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Italy Attacks 'Avoidance Culture'

by Ulrika Lomas,, Brussels

31 December 2010

In an interview, Attilio Befera, the general manger of the Italian Revenue Agency, has disclosed that, next year, some 40,000 Italian taxpayers will each receive a letter pointing out an anomaly between their spending and their declared income.

The Agency will start to send the letters out from January 2011. A typical case would be where an individual has purchased a property, but declared no taxable income in the previous year. However, The Agency would not open an assessment immediately, but would first allow the taxpayer to justify the spending.

During the interview in Il Messaggero, Befera looked upon the action being taken in Italy against tax evasion as a “cultural” programme. In his opinion, the point is not only the extreme financial size of the problem but that, in Italy, to avoid paying taxes is considered to be a “normal” attitude. However, he said, if it is now realized that the country’s tax administrators are more efficient, and that their checks are becoming more frequent, taxpayers will find it less convenient not to pay.

He confirmed that, during 2010, the Agency expected to collect additional revenues of EUR10bn (USD13.25bn) from its action against tax evasion, some EUR2bn more than in 2009.

TAGS: individuals | compliance | tax | tax compliance | tax avoidance | law | enforcement | Italy

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