Prime minister Mario Monti alongside the minister for the economy and finance Vittorio Grilli and the undersecretaries Vieri Ceriani and Gianfranco Polillo, convened the top-ranking officers of the ministry and of the Inland Revenue (Agenzia delle Entrate), Customs, Land Registry, Financial Police (Guardia di Finanza) and state monopolies (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato). In particular, the meeting focused on the progress made regarding the application of the recent measures aimed at strengthening the operative efficacy of the government's fiscal agencies in the areas of tax returns and invoicing, customs, transparency and controls on gaming and betting. In the light of the government's renewed efforts in the fight against tax evasion, a fresh impulse was given to the process of simplification and support provided to those citizens who have regularly paid their dues, in order to streamline relations with the Inland Revenue office. The tax evasion task force will meet on a regular basis with a view to strengthening coordination between the operational structures involved and to monitoring the results achieved.
"Rigour, fairness and development are the key guidelines of our commitment in ensuring that our fight against fiscal evasion is efficient and non-intrusive" prime minister Monti said. Recovering unpaid taxes must become a tool for the improvement of the efficiency of the economic system within a framework of enhanced fairness. Thanks to the efforts of the Inland Revenue and the financial police, € 12 billion was recovered in 2011. But a great deal can and must be done. We must push ahead strongly because if everyone pays what is due, we can all pay less taxes. It is something we are committed to and want to achieve also by improving fiscal transparency and the relationship between the tax office and citizens."
In the course of the meeting, a basic guideline, signed by prime minister Monti, was announced redesigning the operative strategy to be implemented over the next three-year period in four key areas of fiscal policy:
- Consolidation of financial recovery while providing support in identifying the property of public administrations;
- Prudent use of fiscal leverage as a means to re-establish solid growth conditions in the medium-long term and boost productivity and economic growth; and finalise the implementation of the delegated law governing fiscal federalism
- Further strengthen the fight against tax evasion and avoidance and illegal gaming; improvement of fiscal transparency and the exchange of information between states; boost collection procedures; maintain a rigorous policy in the granting of betting and gaming licences
- Implementation of structural reforms so as to contribute to strengthening the economic governance of the European Union.
Besides defining political priorities, the guidelines endorsed by prime minister Monti also defined the policies financial administrations must comply with in the 2012-2014 three-year period. These guidelines are not designed exclusively as a means to combat fiscal evasion but also and above all as a way to stimulate pre-emptive action and thus improve citizens' faith in the fight against tax evasion by provoking a change in the mentality and thus stimulate compliance.
Fight against tax evasion
The Finance Department is to give fresh impetus in the activity backing up the fight against tax evasion and avoidance by targeting enhanced administrative cooperation at a EU and international levels. The Financial Department will also boost the exchange of information between the administrative centre and local entities with a view to streamlining cooperation between various government levels in the fight against tax evasion. With a view to maximising the efficacy of the fight against tax evasion, the Finance Department will analyse taxpayer conduct; increase and strengthen information exchange with local entities while initiating a process aimed at rationalising the tax system as a whole.
Modernising the Public Administration
IT facilities will be further developed while stimulating a stronger reliance on online tax procedures with a view to sharpening competitiveness and reducing costs through the utilisation of certified email to communicate with tax commissions.
To bring down costs, the finance department and the state property agency (Agenzia del Demanio) will survey property owned by the public administrations in a bid to collect as much information as possible on the lands and buildings utilised. The Finance Department will give stronger emphasis on merit and performance by boosting the efficiency and quality of the services provided.
INLAND REVENUE OFFICE (AGENZIA DELLE ENTRATE)
More efficient services for taxpayers and improved tax management. Agenzia delle Entrate will focus its action on enhancing the quality of assistance provided to taxpayers while ensuring maximised transparency and fairness. Against this backdrop, Agenzia delle Entrate is targeting the simplification of taxpaying procedures also through the strengthening of online services for citizens.
Rapid payment of tax refunds. In general terms, previous-year refund requests are to be paid in the current year; as for periodical VAT returns, payments will occur within the year for which the request was made, all the while targeting an ever more efficient processing procedure.
Prevention and fight against tax evasion. Synergies with INPS, the state pension provider, will be achieved through the exchange of data and information regarding the black economy and the progressive involvement of other public sector entities. An accurate analysis will be conducted on the tax evasion/avoidance risk by taxpayer typology, by economic sector and by territorial distribution. Also envisaged are specific plans designed to prevent and combat fraud in the area of VAT. The base of large taxpayers eligible to receive tutorage will be widened while the array of available tools to determine in a synthetic way the income of individuals will be strengthened. In addition, Agenzia delle Entrate will also strengthen the fight against international tax evasion and closely monitor fictitious money transfers to foreign countries and tax havens. To fully grasp the strategic role played by this government agency, it should be observed that for each euro spent for its running, € 3.6 are recovered in taxes.
