The Ozone hole is shrinking!

The Ozone hole is really shrinking!  In times of daily bad news on almost everything it is definitely a piece of real GOOD NEWS!

Some history: in february 2013 the European Space Agency released a report that was commented positively by scientific blogs as –> observations from late 2012 were showing a progressive shrinking of the ozone hole, as a result of the chlorine gas restrictions established by the Montreal protocol in 1987. However, later that year, some NASA experts seemed to hold differently. They argued that, though the “hole” was in fact shrinking, there was no real evidence that (1) this was due ti the CFC reduction and (2) the ozone layer was not simply “redistributing itself” this partially covering the hole (–> here). It is not easy to quickly grasp the reason of such opinion from the official NASA ozone watch website (–>here), and I leave to better meteorologists than me to explain it. In any case, the rejoice was postponed…

Now, on July 1st the United Nation Environment Programme released a report that clearly and most officially states that the depletion of the Ozone layer has stopped, and full recovery will occur by 2050 or so (official doc. –>here, and UNEP website –> here)! As I’m not a fan of the conspiracy theory, “I want to believe” that finally some good news has come out and, you know, I’m so glad it has nothing to do with religious beliefs, conflicting food-related taboos or exoteric stuff. Just plain, good, old-fashioned, galilean SCIENCE!.

The piece of news was re-bounced today by Italian newspapers (see –> here). I truly hope it will spread at least as quickly as the news about financial disasters. (you may say/ I’m a dreamer…)

Sul contribuente l’onere di dimostrare l’esistenza del soggetto cui abbia pagato fatture

La Corte di Cassazione, nell’Ordinanza n. 17918 del 13 agosto 2014, commentata dall’Agenzia delle Entrate con (comprensibile) soddisfazione su FiscoOggi del 4 settembre, ha ribadito una linea di pensiero “latente” nella giurisprudenza tributaria dal 2008: è onere del contribuente che riceve una fattura il verificare se il soggetto che ha emesso la fattura esista e sia un soggetto passivo IVA, altrimenti… (seguono le consuete bibliche piaghe).

La questione è grave, in quanto il punto di partenza è che “In tema di Iva, nelle cd. “frodi carosello”, il meccanismo dell’operazione e gli scopi che la stessa si propone (acquisizione di materiali a prezzi più contenuti al fine di praticare prezzi di vendita più bassi, con alterazione a proprio favore del libero mercato), fanno presumere la piena conoscenza della frode e la consapevole partecipazione all’accordo simulatorio del beneficiario finale”. In altre parole, il contribuente si supponeva che sapesse, e che partecipasse al progetto fraudolento, a prescindere dal fatto che avesse ricevuto fatture regolari.

In altri termini: l’Agenzia potrà disconoscere le fatture per operazioni “convenienti” registrate e messe a costo; l’imprenditore dovrà dimostrare che “non poteva accorgersi” della frode, e questo tanto a fini IVA (sentenza del 2008) tanto ai fini delle imposte sul reddito (impostazione dell’ordinanza, si attende la sentenza). Bingo. L’interpretazione italiana dello Stato di diritto inizia a mostrare invero risvolti preoccupanti se, nel momento in cui vengono potenziati di molto i poteri di indagine (e di interpretazione) dell’Erario vengono anche ridotti progressivamente i diritti della difesa…

Pubblicato in Tax

The privacy of a suspect is anyway the privacy of a citizen

This is for Italian readers only – In a recent, gruesome murder case (the assassination of young Yara Gambirasio –> see the story), a suspect has been  identified after long investigations; however, once his name has been made known, although he was still a suspect, not even indicted, his name and picture, and even his relatives’ were immediately put on the front page of virtually every newspaper in Italy (web included). This was -irrespective of the fact that eventually he might be indicted, and/or convicted for the murder- a grave violation of his right of non-interference with his personal life and, what is graver, of his relatives’. The Italian Data Protection authority has condemned this very thoughtless behavior of the press. It was hard time! (see the communication –> here). Let me say that the right to a defense and a fair trial should be taken at least as seriously as the other rights set by the Convention Europèenne de Droit de l’Homme, including the right to a free information. In fact, the press must be the watchdog of power, not the hound of citizens, or we’ll be suddenly back to Judge Linch law.

