Wednesday, June 21, 2017

The Finance Police on the Case!

I guess its not exactly a secret that Italians are, shall we say, less than diligent in paying their taxes.  People who actually understand the intricacies of the VAT tax estimate that in 2014 Italians "evaded" 27.5% of what they should have paid. That makes for a not insignificant 36.9 billion Euros.  And that is just for VAT, one of the many taxes that Italy has on the books. The actual, total scope of tax evasion?  Who knows. Lots is a fair statement.  And it takes a toll, our trips to Italy have been made a bit less enjoyable by trash in the streets and archaeological sites closed because the government is chronically underfunded.

I was a bit taken aback to find out that the Tax Police actually have squad cars!

But I was really surprised to find out that they in addition have an "air force" of 100 planes and helicopters and a "navy" of 600 vessels.

If that seems a bit over the top for the purpose of persuading people to take paying taxes seriously I suppose it is only fair to mention that this branch of what are called "militarized police" also have responsibility for many other functions including preventing drug trafficking.

Wikipedia of course has so  Much More.  The Guardia works to track down illegal art sales.  They fight credit card fraud.  They run mountain rescue stations.  They even have nominal duties to prevent illegal immigration.  I wonder if their ships and that of the Italian Navy ever fire shots across the bow as the latter is currently tasked with rounding up ramshackle refugee vessels off the coast of Libya and towing them back to Italy.

Here's the current commander of the Guardia Finanza.  Although the Italians are not notably proficient at either military or police matters they do have the best damn uniforms.

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