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21/12/2011
Federpneus urges anti-evasion measures


With its August manoeuvre, the government has once again emphasized the need to fight evasion. This is an indisputable objective which can be achieved also through the important contribution of honest people and entrepreneurs who can report areas of possible evasion in the light of the necessary collaboration between businesses and the government.
However, a sense of responsibility on the part of operators does not always meet with a prompt response from the financial authorities given that bureaucratic problems make it difficult to take measures that would seem to be simple to introduce. An emblematic case is that of tyres. Federpneus, the Italian Tyre Specialists' Association, has repeatedly reported to the Ministry for the Economy (the last time in an official letter dated 4 October 2010) that tyres are being offered on the market at considerably lower prices than those normally applied, to the extent that VAT evasion is suspected. The second paragraph of article 60-bis of Presidential Decree DPR 633/1972 (which governs VAT) refers to cases of evasion like those reported by Federpneus because it establishes that if the vendor fails to pay the tax on sales made at lower prices than normal, then the obligation to pay VAT rests with both the buyer and the vendor. This regulation is an effective deterrent. However it does not apply to all products, but only to those listed in a specific ministerial decree and makes reference to cars, motorcycles and trailers but not tyres. Federpneus therefore requested that tyres should be included in a specific provision of the regulation.
However, the Ministry's reply to Federpneus' report and proposal of 3 December emphasized that "the proposal has been submitted for political assessment" and that in any case "the implementation of an anti-fraud measure of this kind would require a preliminary investigation by the relevant Inland Revenue Agency to substantiate that the phenomenon of evasion in the tyre sale sector justifies a request for regulatory intervention". Almost eleven months have passed since the Ministry's reply and not only have no measures been adopted, it also appears that the Inland Revenue Agency has not carried out the said "preliminary investigation to substantiate the phenomenon of evasion". On the other hand, Federpneus emphasized, even without questioning whether the Inland Revenue Agency is able to carry out the necessary investigations, we cannot see what contraindications there could be to including the tyre sector in the payment of VAT. Bureaucratic procedures would not be increased for anyone, it would simply give the Inland Revenue Agency the chance to take effective action against evasion in the tyre sector wherever it exists. If it is demonstrated that the phenomenon does not exist, then the VAT payment extension would be a dead letter without any harm for anyone.
On the other hand, Federpneus pointed out, even the political assessment of the proposal is a positive sign and Federpneus therefore once again urges the adoption of VAT anti-evasion measures for the sale of tyres. Because, a sense of public spirit apart, the members of the Association who are honest operators and pay all their taxes are at the mercy of operators who not only damage the Treasury by evasion but are also guilty of unfair competition against those who operate correctly.

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