Europe – Desperate tax authorities is raiding chic ski resorts

Italian tax agents donned skis, gloves and goggles to launch an unusual blitz in the chic ski resort of Courmayeur, two months after a similar raid on another playground of the rich, Cortina d’Ampezzo.

The crackdowns were launched at opposite ends of the Alps – Courmayeur is on the French border while Cortina is in the Dolomites range in north-eastern Italy – and are part of a growing campaign against tax evasion by prime minister Mario Monti’s government.

The raid on Courmayeur, which sits in the shadow of Mont Blanc, involved 70 agents carrying out spot checks on 30 businesses.

Inspectors in skiing gear took ski lifts up to altitudes of 3,000m to check the books of bars and restaurants, while their colleagues targeted upmarket boutiques and shops in the town.

Hanging around unobtrusively in shops and restaurants, the plain-clothes officials observed whether business owners were issuing receipts to customers or, as has been found in similar raids in Cortina, Milan, Rome, Naples and the fashionable Riviera resort of Portofino, were omitting to give out receipts in order to under-declare their earnings and cheat the tax man.

In previous raids over the last few weeks, the appearance of tax authorities prompted a sudden bout of honesty among business owners – the issuing of receipts jumped a staggering 1,000 per cent in Naples.

See the full article in The Telegraph here.