Government changes mind on possible seizure of home dwellings for tax debt

Right or wrong (sadly, often wrong) my Country. On 22 June 2013, Govt announced a moratorium on possible seizure of home dwellings by the executive arm of the Inland revenues office. Being a moratorium, it was intended that it was supposed to operate for the past. Now, during a question time, Govt declares the opposite: seizure can occur if the foreclosure was initiated before 22 June 2013. (–> here).

Pubblicato in Tax

Bad debt write-offs simplified for FY 2013

The Italian Budget Statute (Legge finanziaria 2014) has introduced a strong simplification for the write-off of bad debts (i.e. those credits that cannot be cashed). A change in article 105 of TUIR (income tax restatement code) has introduced the principle whereby an entity that applies the Italian National Accounting Principles (GAAPs) can set at loss (write-off) bad debts at the time of deletion from the balance sheet without further proving that the credit is certainly irrecoverable. This second rule (previously the general case) implied regularly the need of involvement of third parties such as an attorney in order to acquire enough elements of security on the fact that the loss was…a total loss.

In other words, the old rule whereby the accountant could not “self-certify” the loss of a credit, will be replaced by an opposite one. A case-study is given by an interesting article on “ilSole24Ore” —> here.

It has to be noted that the elements leading to such evaluation of non-recoverability of a bad debt shall in any case be subject to scrutiny by the tax authorities. Moreover, it has to be noted that the new rule does not apply to taxpayers that operate under International Accounting Standards (IAS). This last point is curious; it should be considered that companies apply the IAS when they are under a non-Italian holding or they consolidate accounts coming from more than a member State of the Union. Exclusion of IAS-based companies from the new simplified rule could thus be considered as a measure contrary to the freedom of establishment (artt. 49-55 TFEU).

Pubblicato in Tax

Il Garante Privacy annuncia il piano ispettivo per il 1. semestre 2014

Il Garante per la Protezione dei Dati Personali, nella sua newsletter n. 384 del 25 febbraio 2014 ha annunciato il piano ispettivo per la prima metà dell’anno. L’attenzione dell’Autorità si concentrerà su

  • grandi banche dati pubbliche;
  • gestione delle reti pubbliche di accesso a Internet in wi-fi;
  • marketing telefonico;
  • mobile payment;
  • call center delocalizzati in Paesi extra Ue;
  • sistemi di profilazione dei consumatori;
  • aziende farmaceutiche;
  • centri di assistenza tecnica e recupero dati.

Il piano ispettivo è lo strumento attraverso cui il Garante pianifica l’attività di controllo sulla compliance privacy pur in assenza di ricorsi, reclami o segnalazioni.

Nella stessa newsletter, il Garante indica che, rispetto al 2012, gli accertamenti sono cresciuti del 4%, mentre i procedimenti sanzionatori sono aumentati del 47%, emessi principalmente in materia di telemarketing. Da questi dati emerge che, lungi dall’essere l’Italia uno Stato che tutela “troppo” la privacy, impedendo alle aziende di funzionare, viceversa è caratterizzata da un approccio molto ragionevole di contemperazione delle esigenze della produzione con quelle della vita privata dei cittadini.

ECJ decision in “Digital Rights Ireland” strikes down “data retention directive”

The European Court of Justice, in its Judgment in Joined Cases C-293/12 and C-94/12 “Digital Rights Ireland and Seitlinger and Others”, has declared data retention directive invalid.

The directive (Directive 2006/24/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 15 March 2006 on the retention of data generated or processed in connection with the provision of publicly available electronic communications services or of public communications networks and amending Directive 2002/58/EC), according to the judgement (yet unpublished, here you find the press release anticipated by Wired) infringes article 52 of the EU Rights Charter and cannot therefore be upheld. This decision is welcome from a citizen rights’ perspective, but it raises some doubts in terms of security, if we consider that justice-controlled data retention is (was?) one of the major tools given to communications police authority to track down not only intellectual property infringements, but much more hideous crimes such as pedo-pornography. Again, we face an issue: chasing the thieves or locking the house. This round was against chasing the thieves. Let’s hope the answer is not locking the house, so that fewer people can go outside in the brave outer world.

