In the general considerations of the Scientific Directorate of the 33rd Italy Eurispes 2021 Report, just presented, Gian Maria Fara outlines a general picture without mincing words: “One thing is certain, the disorganized country, as it is today, is unable to support the challenges that the pandemic has launched. Without a peaceful cultural revolution we will be doomed to oblivion, to a drift of being without being, to the loss of what little bit of identity remains. Meanwhile, intolerance, insecurity and the search for a possible future are growing. (…) The problems on the table are still numerous and complex and there are no magic wands capable of solving them in the desired time ”. In the boundless territory addressed by the Report, the cultural revolution also passes, on file 17, from cashless and from the fight to cash. Starting from the considerations on the Italy cashless plan “with which we tried to reduce the use of cash and increase the use of electronic payments, also through a program that provides, among other things, the introduction of a super bonus to be recognized in relation to expenses made with traceable payment instruments. The bonus is then added to the receipt lottery, which has just become operational (with reference to transactions made from 1 February 2021) “. All with the aim of “combating tax evasion, by passing transactions through traceable channels, which allow the tax authority to monitor the flows of money and analyze the most suspicious ones”. To this end, “there may still be various alternative or complementary solutions (tax concessions for those who decide to pay with traceable methods, incentives for merchants to use POS, introduction of digital cards for payments, etc.). The first measure, however, remains to encourage electronic payments. This measure should, however, be accompanied by the elimination (or at least reduction) of the commissions that merchants pay to credit institutions for each individual POS transaction. In order to reduce commissions for all shopkeepers, merchants and professionals who allow payment with ATMs, it is therefore crucial to intervene on the costs of digital transactions below 5 euros, then also reducing costs for those under 25 euros “. the use of cash in our country the Bank of Italy data tell us: payments with POS: 230 billion euros, cash payments: 550 billion euros. “It is true that, if digital payments were to increase in Italy and cash-settled transactions to decrease, the incidence of the underground economy and VAT evaded compared to GDP would be reduced, reaching values, respectively, between 11 , 8% and 8.8% and 1.6% and 0.4%. Thanks to these reductions, a minimum of € 11.3 billion and a maximum of € 63.5 billion in the underground economy would be recovered and between € 6 billion and € 28 billion of VAT evaded “. it is, moreover, among the 35 worst economies in the world for incidence of cash on the value of GDP, “where more than 80% of the unobserved economy derives from under-declaration (45.5%) and from irregular work (37.2 %), with over 3.7 million irregular work units, equal to 15.6% of the total work units “. The case of South Korea, which is the most successful, provides, for example, “a deduction on direct taxes, in that case established as a maximum of 20% of the expenses made by credit card, with a double limit, however, of a ceiling of about 2,500 dollars and expenses that exceed 25% of gross income and, for merchants, a 2% VAT reduction for collection operations carried out through POS ”. Also in Greece, “since 2017, each taxpayer, depending on his income bracket, can deduct from 10 to 20% of what he has spent with an electronic payment”. To achieve this, there are two ways: use of cashless payment methods and discourage the use of cash. “The first policy is certainly preferable to the second, which presents various critical issues, both in terms of increasing the thresholds for using cash (ineffective) and in terms of tax measures which, in addition to being regressive, could violate the constitutional principles of the prohibition of double taxation and ability to pay “. In order to combat tax evasion by passing transactions through traceable channels “there may therefore be various solutions, ranging from encouraging the use of POS through the reduction of the related commissions, to the discipline of sanctions for those who do not comply with obligation to obtain and use the POS, the introduction of digital cards for those without current accounts, the exclusion of cash payment for payments to and from the PA, the introduction of tax breaks for those who decide to pay with traceable methods “.
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