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Naples police make massive tax-evasion sweep

Over 80% of businesses delinquent

15 February, 14:29
Naples police make massive tax-evasion sweep (ANSA) - Naples, February 15 - A wide-scale police raid in Naples Wednesday found four out of five businesses investigated were dodging taxes. The sweep zeroed in on 386 shops, pizzerias and other companies, 317 of which had not properly declared revenue, while others were cited for safety hazards and employing workers without papers. Of the 50 street vendors who were checked, only 10 had declared any sales at all, and two owners of luxury cars - a Porsche and an Audi - said they had no income. With cash needed to balance the budget by 2013 and emerge from the debt crisis, Premier Mario Monti has launched a drive against tax cheats, who he recently said "are giving poisoned bread to their children".

The campaign has featured a number of headline-grabbing operations among rich tourists in Cortina d'Ampezzo and the Ligurian Riviera, shoppers at exclusive stores in Rome and nightclub owners in Milan.

Italy's internal revenue agency has said that it will ramp up the pressure further by introducing a new system to find evaders by cross-checking incomes and spending by the end of June.

The tax agency last year estimated that around 120 billion euros' worth of undeclared business was done on the Italian underground economy each year.

Over the last two days in Naples, roughly 250 officers have spanned out through the city to crack down on counterfeit merchandise, unsafe products and contraband cigarettes.

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