Italian car dealers have called on the Government to take a ''step back'' on a campaign to pull over luxury car owners and investigate them for tax fraud.A series of spectacular raids on luxury car owners in the carparks of swish Italian resorts has hurt supercar makers Ferrari, Lamborghini and Maserati, as tax cheats shy away from supercars in an attempt to avoid the attention of tax authorities. Italian car dealer association Federauto says local sales of Ferrari supercars fell 52 per cent in the first quarter of this year, while Maserati sales plunged 70 per cent.The very public crackdown on tax cheats has been compounded by heavy new taxes on luxury cars and the parlous state of the European economy.In an emailed statement, Filippo Pavan Bernacchi, head of Federauto, says: ''Extra taxes and the spectacular raids in search of tax evaders are destroying the luxury car business.''The extraordinary appeal from the industry comes after a series of raids in December and January that netted a host of tax evaders driving expensive supercars. Police set up checkpoints and took drivers' licence and registration details, which they then passed on to tax officials.Some of the drivers caught had stated incomes of less than €30,000 (NZ$48,474) a year, while one builder had no tax records and a wife on welfare support.The scheme was similar to an earlier operation run by the tax office, where officers started tracking down the owners of luxury yachts.The Italian Government estimates that tax fraud costs the country more than NZ$160 billion a year.But the crackdown is damaging the local car industry, and Fiat has warned that sales could fall to their lowest level since 1985 on the back of the European debt crisis, higher taxes and spooked tax evaders.
Roadblocks nab Ferrari tax cheats
Friday, 20 April 2012
Italian car dealers have called on the Government to take a ''step back'' on a campaign to pull over luxury car owners and investigate them for tax fraud.