Card payment refund scheme aims to wean tax-dodging Italians off cash

Joseph B. Hash

Hundreds of thousands of Italians have signed up for a government scheme providing a 10pc refund for card payments in shops in just two months in an attempt by Rome to slash tax evasion and strengthen retailers strike by coronavirus constraints.

The roaring start to the scheme, which necessitates downloading an app adopted by a prolonged registration procedure, arrives in stark contrast to Italians’ lukewarm reaction to the simpler Immuni app launched in June to trace Covid bacterial infections.

The so-named “cashback” system will officially kick off next month but the pilot programme from Dec 8 to the stop of the stop, which permits financial savings of up to €150, has previously attracted a tenth of the adult population.

“Above 5m subscriptions is no smaller feat,” explained Leonzio Rizzo, a professor of public finance at the College of Ferrara, told Reuters.

Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte’s government thinks that weaning Italians off dollars can decrease rampant tax evasion, estimated by the Treasury at about €110bn a year.

Electronic payments, not like notes and coins, are more difficult to disguise from the taxman.

Even so the programme has its critics, like the European Central Bank, which explained final 7 days that governments need to just take a neutral solution to indicates of payments and complained it had not been consulted.

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