This war was won

VAT on Tobacco

A private company takes the place of the State and uncovers another of the many Italian violations worthy of the Guinness book of Records.

According to Yesmoke’s allegations, the Autonomous Administration of the State Monopolies (Amministrazione Autonoma dei Monopoli di Stato) when regulating the privatization of the processed tobacco distribution sector, violated one of the most elementary rules of fiscal justice.

What happened

On the 27th of August 2009, Yesmoke presented a legal query to the Tax Revenue Agency of Piemonte (Agenzia delle Entrate del Piemonte) with which it asked if it had to subject to VAT the transfer to the distributor Logista, of the processed tobaccos it produces in Italy.

Logista, in fact, asserting that these transfers did not have to be subjected to VAT, would have determined the largest evasion of VAT ever experienced in Italy.

All the Italian processed tobacco suppliers, following Logista’s instructions, did not subject the transfer of their products to VAT, whereas they should have done so, because as they are private, not public companies, and possessors of an excise number, they are deposits only for excise, not deposits for VAT. Therefore, they are subject to the ordinary VAT tax regime.

Circular 16D, dated 28 April 2006, of the Customs Agency (Agenzia delle Dogane) that regulates this issue and on which Yesmoke based its query, is an important act to be followed, even if it is not a law. As a circular, it clarifies an existing law and therefore regulates both the VAT deposits instituted before the publication of the circular, as well as those instituted after its issue.

The Piemonte Tax Revenue Agency examined the question and agreed with Yesmoke’s interpretation. However, Logista Italia S.p.A. did not accept the judgment of the Piemonte Tax Agency and turned to the Central Regulatory Direction Office of the Revenue Agency to try to modify the opinion.

Italian history of the sector of processed tobaccos has effectively demonstrated that up to today a multinational company can succeed in having cancelled tax evasion worth billions of euro.

The Scam

Answering the query of three companies: Manifattura Sigaro Toscano, BAT and Logista, the National Direction of the Internal Revenue Agency (Direzione Nazionale dell’Agenzia delle Entrate) reversed the opinion of the Piemonte Revenue Office, granting the privileges that the Monopoly enjoyed to the foreigner Logista, and condemning the Italian manufacturers.

On the 15th of March 2010, the National Direction of the Internal Revenue Agency overturned the preceding opinion of the Piemonte Revenue Agency. With cravenly submissive conduct, totally compliant with the needs of the tobacco multinationals, it saved Logista S.p.A. from deserved bankruptcy granting it privileges even greater than those recognized to the Italian State Monopolies.

The Italian Monopoly, a subject that benefited from the regime of «IVA monofase» (single phase VAT) no longer exists. Law no. 76 of 7 March 1985 is clear: the Piemonte Revenue Agency had clarified every doubt. There was no need for the National Regulatory Direction of the Internal Revenue Agency (Direzione Centrale Normativa dell’Agenzia delle Entrate) to undertake to reinterpret it: “The law is to be applied to processed tobaccos destined to sale to the public in the territory subject to monopoly.”

Foreign manufacturers have taken over the Italian market thanks to privatizations made by incompetent bureaucrats, and on this occasion, the foreigners showed that they also have the power to dictate the rules.

Yesmoke Appeals to the European Court of Justice

Yesmoke will appeal to the European Court because in Italy the most elementary tax rules have been violated, and our country will certainly be convicted under European justice.

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