New Italian Tax System: Police State Tactics?
2013 01 22
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 (£100bn, $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.
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
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
Pentagon studying Putin’s body language to predict his behavior
2014 03 07
The Pentagon has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in recent years so that researchers can study the body movements of foreign leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin, in hopes of predicting future behavior.
An article published by USA Today reporter Ray Locker on Thursday and corroborated by documents discovered by RT provides rare insight into a scarcely-discussed military effort that ...
Pentagon Claims That Climate Change ‘Enables Terrorism’
2014 03 07
In it’s latest Quadrennial Defense Review the Pentagon has said that climate change and ’erratic’ climate will cause increased terrorist activity.
The four yearly reports highlight threats that face civilization and this years homed in on climate change causing an increase in terrorism.
It also mentioned that rises in sea levels and other issues associated with a warming planet will lead ...
Scientists Control Tiny Mechanical Probes Inside Human Cells
2014 03 07
Nanotechnology doesn’t get as much attention these days as genetic and stem cell approaches to medicine, but all three aim to target the causes of illness with greater precision and less collateral damage in the rest of the body than conventional approaches.
Nanotech breakthroughs have come more slowly than many had hoped, but a recent success shows progress toward the goal ...
Fukushima: The Ticking Nuclear Bomb. Over 800 Tons of Radioactive Material Pouring into Pacific Ocean
2014 03 07
First published by GR in October 2013
In August this column ran a piece claiming that the Pacific Ocean was being poisoned by radioactive material escaping from Fukushima, two years after the devastating tsunami and meltdown at the Japanese nuclear facility. Three months later, shocking evidence points towards a calamity situation.
Silence from the corporate media.
There is growing evidence coming from ...
Is Sweden Raising a Generation of Brats?
2014 03 07
Scandinavian country’s child-centric ways stir backlash
Is Sweden raising a generation of brats?
The country has built a child-friendly reputation on its mandates for long parental leave and provision for state-funded day care from age 1. But a new book paints an ugly underbelly to Scandinavia’s child-centric ways. Youngsters here—deemed "competent individuals" by the state and legally protected from spanking—are becoming the ...
|More News » |