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View Full Version : Italian Police Pulling People Over for Driving a Luxury Car


tarf
03-06-2012, 06:55 AM
In Italy, the Guardia di Finanza (equivalent of the IRS) drive police-type cars (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Guardia.di.finanza.car.arp.jpg) and have the ability to pull you over on the highway for no other reason than the fact that you are driving a luxury car. I returned from Italy a few days ago and both of my cousins (who are Italian citizens) were recently pulled over while the Guardia checked their tax records. It took about 45 minutes of their time but since they had filed income tax returns with sufficient income, they were sent on their way. One was driving an X5 and the other an Audi A5. Given the financial crisis there, the Guardia is stepping up their efforts. Over New Years, the Guardia conducted a blitz at Cortina where the owners of 251 luxury cars were checked. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jh235-UzNno (I know that this won't do you much good if you don't speak Italian)

Hopefully, they don't stop cars with non-Italian plates (such as ED buyers) but I'm not sure. Just thought that I would alert people who may be driving in Italy. If you get pulled over by the Guardia, the good news is that you won't be getting a traffic ticket.

cwsqbm
03-06-2012, 09:11 AM
I wouldn't think they would stop non-Italian plates, since a non-Italian wouldn't have paid any income taxes to Italy. Still, its a BS thing to do.

dalekressin
03-06-2012, 09:14 AM
They want to see what those luxury cars look like.

DrivenByF30
03-06-2012, 09:52 AM
It would seem that the Italian Police has become an extension of their equivalent of the IRS...
Trying to enforce and capture those Tax evador citizen... The Government trying to extend its arms and reach to get their "fair" share of your income...

I dont think this would affect much for us tourist... since you dont owe them anything... and if anything... I dont even speak italians...

tarf
03-06-2012, 09:53 AM
I wouldn't think they would stop non-Italian plates, since a non-Italian wouldn't have paid any income taxes to Italy. Still, its a BS thing to do.

I agree. But you have to remember that Italy and most other countries in the world tax based on residency, not based on citizenship like the US. In Italy, you are taxed on your income if you are a resident of Italy, regardless of your citizenship (temporary trips don't constitute residency). I am an Italian citizen but am not subject to Italian income tax because I am not an Italian resident. If you are a US citizen, you are subject to US income tax on your worldwide income regardless of where you reside (although you may get relief under the foreign tax credit and other US relief provisions).

These residency rules are the reason why tax-haven countries like Monaco and Luxemberg flourish in Europe (US citizens still have to pay tax to the US, even if they reside in these countries because of the US tax rules). If you had Monaco plates on your luxury car, it wouldn't surprise me if the Guardia pulled you over to make sure you weren't a rich Italian trying to circumvent the residency rules. As for German plates, I agree that they probably wouldn't draw much interest from the Guardia.

3ismagic#
03-06-2012, 12:38 PM
Like most southern European countries (I'm looking at you Greece and Spain), Italy suffers from serious enforcement problems with its tax collection. A huge proportion of potential taxes are evaded raising the rates for those who actually pay them. Not quite as bad a Greece but it still a big problem.

Actually, if Greece collected just half of it's unpaid taxes it would be running massive budget surpluses.

FrankAZ
03-06-2012, 01:11 PM
There is an interesting article about this here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9113535/Worried-Italians-flog-off-their-supercars.html).

42 out of 133 super-car owners seen in Cortina d'Ampezzo claimed income of less than EUR22k. With statistics like that the shine is certainly off owning a super-car. Who wants to be presumed to be either a pauper or a tax-dodger?

Frank.

tarf
03-06-2012, 01:24 PM
There is an interesting article about this here (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/financialcrisis/9113535/Worried-Italians-flog-off-their-supercars.html).

42 out of 133 super-car owners seen in Cortina d'Ampezzo claimed income of less than EUR22k. With statistics like that the shine is certainly off owning a super-car. Who wants to be presumed to be either a pauper or a tax-dodger?

Frank.

Yes, I expect a lot of rich Italian will show up in Cortina driving Fiat Punto's next time. I didn't realize that the Guardia Blitz was having such an impact. I wouldn't want to be a BMW or Porsche dealer in Italy right now.