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Title Foreign Correspondent : Italy.

Published Australia : ABC [broadcaster], 2012 March 06 at 20:00:00.


Location Call No. Status
Physical description 1 streaming video file (26 min. 15 sec.) ; 158087215 bytes
Summary If life's two certainties are death and taxes then who blinks first in a face-off between God and The Taxman? Italians are buckling up for very bumpy, very bleak ride into economic gloom and doomdom but many are asking if everyone's paying their way - particularly the very wealthy. The Catholic Church for instance. As a get-tough Government doles out some harsh medicine, it has at least signalled the Church may need to toss a lot more into the collection plate. But will it come to pass? As austerity falls like a winter blizzard across the nation, Claudia and Leonardo Peruzzi are feeling the pinch. The young couple are something of a novelty in Italy, not simply because they have three children when the norm is to stop at one. The Peruzzis actually pay tax, and a fair whack at that. They work for foreign multi-nationals so their taxes are directly deducted. 'Something like 55% of our salary goes to taxes. Really, from January 1 to July 15 we work for the state. Very nice!' - Claudia and Leonardo Peruzzi, Professionals, Rome Not far from the Peruzzis, effervescent barista and cafe owner Francesco plays the tax regime a little more, well, Italian. 'Often when you know a client really well, you don't print a receipt so that the transaction is not registered on your books. This way you avoid paying tax. Sometimes you just have to try and work the system to get ahead.' Francesco, cafe owner, Rome Both Francesco and the Peruzzi's live and work in a city dominated by the architecture, iconography and sheer presence of the Catholic Church and as they struggle to pay their bills and get by, they've grown increasingly uncomfortable about the tax breaks and special privileges enjoyed by the Church. Leonardo: If you look out of the window two kilometres from here there is St Peter's Cathedral, so we feel the power. I think everybody small or big must make a sacrifice. Claudia: If it is a sacrifice for everyone it is good. If it is only for few people it's not good. Direct from a jaunt through the prosperity and optimism of Germany's booming Bavarian region (A Bavarian Fairytale FC Feb 14) Foreign Correspondent's Eric Campbell fires up the gothic candle, lifts the heavy latch and heads into the labyrinth of the Church's coffers to examine if it has been playing things by the Book. Along the way he discovers evidence that all's not above board and meets critics who say so, particularly when it comes to the Church's extensive real estate holdings and hotel operations. 'The councils that could collect (property) tax estimate they're losing 400m to 700m Euros every year. Another estimate from a research company which investigates tax evasion is 2.2 billion Euros every year.' - Stefano Livadiotti, Author. And while the Government has announced the Church will be captured by changes to the tax regime it's not exactly a red-hot agenda item at top of the to-do list. 'The church is not the problem of Italy right now. For Italy accumulating debt or Italy not growing very fast. So ah frankly it's not on the top of our agenda because it's not a top problem.' - Deputy Finance Minister, Vittorio Grilli.
Audience Classification NC ACMA.
Other author Campbell, Eric, host.
Bagnaso, Angelo, contributor.
Grilli, Vittorio, contributor.
Livadiotti, Stefano, contributor.
Peruzzi, Claudia, contributor.
Peruzzi, Leonardo, contributor.
Ricci, Barbara, contributor.
Staderini, Mario, contributor.
Urbanati, Mario, contributor.
Subject Church and state -- Catholic Church.
Church property -- Taxation.
Dollar -- Economic aspects.
Economics -- Religious aspects.
Tax evasion.
News and Current Affairs.