Tax dodgers are thieves three times


Tax dodgers are thieves three times.
The first time because they are not supplying resources to the community in which they live. These are resources that can then not be used for schools, hospitals and roads. The second is because other citizens have to pay more because of them. The third is anyway the thrice thief is using the structures of the country for free.

Tax avoidance is like robbery, in fact more so, it’s a robbery without risks. Instead of the lookout there are the politicians. Here’s a letter on this topic.

Dear Beppe,
I too am from Liguria. At the moment I’m in Milan for work but sooner or later I’ll be back. I’ve got a topic that is really fashionable but in fact no one actually seriously faces up to it: tax evasion. This is the prime problem of our country.
All the governments put it on their agenda but for both the right and the left it’s the usual comedy.
In fact resolving tax evasion would mean the immediate loss of votes of whole categories of people.

And I’m sorry to write the usual stock phrases, but in Italy taxes are only paid by employees. How is it possible that 2/3 declare between 6,000 and 15,000 Euro a year? How is it possible that there are only 50,000 people declaring more than 200,000 Euro a year?
And only 150,000 people declare between 100,000 and 200,000 Euro a year? Just count the notaries, dentists, pharmacists, opticians, lawyers, and car salespeople who surely earn this figure.
There are definitely more than the numbers quoted above.
And in fact last year more than 100,000 luxury cars were sold and 70,000 yachts longer than 17 metres.

I’m an employee of a multinational and I’m by no means complaining about my earnings. In fact I believe I have a great salary. I’m in the category earning between 100,000 and 200,000. But looking at these statistics I should feel like one of the few rich Italian people. In reality I am just like everyone else and there are surely many many more people who earn much more than I do and yet they don’t pay anything. And you can see this from the cars, the homes and the life style that they have.

And let me add that the fight against tax evasion is not impossible, as they would like us to believe. It is really simple. It would be sufficient for the Guardia di Finanza to go and check up on all those that declare between 6,000 and 10,000 euro a year. These people will all be residents in public hostels and eating in Caritas soup kitchens or according to the home that they live in or the car that they travel in they are all free lance professionals or business people who are avoiding 99% of the tax due on their earnings.

I remember when I was at university, I paid the highest band of canteen prices. But I travelled by train and tram. In summer I worked on a beach to earn a bit of money. The offspring of working class people were in the band 2 or 3 and there was a whole list of friends who were in the lowest band or who actually ate for free. However these even came to the university in their new coupè or in their suzukino. Guess what their dads did?

Furthermore, using really simple software it is now possible to write programs that can automatically do cross matching on data so as to indicate to the Guardia di Finanza the tax returns to be checked. Some examples could be those who declare 10,000 Euro a year who have 3 homes or cars and pay 1000 Euro a year for ICI {L’ Imposta Comunale sugli Immobili = local tax on housing} or those who have telephone and electricity bills higher than 400 Euro a month.

Or check the tax declarations of those individuals and companies that own boats longer than 10 metres and luxury cars. And check the companies in which the owners systematically earn less than the employees or those companies that have ridiculous profits very year.

In fact there are hundreds of simple criteria that are clear and easy to implement now that tax declarations are computerised. It just needs the will to do it!

Anyway in other European countries there’s a physiological tax evasion that cannot be eliminated. But in Italy the problem is enormous. The motives are various. For our mentality and for the particular situation of Italy, the only country with many many small and medium sized enterprises. Ciao”.


Posted by Beppe Grillo at 11:45 PM in | Comments (22)
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How is it possible for me to report a tax evader to the Swedish authorities?

Posted by: Taneisha Lugay | November 10, 2006 02:40 AM

blisco jaio : "There is, about taxes, more to say. I would want to point out those workers which are so good tax payers but so bad professionals and bad workers."

I have a little disagreement on the 'bad professional' and 'bad worker' part of your comment. I'm an Italian government employee, which means a good tax payer, a PhD astrophysicist whose salary is not liveable (Italian science salaries are less than 1/2 of those in the rest of Europe), so my first 2 years in Italy was spent working an extra job at night at a private university, teaching physics, to theoretically make ends meet (my small appartment rent absorbs 2/3 of my salary).

I'm also one of the rare extracommunitari (dual citizenship: US and Latvia/EU) who entered Italy to do science in 2003, and have been waiting three years for the renewal for my permesso, so then I'm technically an illegal immigrant too. Come tax time last year, my first, I discovered that I was even more poor, with most of my extra job earnings (800 hours total) going to taxes. The most frequent comment I heard when I told my sad tale is "but why did you pay those extra taxes?" Needless to say, it forced me to rethink doing science in Italy as a government employee (I will support myself with a nonItalian research position next year).

