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Court of Auditors: “We need a profound review of the collection”

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In 2020, spending on assistance over 67 billion (+ 28.4%)

The crisis resulting from the pandemic has also had repercussions on welfare spending. Last year that in the form of cash and in-kind benefits exceeded 67 billion, up 28.4 percent year-on-year. Among the three types of interventions – disability, pensions and social allowances and other allowances and subsidies – the group that recorded the most vigorous increase was the third, mainly due to the interventions made in the field of Citizenship Income / Emergency Income and unemployment, in particular,
in the latter case, for income support for certain categories of workers, too
autonomous. The increase of over 15 billion in disbursements for other checks and subsidies – the document reads – seems to be of a structural nature for a third and a cyclical nature for two thirds ».

Minus 53 billion less in tax revenues due to 250 concessions

In addition to social security and assistance, the tax structure also has some weaknesses. Among these, «the proliferation of fiscal expenses and differentiated treatments – the report reads – has significantly contributed to making the levy complex; despite continuous commitments to limit their use over time, their number has continued to increase significantly ». In particular, the Court of Auditors still notes, there are about 250 concessions, which cause a significant loss of revenue (about 53 billion in 2021).

Super cashback, excessive premium

The Court of Auditors also focuses on the Italia Cashless operation, the plan developed by the Conte government and confirmed (for now) by the Draghi one to encourage the use of cards and payment apps, and thus limit payments in cash, at risk of evasion. “With reference to super cashback – it is the indication -, in order to contain the abuses – that the data provided by the Department (of Finance ed) as of April 30th seem to confirm – it might be appropriate to limit the number of transactions that can be carried out with the same operator within the same day (even if with different cards), thus limiting the probable artificial splitting of purchases. The measure of the premium, 1500 euros to the first 100 thousand users by number of operations in the semester, also appears excessive ».

Lottery of receipts, membership at the moment limited and sectorial

As for the other initiative put in place to combat tax evasion, namely the Receipt Lottery, «at the moment, participation in the receipt lottery was rather limited and sectorial, concentrated in large-scale distribution. An obstacle is certainly constituted by the complexity of the operations, while the only deferred knowledge of the winnings constitutes a further obstacle to participation, weakening the interest of the consumer. From the first elements regarding the tax credit of 30 per cent of the commissions charged for transactions carried out by credit, debit or prepaid cards – the Report still reads -, it emerges that between September 2020 and April 2021, the compensated credits amounted to overall to 3.31 million, involving a limited number of subjects. It remains to be assessed – observes the Court of Auditors – whether the measure can produce the expected effects with specific reference to economic activities of a smaller size, in which the resistance to the use of electronic means of payment is concentrated ».

Active employment policies, results clearly below expectations

Among the many weaknesses that the Court of Auditors identifies in the survey, there is one concerning the labor market. In the year of the pandemic, while considering the extraordinary nature of the general economic situation, “results were confirmed that were significantly lower than expected as regards the second pillar of citizenship income, the one aimed at active employment policies. The information of Anpal (National Agency for Active Labor Policies, ed) on the characteristics of the subjects referred to the CPIs (Employment Centers, ed) show that as of 1 April 2021, compared to one million and 656 thousand subjects summoned, just over 1 million and 56 thousand were required to sign the Pact for work. As of February 10, 2021, just over 152 thousand people had established an employment relationship subsequent to the date of submission of the application ». The Court of Auditors then sums up: “There remains a strong need for a serious strengthening of employment centers, an objective that is currently missing and to be relaunched as part of a new and robust active employment policy, to be implemented also within the framework of the specific investments intended for this purpose by the National Recovery and Resilience Plans ».

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