In 2019, tax evasion fell below the 100 billion threshold: is this an effect of electronic invoicing?

Tax evasion weighs heavily on public finances but in recent years the trend is improving and in 2019 fell below the 100 billion euro threshold, standing at 99.2 billion. It is underlined by the Ministry of Economybased on the processing of ISTAT data relating to the period 2014 to 2019.


A drop that does not come suddenly, however: if in 2017 tax evasion was estimated at 107 billion per year, in 2018 the value fell to 102 billion, and then fell below 100 in 2019. In particular, non-payment of VAT, one of the most evaded taxes with IRPEF (in the case of the self-employed). Considering that in 2019 the obligation to issue electronic invoice has been extended to almost all (with the exception of members of the flat-rate scheme and certain specific categories), it is conceivable that this measure contributed to less tax evasion.

Reduction in tax evasion: is this an effect of the obligation to issue electronic invoices?

According to the CGIA of Mestre, the association of craftsmen and small businesses, the drop in tax evasion is due to a series of measures, including electronic invoicing.

Between tax compliance, split payments and, from 2019, thanks to electronic invoicing, a series of taxpayers including hardened tax evaders, those who have received payments from the state for a service or work rendered and n then failed to pay the VAT and, finally, the professionals of the so-called “carousel scam” were made to repent. Not only; even the slight reduction in taxes recorded in recent years has certainly had a positive effect on revenue. Although it is still quite insufficient, the reduction in the tax burden has contributed to reducing fraud, in particular that known as “survival”“, we read Note of the association, which however reports figures slightly different from those of the MEF, which turns out to be more optimistic and indicates a shortfall of 80 billion euros (against the 99.2 estimated by the MEF).


Regardless of the results of the Istat-based calculations, however, it is clear that the trend is positive and that tax evasion is decreasing, albeit slowly. Still according to the CGIA, in 4 or 5 years it would even be possible to halve tax evasion in Italy, which would thus be in line with the European average, but to achieve this objective it would be necessary to cross-check information from them more effectively 161 tax databases in the hands of the financial administration, as well as the search for a solution to the loss of revenue from the e-commerce giants. It’s worth pointing out that Amazon and other multinational corporations aren’t technically avoiding taxes, they’re just dodging them, which is perfectly legal.

Here again, the CGIA note underlines a significant point: “if many taxpayers have begun to behave correctly vis-à-vis the tax authorities, it is also because in recent years those who have been called upon to spend public money have finally begun to do so with caution. Of course, there is always waste and wastage, God forbid, but evasion can also be combated by rationalizing public spending“.

The CGIA also goes so far as to dispel the received idea according to which 90% of the IRPEF are paid by employees and retirees, which implies that craftsmen and VAT numbers in general are inveterate fraudsters: “We allow ourselves to recall that this assertion is totally misleading, because it implies that in Italy only two categories of taxpayers would pay almost all of the Irpef: those cited above. In reality, whoever repeats this obviousness is “victim” of a serious statistical/interpretative blunder. If, in fact, it is clear that more than 82% of personal income tax (and not 90%) is paid to the public treasury by pensioners and employees, it is because these 2 categories represent nearly 89% of the total persons liable for personal income tax present in Italy. If you want to highlight the imbalance in the tax burden related to personal income tax, the “right” methodology is to calculate the average amount paid by each taxpayer belonging to each of the 3 main types of taxpayers in the tax on natural persons: the self-employed, employees and retirees. By applying this method, based on the latest data available on income for 2018 (source: Ministry of Economy and Finance), it appears that, on average, retirees pay an annual net tax on income of 3,173 euros , employees 4,006 euros and entrepreneurs/self-employed. employees of 5,741 euros“.

This does not mean that the phenomenon should be underestimated, on the contrary, the CGIA itself recalls that “tax evasion in Italy exists and is present in all professional categories, therefore, even among the self-employed and entrepreneurs. We must therefore oppose it wherever it hides, without accusing anyone, and even less by the erroneous interpretation of very partial data”.

electronic billing agency

Admittedly, the introduction from 2022 of penalties for merchants who do not accept payments by credit or debit card represents progress in the fight against fraud.

Electronic invoice also for packages? Probably yes, but from 2024

To date, only a few categories are excluded from the electronic invoicing obligation, and these are mainly pharmacies and medical establishments (for understandable confidentiality issues) and those who adhere to the flat-rate scheme, which provides for a tax lump sum instead of the IRPEF of 15% (5% for the first 5 years of activity). From 2024, however, even the latter could be obliged to issue only electronic invoices: the EU has indeed given the green light.

It must be said that today already those who adhere to the package can, if they wish, issue electronic invoices, also obtaining some advantages, including the reduction of 5 to 4 years of tax periods. From our point of view, however, the main advantage of issuing electronic invoices is that it allows you to take a step forward in the path of the digital transformation of companies. By digitizing invoicing data, it is in fact possible to eliminate paper and manage tax and bureaucratic processes more efficiently, to the benefit of productivity.