CUSTOMS (AGENZIA DELLE DOGANE)
Prevention of and fight against tax evasion and illegal transactions. Action is to be taken to strengthen activities and measures aimed at safeguarding international trade and to enhance the prevention and the fight against the evasion of customs duty.
Administrative simplification and diffusion of online services. To achieve these targets the IT system of the Customs Agency will be strengthened while boosting at the same time the cooperation not only with government administrations and public sector entities but also with European Union organisms. The Customs Agency is committed to implementing on the one hand technological instruments that can contribute to stimulate trade while ensuring the legality and security of operations, and on the other hand initiatives designed to intensify partnerships with operators and industry associations with a view to improving the security and fluidity of international trade.
LAND REGISTRY (AGENZIA DEL TERRITORIO)
Services provided to institutions, professionals and citizens. Agenzia del Territorio will define the governance of the land registry system by cooperating with local administrations. The aim is to integrate data banks and to introduce the integrated land registry certificate, thus ensuring the progressive implementation of the new integrated property register (Anagrafe Immobiliare Integrata) for public sector entities and private individuals.
Ensuring fiscal fairness. Agenzia del Territorio aims to maximise efforts in combating property tax evasion and avoidance in connection with non-updated land registry surveys also by relying on the cooperation with the financial police (Guardia di Finanza) and the Inland Revenue office. Agenzia del Territorio will support the government's tax reform project especially in the property sector and in the revision of the cadastral evaluation system.
STATE PROPERTY AGENCY (AGENZIA DEL DEMANIO)
Agenzia del Demanio will focus on the implementation of the so-called state property federalism (federalismo demaniale) and the management of lands and buildings utilised by central Public Administrations. In line with current political priorities and in view of the present scenario both domestic and international, which demands greater financial rigour, the service contract between the ministry for the economy and finance and Agenzia del Demanio will be defined according to three principal guidelines: cost cutting; income generation; and value creation.
State monopolies authority (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato)
In view of its transformation into a fiscal agency, the state monopolies autonomous administration (Amministrazione autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato - AAMS) will further pursue the consolidation of income while strengthening its activity against illegal gaming. Specifically, besides combating illegal and non-authorised gambling, AAMS will pursue action aimed at creating a scenario of legal and responsible gaming. With a view to recovering unpaid taxes, AAMS will strengthen controls over government-regulated gaming. To this end, action will be taken against those banking, financial and post office operators who fail to report money transfers carried out by subjects who hold licences for games involving unauthorised cash prizes.
FINANCIAL POLICE (GUARDIA DI FINANZA - GdF)
GdF will concentrate its efforts, also at an international level, against those actions that are most detrimental to the state accounts, namely tax and customs fraud, international tax evasion, black economy and smuggling. In its fight against international tax evasion, GdF will continue to develop a network of experts assigned on duty abroad.
As for the goods and services market, GdF will contrast the forgery of brands, intellectual piracy and the breach of product safety with a view to safeguarding Made in Italy products. The total value of forged goods in Italy amounted to € 7 billion with a loss in terms of failed direct and indirect tax earnings amounting to over € 5 billion (Censis, 2009).
With regard to rising living costs ("il carovita"), GdF will continue monitoring consumer prices as a means to counter unfair practices, while ensuring the consolidated cooperation between the price and competition watchdogs.
As for the fight against organised crime, the plan is to strenuously combat illegal assets, blocking all attempts on the part of organised crime to infiltrate the legal economy. The fight against money laundering will be carried out also on a pre-emptive basis by investigating reports concerning suspect operations and by carrying out inspections on subjects (financial intermediaries, freelance professionals, other non-financial operators) GdF has been keeping under watch.
Action aimed at protecting capital markets will focus on combating unauthorised trading, usury, illicit speculation, financial instrument fraud, corporate and bankruptcy crimes. At the same time, GdF will further pursue control and investigation on cross border money traffic, which occurs through money transfers, financing of terrorism and the falsification of means of payment. In addition, efforts will be made to strengthen cooperation with competent law enforcement authorities.
- Fiscal policy guidelines for the 2012/2014 period
- Administrative and management directive for 2012