I agree that there exists Italian government employees who are poor workers, but at least in the scientific community, such people are rare.

Posted by: Amara Graps | July 28, 2006 05:58 PM

welcome to italy robert,for sure you give us lots of good informations,italians take note,if they can do it,why can we?

Posted by: eva kulnura | July 28, 2006 07:47 AM


Murdoch does not own any comercial (private) free to air TV in Australia. He owns "The Australian" Australia's only national newspaper and several regional newspapers in each of the major cities in Australia.

As far as having a small business goes, I had a small business in Australia and have always woked for myself. I agree that its very difficult and a lot of hard work to be independent but you can also make a lot of money if you are good at your work. If your business is going badly the reason usually is that you are doing something wrong. I think you are using Italian logic when you say that if you work hard and you aren't making much money then you shouldn't have to pay taxes on your profits. In Australia we call that stealing.

Posted by: Robert Tuppini | July 27, 2006 08:30 PM

There is, about taxes, more to say. I would want to point out those workers which are so good tax payers but so bad professionals and bad workers.
In opposition of them, we can talk about indipendent people who, here are the bad tax payers. We forget to say what it is to start a businnes like an indipendent. Risks and problems are always bigger and so what happens? To avoid problems and risks of bankrupcy, this people generally works 16 or 18 hours a day. After a while of this regime there is two solutions: 1st- to stop to work like a stupid because, the laws are done like this: The more you win, and the more you are taxed!So they say: I dont want to work just to pay taxes!
2nd- To go on with the same regime but without declare everything.
Solution? Maybe like in Australia: If taxes are not high are accepted better.
If in Italy there is a special police to contrôl taxe payers and the results are so bad, it must be a reason. How many cases we know about corruption?
If the percentage of taxes to pay is reasonable, it will be accepted and the governments will spare money eliminating the fonctionnairs.
But who is going to take this decisions in Italy? If a guy of a union is reading this he will start a strike tomorrow. Just in case of...

Posted by: blisco jaio | July 27, 2006 05:25 PM

Interesting to read the australian reactions about the australian TV. I just want to know how Murdock (An australian bilionair) who is controlling a lot of medias in Europe and America, how is considered there. He really doesn't have a TV and a Newspaper together in Australia?

Posted by: blisco jaio | July 27, 2006 05:00 PM

robert,thank you for the information,very very interesting,ciao

Posted by: eva kulnura | July 27, 2006 12:36 PM


Australians do pay a type of “canone” for State owned television and radio indirectly, because they are funded (paid for) directly from the Government (who use our taxes to pay for them). But most Australians are happy that the Government pays for them and fully support their existence.

However they are run a bit differently to the RAI in Italy. We have ABC television (which is like BBC TV), ABC Radio (like BBC Radio) and SBS Television.

ABC TV and Radio does not have ANY advertising or commercials. (it is fully funded by Government so doesn’t need advertising revenue). The Board of Directors of the ABC (consiglio d’aministrazione) who control it (about 20) are nominated by the Government and by public vote, but they MUST be people who have no political affiliation and MUST come from different walks of life that are representative of Australian society eg. Journalists, butchers, plumbers, teachers, judges, house wives (casalinge), women and migrants etc.

They have a charter (set of rules) which they must follow which mainly is to “educate and inform the Australian public in an objective, non biased manner and to provide material content for all strata’s of Australian society”. If they don’t do this then an independent Tribunal will sanction (punish) them and they can lose their funding or people will lose their jobs.

SBS is similar, or almost the same as the ABC, but it provides programs and news for the migrants in Australia. It has films, fiction, documentaries and News programs in over 40 languages for the migrants in Australia who came from a non-english speaking country. The other difference is that SBS is allowed to have a small amount of advertising but it must be “ethical” advertising.

Also in Australia no person or company can own more than one (1) commercial (private) television station. No person or company can own a television station AND a newspaper. No newspapers receive, or are permitted to receive, money from the government - like they do in Italy.

Posted by: Robert Tuppini | July 27, 2006 11:53 AM

Eva, I would call these people other names but my politeness, common sense and the (just) censorship of Beppe prevents me from doing so.
(I have my hidden list with those names for my forbidden pleasure)

Posted by: High Plains Drifter | July 27, 2006 07:58 AM

H.P.D. calling them dodgers,you are too nice,were I live we call them bludgers,becouse they bludge on the system,and there is not simpaty for them,

Posted by: eva kulnura | July 27, 2006 07:53 AM

To Robert Tuppini

You are completely right except for one aspect: in Italy a lot of taxes have been created to supply the loss caused by those big fishes protected by corrupt politicians.

