Italy’s Tax Evaders Labeled as Parasites

August 9, 2011 Taxation in Italy

"Parassita della società"Italy is taking an unconventional approach to battling tax evasion, with a new advertising campaign which tries to change the country’s perception on tax compliance and calls tax evaders “parasites”.

From August 9th Italian taxpayers are set to be faced with a brand new anti-evasion advertising campaign to attack tax evaders, with billboards publicly decrying those who evade taxes as “parasites on society”. The campaign will be divided into two separate themes, with additional media coverage to illustrate the extensive benefits of paying taxes, including expanding the educational and health systems, and improving national infrastructures. Challenging the long-standing public perception in Italian society of tax evaders as “crafty” individuals, the television, radio and billboard advertisements will illustrate tax dodgers in a grotesque caricatural manner as parasites sucking resources from the social system and making no positive contribution to society.

The new advertisements were headed by the international advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, and commissioned by the Italian Revenue Agency, the Ministry of Economy and Finance of Italy, and the Publishing Department of the Prime Minister. According to a statement released by the Revenue Agency, the new campaign is intended to fundamentally change the way that taxpayers think about their tax obligations. Initially the billboards with the new advertisement will be displayed at major railway stations across Rome and Milan, as well as across Italy’s major newspapers, television channels, and radio stations.

Image by Italian Revenue Agency