, leisure pursuits, etc.

Then these predictions have been further refined by taking into account regional variations.

So the tax authorities believe that they will have a very good idea what sum, for example, the average family of four in southern Italy will be required to spend to get by.

Then, if such a family’s tax return suggests its income is substantially lower than that sum the authorities might get suspicious.

The family will have fallen outside its expected spending pattern model, and an investigation might be triggered.

The family might be asked, "How could you have so little income, and yet be spending the kind of money that we know a family like yours, in your part of Italy, must be spending every day?"

The family may then have to explain more about where its money is coming from, and how exactly it is being spent.

Porn magazine

The newspapers have been full of talk of how you might actually find yourself discussing your breakfast and lunch arrangements with the tax collectors.

And in the view of the Corriere della Sera newspaper columnist, Piero Ostellino, this is all too much.

"This is not fighting tax evasion, this is investigating how you live, what you buy, what you wear," he said.

"I’m against the Redditometro not because I’m in favour of evading taxes. I don’t think tax collection should be done by trampling on individual liberties."

Mr Ostellino argued that how he or any other Italian chose to spend their money was not the state’s business.

"I would like to live in a country where a cardinal can every month buy a pornographic magazine without having to explain this to the tax authorities!" he said.

"This is like the former East Germany!"



[...]


Read the full article at: bbc.co.uk





Related Articles
Your Taxes Are About To Go Up, But So Is Congress & Federal Workers’ Pay
Spiegel: Wealthy Greeks Still Don’t Pay Taxes
No tax, no blessing: German church insists on levy
Your Tax Dollars Are Being Fired Out the Barrels of Guns
French actor Depardieu likely to get Russian passport (and who can blame him!?)
italians protest as redditometro unveiled


Latest News from our Front Page

Aurora Shooting Victim Parents Face $200K Court Fees, Bankruptcy, After Failing to Sue Ammo Dealers
2015-08-01 2:17
The 2012 Colorado Theater Shooting still doesn’t add up… Media character and ‘Shooter’ James Holmes in court in 2012-2013. In 2014, Sandy and Lonnie Phillips, the mother and stepfather of Aurora Theater Shooting victim Jessica Redfield Ghawi, tried to sue the ammo companies they believe supplied shooter James Holmes with his ammunition, body armor and other items. They bleived that the online retailer BulkAmmo.com had sold Holmes ...
FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force Investigating Confederate Flags at MLK's Ebenezer Baptist Church
2015-08-01 2:21
According to the Atlanta Police Department, two White men left four small Confederate Battle Flags outside MLK’s Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta … and get this, the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is on the scene investigating the incident. Atlanta police Chief George Turner said his agency was working with federal authorities and they have not determined what charges might be ...
Democratic National Committee Chair Wasserman Schultz Can’t Explain Difference Between Democrat Party and Socialism
2015-08-01 2:08
Things got very awkward today when Chris Matthews asked DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz what the difference was between the modern Democratic Party and Socialism. We haven’t seen that dazed look since Rachel Dolezal was busted as a fraud. Wasserman Schultz was speechless. Completely stumped. Couldn’t answer. Then changed the subject. Because we all know there is no difference between today’s Democrat Party and the radical ...
Catching on slow: Yet Another Study Show Cellphone Radiation Cause Cancer
2015-08-01 1:44
The scientists were right — your cell phone can give you cancer. There have long been whispers of a cancer connection from your cell — and a new study backs up the claims. "These data are a clear sign of the real risks this kind of radiation poses for human health," study author Igor Yakymenko said. Yakymenko’s meta-study — basically a study of ...
Trump Goes #Cuckservative on Immigration
2015-08-01 1:28
For weeks, the media have trumpeted the supposed death of the Trump campaign. First, they claimed, Trump’s campaign imploded on launch thanks to his comments about illegal immigration. Then they claimed that Trump was finished because of his slap at Senator’s (R-AZ) war service. But neither of those comments alienated Trump’s base – he’s maintained his seven point lead over ...
More News »