By Tommaso Faccio, co-founder of Tax Justice Italia
With the support of, and in partnership with the Tax Justice Network, Tax Justice Italia was launched today with the aim of adding a credible voice for tax justice in Italy. Tax Justice Italia will work to change the debate around taxation in Italy, counter the prevailing narrative that taxes need to be cut and dispel the misconception that it is legitimate to avoid or evade taxation. The new organisation aims to raise awareness among people across the country on the importance of tax for a strong economy and a healthy society.
More than €100 billion in tax is evaded in Italy each year and 15% of corporate tax obligations in Italy go unpaid each year through the use of tax havens. The amount of private wealth held offshore is estimated to be 8% of Italy’s GDP. These are just some of the reasons why a tax justice organisation is needed in Italy today.
Tax abuse deprives Italy of much needed revenues to boost investment in public services, such as health and education, and to finance sound anti-poverty measures. Furthermore, tax evasion severely hampers the redistributive function assigned to the progressivity of the Italian tax system, especially in personal income tax. This is a major problem for a country that displays a high level of pre-tax income inequality and one of the lowest levels of inequality reduction through taxation in the EU.
With the G20 presidency looming in the distance and the revived debate around tax havens within the EU, the time is ripe for a new organisation.
Our first work “Paradisi Fiscali: il caso Eni” analyses country-by-country data published voluntarily by the Italian major oil firm Eni, which is effectively controlled by the Italian State, analysing its presence in a number of tax havens and its approach to taxation. Given the Government’s recent strong rhetoric against EU tax havens, the report provides an opportunity to hold the Government accountable for the tax policies adopted by its state-controlled companies.