Among the new tax on buildings, higher excise taxes, VAT, and the ruthless hunt for tax evaders launched by the government of technocrat Mario Monti, the Italians feel strangled by the Treasury in the midst of economic recession.
“It never ends fines, invoices, receipts. Every day the line is narrower, the more we tighten the belt, the less we pay. This government runs much to tax,” says in a chat with AFP, the employer Gianbattista Tagliani.
The young entrepreneur has just emerged from a subsidiary of Equitalia, the public agency for tax collection, which was paying arrears of contributions for an employee.
Specializes in media control, has the absurd situation that is: the Chamber of Deputies, ie the Italian State owes € 20,000 for services rendered, which will be paid with 180 days late, but he must pay advance tax of 5,000 euros for such earnings.
“If you’re famous or a millionaire, as the champion Valentino Rossi motorcycle or Basque rock singer Rossi, you come to an agreement with the IRS, you pay all at once and make you a 30%” he laments.
The property tax, which eliminated Silvio Berlusconi in 2008 and reintroduced Monti, and VAT, which rose one point to 21% and perhaps 23% will have become a nightmare for the Italians.
Since the country went into recession late last year, the anger of the population by harsh austerity measures, which have brought to its knees, begins to notice: letter-bombs Equitalia managers in several cities, demonstration Naples, aggression inspectors Milan, hostages in an office in Bergamo, not to mention the suicides.
“Politicians, government people, they do not charge fines, pay no official automotive gasoline, usually lunch and eat free, all dress fashionably, with their beautiful costumes and ties,” said Paolo Schiaramazza outraged, 49 years.
The discomfort of this small building contractor comes from the injustices of the system, the malfunction of government while enjoying the privileges of some kind, the “caste” policy.
“I just paid a fine for speeding reaching 1,300 euros, as I was sent with five years late and a month before the end,” he complains.
To Schiaramazza, Equitalia is an agency of “predatory” but defended the company is ensuring that only 9% of the sums received and that the other entries for the entities concerned are: Finance, City Hall, Social Security.
“We sent an average of 16 million letters. A huge figure, which shows the unhealthy relationship that Italians have with the Treasury,” said Giovanni Lombardo, director of public relations Equitalia.
Taking up the reins in November from a country adrift, Monti promised to fight against one of the great evils: tax evasion, estimated to total about 120,000 million euros a year.
While the Italians can not be considered all one evaders, it is true that the vast financial police operations nationwide, particularly in popular tourist resorts of fashion, confirmed significant irregularities.
Thanks to the controls on the idyllic island of Capri, a Mecca for skiers millionaires, Cortina d’Ampezzo in luxury shops and restaurants throughout the peninsula, it was found the lack of discipline in the invoicing and payment frequently used in black.
The financial police megacomputer called Serpico, across all government information, he discovered several owners of houses that have never filed income tax return and have hidden profits by millions of euros.
The agents also monitored the standard of living of many professionals, including accountants, lawyers and merchants, especially those who report very low annual incomes but circulate in luxury vehicles and spend holidays in exclusive locations.
The other side of the coin is bankrupt entrepreneurs and the wave of people who lose their jobs, so that the suicide rate has increased throughout Italy.
“To the indignation of those who refuse to pay Equitalia added indignation of those who can not pay,” Lombardo admits.
The agency therefore decided to relieve tension by extending deadlines for paying fines and avoiding extreme cases the freezing or seizure of the room, pension or car.
“We have seen that the mindset is changed, the evader is not seen as someone clever, but as a thief of the community,” he said.