Thinking with an "Italian Politician Criminal Mind", the use of a computerized system would be only directed to whoever pays already his dues and overcharging him/her when it discovered that perhaps the "Canone TV" or any other stupid tax has not been paid, adding up with interests, while the big dodgers will remain unpunished because:
#1: The little people pay up showing the media that this new system works
#2: The big dodgers will get more protection thanks to their knowledge of the new system (see lawyers) and after a while this thing will be forgotten, like a lot of other things in Italy, everything will be back to normal with only the difference that the average citizen will be more monitored than before.

With this I don't want to invalidate completely your concept, I consider it otherwise a really good one.
I'm only afraid that it will be put to work in a complete wrong direction thanks to the sharks that infests the waters of Italian Politics.

Let's not forget that Politics is the entertainment of rich people.
The only

Posted by: High Plains Drifter | July 27, 2006 07:17 AM

robert you forgot to tell,that in australia,people do not pay tax on television"canone" or radio in the car,and lots of other taxex that we pay in italy,for the simple fact that everibody does their bit,and by the way I heard that this year the australia foreign debt is 0,well that seems to me that either the system and the goverment works well,it is the reason why australia is call "the luky country"?

Posted by: eva kulnura | July 27, 2006 12:48 AM

Tax evasion is not such a big problem, here in the UK as it is in Italy. Apparently it's even harder to dodge taxes in the USA

Posted by: Danilo Barani | July 26, 2006 09:51 PM

Gabriele, unfortunetly there is another big difference between Italy and Sweden: the mentality.
In Italy the state is considered like an enemy, and people are feeling good if they can somehow defraud it. In Sweden there is more social awareness, starting from respect of environment to the public spirit in general.
Sad but true.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | July 26, 2006 07:44 PM


I live in Sweden and I can claim that Sweden has really high rate of taxation, it really has it, but...
The swedish tax system reformed and simplified during the 1990 is based on communal and state taxes.

About the incomes (simplified):
The communs are entitled to get 30% of the taxes.
The state gets 20%, still 30% to the communs,in case of high incomes.

Of course the Information System is the engine for making this working..hence the personal number tracks even all the accountable operations: open accounts, payments with Credit Cards etc....

Each Commun has its own Tax office which is in charge of declaration and control.

It easy to understand that there is strong interest from the Communs to keep a high efficiency :the money goes there...

Then it easy to control the territory and its population too.

But what I retain the fundamental key of the whole system is a law which is exactly the opposite of the italian " Legge sulla privacy" : Offentlighet ( literally translated: publicity ).

This law permits to anybody to access any information related to people and companies: to know their income, their properties, their bank account, shares etc.., etc...

I hope this gives a different perspective of how does it work in other countries.

Posted by: gabriele | July 26, 2006 07:11 PM

To High Plains Drifter

Computerised systems do not exist “to rake in money” but exists to collect taxes from people who don’t want to pay them. Anyone who pays their taxes has nothing to worry about.

It’s precisely because the computerized system exists and EVERBODY pays taxes that Australia has a very low level of tax. An individual worker (working for himself “libero prefessionista” or working for an employer) pays a flat rate of tax of 21% and NO OTHER contributions (not even for his pension) He also pays NO TAX on the first $7,200 that he earns,

If he works for someone (a company etc) then the company also has to pay him 12% of his annual wage on top of his normal salary, as a Superannuation payment (a pension fund payment) into a special private investment fund which usually earns an average of 9-12% interest p.a. He receives this invested Superannuation money when he retires PLUS he gets a State pension for which he has NOT had to make contributions for (not like in Italy where INPS is one of the largest robber barons in the country).

If you work for yourself (libero professionista) there is no such thing as a “Partita IVA”. You just pay the same rate of taxes as above only that you can claim to the Tax Department payment to yourself of the 12% Superannuation.

Companies pay a flat rate of tax of 31%, and companies and individuals pay no other contributions or taxes to the government.

It’s also very difficult for individuals or companies to make a deduction on their income. Any deduction they can legally claim is written in the tax law for every industry sector, and I can assure you there are very few things they can claim except direct and provable expenses. When claiming a deduction they first have to prove that the deduction is legitimate. For example if a libero professionista claims a car then he has to demonstrate that he uses it for work and keep a diary of his work travels . He can then only claim the number of kilometers he has traveled which is set at 40 cents per kilometre. He can’t claim the cost of buying the car.

You don’t need to be a genius to reform the tax system in Italy. You just have to have the motivation and will to do it.

