Italy roots out 13,000 suspected tax cheats

Italy's financial police pressed charges against over 13,000 people for suspected tax fraud in 2014, more than half of whom were not declaring any income, a new report showed on Wednesday.

Italy roots out 13,000 suspected tax cheats
Italy tax photo: Shutterstock

Nearly 150 people were jailed for tax crimes while officers seized goods worth a total of €1.2 billion ($1.29 billion) during related probes, the financial police yearly report said.

Tax evasion in Italy costs some €91 billion a year, according to the finance ministry – which equates to around six percent of national output in the eurozone's third largest economy.

In their fight against organized crime, police seized assets worth €3.3 billion and permanently confiscated others worth €733 million, which were then turned over to the state.

Over 900 people were reported on suspicion of corruption or bribing public officials, with 44 ending up behind bars.

Investigations into the grey economy found nearly 12,000 people working off the books and over 13,000 on irregular contracts, the report said.

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Switzerland and Italy hope to deliver cross-border worker tax deal ‘by 2021’

Switzerland and Italy have pledged to conclude a long-awaited tax arrangement for cross-border workers by the end of the year.

Switzerland and Italy hope to deliver cross-border worker tax deal ‘by 2021’

At a meeting in Rome between Swiss President Simonetta Sommaruga and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, the two leaders said progress was being made on a cross-border tax arrangement. 

The agreement, originally negotiated in 2015, has as yet not been signed by either state. 

READ: How Switzerland avoided a coronavirus 'catastrophe' by protecting cross-border workers 

A 1974 agreement between the two countries doesn’t define cross-border worker. 

Sommaruga praised Switzerland’s decision to reject an initiative which would have restricted migration from EU countries and perhaps had impacts on cross-border workers. 

“In last Sunday's referendum, the Swiss people once again said that they want the free movement of people. It is a good thing for our country but it is also a good thing for the whole of Europe,” she said. 

“With neighbouring countries, Switzerland has adopted a regional approach excluding border regions and also cross-border workers from the quarantine regime. 

“I hope we can continue like this.”

While Switzerland rejected the migration limitation initiative, Ticino was one of four of Switzerland’s 26 cantons to vote in favour. 

Conte told reporters he hoped a deal was concluded “as soon as possible” and hoped it would be concluded by 2021. 

Conte hailed Italian cross-border workers as essential to the health system in the southern Swiss canton of Ticino, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. 

READ: How Switzerland's cross-border workers are growing in number 

In the canton of Ticino, one in five healthcare workers lives over the border in Italy – approximately 4,000 people. Ticino’s population swells from approximately 360,000 people to 440,000 during an average work day due to cross-border workers from Italy.

Unlike with Italy, Switzerland has struck a tax deal for cross-border workers from neighbouring France, which was amended during the coronavirus pandemic.