New Italian Tax System: Police State Tactics?
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
Pressure from the United Patriots Front Stops Mosque Plan
Pressure from the United Patriots Front appears to have killed off a mosque development in Narre Warren North.
The City of Casey council now looks likely to withhold planning approval for the development in a special meeting set for Tuesday night.
A council report, to be considered by councillors on Tuesday, recommends that the approval be blocked.
The mosque opponents’ cause has been helped by councillor ...
Police face questions over the influence of the Freemasons
South Yorkshire Police today face questions over whether powerful 'secret society' the Freemasons held sway over the force at the time of Hillsborough.
Families of victims say that officers who were Masons were promoted into powerful positions despite being ill-equipped, including match commander David Duckenfield.
Duckenfield told the fresh inquests he had been a Freemason since 1975 and became head of his ...
England Bans its Own Flag to Avoid Offending Muslims
St. George's Cross "racist" towards immigrants
Government officials said their city was ‘too multicultural’ to celebrate St George’s Day, England’s version of the 4th of July.
The council said that displaying the English flag may have been seen as “racist” towards immigrants.
Half of Western European men descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’
Half of Western European men are descended from one Bronze Age ‘king’ who sired a dynasty of elite nobles which spread throughout Europe, a new study has shown.
The monarch, who lived around 4,000 years ago, is likely to have been one of the earliest chieftains to take power in the continent.
He was part of a new order which emerged in ...
"Local Residents" Are Filmed Stealing Dozens of Bottles of Water at London Marathon Stop
Editor's Comment: "Local" residents? Why bother blurring their faces? We know who they are.
London marathon runners were robbed of dozens of bottled waters when thieves raided a refreshment area armed with trolleys during today's race.
Nearby residents - including parents with children - were captured on camera piling up crates of free water handed out by volunteers during the 26-mile event.
|More News » |