Posted by: Robert Tuppini | July 26, 2006 03:26 PM

Cari Signori,
il problema per me non è tanto la mancata applicazione delle leggi contro l'evasione fiscale quanto per lo più il fatto che le leggi stesse permettano ai liberi professionisti di giocare sull'imponibile fiscale.
Chi non andrebbe se potesse dal proprio commercialista a farsi consigliare su come spostare i propri investimenti e farli figurare in modo che alla fine la cifra da pagare in tasse risulti minima?
Non si tratta di evadere ma di aggirare facilmente l'ostacolo ( e in maniera consentita dalla legge )
Chi non acquisterebbe un macchinario ( o un automobile ecc..) dichiarandolo, come la legge consente, un investimento deducibile?
Se non fosse per questo nessuno comprerebbe le auto di lusso!
Ripeto, per me quello che c'è di sbagliato alla fonte sono le leggi e il loro modo di "agevolare" il commercio in questo modo.
Perchè non danno anche a me ( che sono un dipendente ) la possibilità di scaricare la benzina che consumo per andare al lavoro.

Grazie x lo spazio.

Posted by: Fabi | July 26, 2006 01:53 PM

To Robert Tuppini

Looks like computerized systems exist just to rake money on people that already pay taxes.
It would be a good thing to see this at work for once and because of this taxes would be lower for everybody.
Unfortunately it's like a tug of war between 2 sides that don't trust each other.

Posted by: High Plains Drifter | July 26, 2006 12:53 PM

In France they called it DELATION, in Denmark people are shamed to say their friends they take advantage of the system....
We need others citizens report tax evaders to the finance ministry and follow up the consequences. So please, if you know some tax evaders, please report to ministry of finance and follow up the process.
This will dramatically change our culture.
Let's be pro-active...

Posted by: Stefano Ferri | July 26, 2006 12:47 PM

@Robert Tuppini
I agree 100% with you!
I'm also surprised and disgusted about many comments on the italian blog. You said that "these people defend the indefensible so openly and almost with pride", that is ,sad but true, the average italian way of thinking. Many italians think to be sly because they are dodging taxes, they haven't the slightest notion about the rules of social solidarity, their life is a perpetual fight against the state-enemy, which is trying to steal them the hard-earned money. They don't know, (or they don't want to know), that the "state" is expression of the social community, and it can't work without taxes.
That is tipically italian.

Posted by: Raffaella Biferale | July 26, 2006 12:45 PM

Dear Beppe,

With computerization it’s the simplest thing in the world to track down people who evade tax. All that’s needed is to cross-check bank accounts, monetary transactions and major purchases. In Australia where I come from this is done as a matter of course, once a month through computer checks. There, we don’t have identity cards just a tax file number (similar to the codice fiscale) and a company number for any business, large or small. You need to present either of these, along with any other form of identification, in order to open up any bank account, invest any money or make major purchases. This way the Tax Department can track your income and expenditure through your tax file number or company number. If you don’t provide a tax file number or company number any income you make is automatically taxed at the highest rate of 55% directly from your investment or bank account before you see it. If you don’t pay all your taxes at the end of each financial year (individuals or companies) your assets (to the value of the tax to be paid) are confiscated and you automatically go to prison (3 months to 5 years depending on the severity of the tax evasion) and you can only make an appeal whilst in prison. If you are a company director or partner your prison sentence is usually longer as it is considered that your company’s tax evasion affected more people in the community than the tax evasion of an individual. This way people pay their taxes. With Italy’s codice fiscale a similar thing is possible here and it could be implemented immediately.

I read some of the comments on this issue on the Italian side of your blog. I wasn’t surprised to read that many of your readers defended the fact that they don’t pay taxes. However it does surprise me that these people defend the indefensible so openly and almost with pride. In the end they are just “biting off their nose to spite their face”. In their case I don’t think they should complain about long queues at the Post Office or the “Commune” as one of your readers wrote, or even about having corrupt politicians because they (the tax evaders) are part of the problem they complain about and their tax evasions perpetuate inefficiency, self interest and corruption

Posted by: Robert Tuppini | July 26, 2006 12:15 PM

dear beppe,the comment that robert tuppini,wrote
in respond to the letter of mr.antonio di pietro,said all, I wish beppe you translate it, in italian and posted on the italian side,like that people can read it and think about,becouse is an important issue that is at the base of all italian problems,tax evasion is part of the package,and what in italy is condidered smart doing,in other country is frawn on it and taken very very seriously,with hevvy repercussion if cought doing,ciao

Posted by: eva kulnurae | July 26, 2006 12:44 AM

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