Fermo amministrativo del veicolo solo se proporzionato al debito

Per la CTR Liguria (febbraio 2014), l’applicazione del fermo amministrativo del veicolo in presenza di un esiguo debito fiscale costituisce misura sproporzionata e dunque è nullo per difetto di motivazione. This is left in Italian only, due to the minor interest for international readers (who probably will never have the problem…).

Del provvedimento danno notizia diversi siti di aggiornamento sui diritti del cittadino (ad esempio, –> qui).

Un approfondimento (4.4.2014)

La decisione, va aggiunto, non è priva di precedenti, per quanto non recentissimi. Nel 2004, infatti, i tribunali di Vibo Valentia e di Tropea, con sentenze analoghe, (ambedue 12/1/2004, avevano statuito che “È illegittimo il fermo amministrativo di un autoveicolo – disposto ai sensi dell’art. 86, comma 1, D.P.R. 29 settembre 1973, n. 602, come modificato dall’art. 1, comma 2, lett. q), D.Lgs. 27 aprile 2001, n. 193 – siccome lesivo del diritto del debitore di disporre dell’unica autovettura in suo possesso per soddisfare le proprie esigenze di vita quotidiana (pregiudizio non riparabile per equivalente, in quanto non commensurabile in denaro) oltre che diretto ad imporre al debitore un sacrificio sproporzionato rispetto all’ammontare del credito fatto valere.” (Dir. e Prat. Trib., 2005, 2, 979).  Ad oggi non risultano al riguardo pronunciamenti delle corti superiori. La Corte Costituzionale, più volte investita di questioni di legittimità proprio su questo punto, non è però stata in condizioni di esprimersi: in ben tre casi, infatti, (Corte cost., Ord., 07-11-2008, n. 364, Corte cost., Ord., 24-04-2002, n. 136, Corte cost., Ord., 23-07-2001, n. 278), in materia di fermo amministrativo di veicoli, le questioni sollevate dai giudici di merito non sono state ritenute rilevanti ai fini della decisione della controversia che pendeva dinanzi al giudice, con conseguente ordinanza di manifesta inammissibilità della questione, e conseguente rigetto. Nel caso della ordinanza 364 del 2008, questo è particolarmente seccante, perché la questione sarebbe stata molto affine al caso in discorso.


Italian judicial geography changes.

D.Lgs. 19 febbraio 2014, n. 14 published on 27 February 2014 enacts a deep change in Italian judicial geography, reducing dramatically the number of Courts in ordinary. The spirit of this reform is drastically simplifying in order to (surprise, surprise) reduce costs for the administration. Contrariwise, it “takes the risk” (read: it introduces the fact) of an increase of costs for the citizen in accessing justice. Less tribunals means more workload for the existing ones (that are already undersized), and more physical distance between the citizen an his judge in civil cases; this results immediately in an increase of transportation costs for all notifications and services. There is room to believe that we’re facing a new way to socialization of losses. In fact it is hard to believe that the amount in budget reduction (let’s call it “budget savings”) will be higher than the sum of the increase of costs of justice for the  general public (the “public losses”). The global result will then reasonably be “less service for same money” or even “less service for more money”, if you consider the cost for the citizen.

Italian budget cuts carve into Internet police. And this is not a good thing

The “spending review” (i.e. the action Italian Govt is leading in order to reduce unproductive expenses in National budget) is worryingly leading to a cut in the information police services. 73 out of 76 local section of the “polizia postale” are planned for shutdown. Considering that this specialized police is conceived for “ex post” police activity against cyber-crimes, the predictable effect can be a limitation “ex ante” of the rights of Internet users: less internet activity means less chances to commit crimes. So, instead of having police run after cyber-criminals and protect users, we might have less user rights in order to have to spend less in crime protection. At the end of the day, you’d need no car-theft protection in a world that abolishes the wheel. A Turkish way to Internet security, if you want… Not exactly the right approach for a forward-looking Country. Italian police Unions are raising shouts to try and avoid such poor result, but financial “advisors” seem stronger. So to say: excel spreadsheets win over web 2.0!