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Italy recovers record €19 billion haul in tax fraud crackdown

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Italy recovers record €19 billion haul in tax fraud crackdown
The sums recovered pale in comparison to the amount estimated lost to tax fraud each year. File photo: Pexels
09:48 CEST+02:00
Italy announced on Wednesday that 2016 had been a record year for recovering money lost to tax fraud.

In total, the Italian Revenue Agency recovered €19 million, the agency's director told the Chamber of Deputies' Finance Commission.

This is a 28 percent increase on the 14.9 billion recovered in 2015, and triple the €6.4 billion figure recorded ten years ago.

10.5 billion of 2016's total came from comprehensive checks carried out by the agency, including voluntary disclosure which accounted for €4.1 billion, while €8 billion came from settlements and the remaining €0.5 billion from spontaneous payments.

However, the figures are still tiny compared to the total amount lost in Italy to tax dodgers each year.

An EU-wide study published in September 2016 revealed that Italy is responsible for almost a quarter of the total lost VAT revenues in Europe.

READ MORE: Italians are Europe's worst tax cheats (again...)

In 2015, the government estimated the country's total losses to tax evasion at €90 billion a year. The employers' organization Confindustria put the figure even higher at €122 billion - the equivalent of 7.5 percent of GDP - in a report published the same year.

Nearly half the total is accounted for by non-payment of VAT and a third relates to the avoidance of payroll taxes - both factors related to the size of Italy's black economy.

The size of the untaxed economy is one of the reasons why Italy's public finances are in such a perilous state.

READ MORE: Five reasons the world is worried about the state of Italy

Five reasons why the world is worried about the state of Italy
Photo: Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

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