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Italian Business Taxpayers Feel 'Persecuted'

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

20 February 2013

A nationwide poll of 2,500 businesses by Confedercontribuenti, an association of Italian taxpayers, has found that they are being harassed in their dealings with the country’s complex tax system, which is viewed as extremely complex and persecutory.

With the added problem that Italy lacks efficient and independent tax courts, the survey points out that the corporate taxpayer in Italy is now assailed by notices, assessments and tax bills from the system’s various tax authorities and collectors. On average, each company receives about 29 annual alerts regarding its obligations to various institutions.

Above all, it is calculated that it takes each business an average of about 250 hours per year to resolve the issues raised by the total of 13 different institutions responsible for the Italian tax and social security system – from INPS to INAIL (the social security and insurance institutions), from the Italian Revenue Agency to the Guardia di Finanza (the Italian financial police), and to Equitalia, the tax collection agency. All of the institutions (not to mention those involved in health and safety at work) may raise questions throughout the year.

The survey also showed that 76% of business owners begin their working day with the worry of receiving a visit from some inspecting body or another, or of a communication received relating to a supposed irregularity from a tax authority.

What emerges from the survey, said Carmelo Finocchiaro, Confedercontribuenti’s President, is a serious obstacle to the development of businesses. Their owners, forced to resolve a series of other obligations, have inevitably to reduce the time they can spend on production and on business development.

The association is asking the new Parliament, after the general election, to address the issue of business taxation in a decisive manner. The current system is said to need effective simplification, a rationalization of the agencies involved in investigations, and a serious reform of the tax courts. The current “vexatious system weighs more than the enormous tax burden it supports. Its change can no longer be delayed.”

TAGS: court | compliance | tax | business | tax compliance | law | corporation tax | tax authority | social security | Italy | regulation

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