Republican Italy has known three large building amnesties and a slew of tax amnesties. From the first building amnesty, in 1985wanted by the government led by the socialist Bettino CraxiMinister of Public Works, the Social Democrat Franco Nicolazzi, to the rule included in the decree law that the government will approve tomorrow to extend the bill bonuses, which contains a cheap amnesty in favor of traders and self-employed people who have committed irregularities on receipts and invoices from 1 January 2022 to 30 June 2023.
After the first building amnesty in 1985 there were two others, both launched by governments led by the founder of Forza Italia, Silvio Berlusconi. In 1994 and 2003. In all, more than 15 million questions (and it is estimated that several million are still pending, especially in the Southern regions). Numbers that convey the dimension of the phenomenon well. Which is not tamed at all, if in the Report on Fair and Sustainable Wellbeing Indicators 2023, presented by the Minister of Economy Giancarlo Giorgetti, we read that the illegal building index, despite having fallen in recent years, is still high: it was almost 20% in the three-year period 2015-17, falling to 15% in 2021 (for every 100 buildings authorized by the municipalities, 15 are illegal).
With the latest building amnesty it was possible to request regularisation, under certain conditions, of works completed before 31 March 2003. In recent years the expectation of a new amnesty has never faded in a part of the electorate and has strengthened since the center-right has been in government. For this reason, the mention made yesterday by the Northern League leader and Infrastructure Minister, Matteo Salvini, to remedy the small building irregularities did not go unnoticed. The deputy prime minister, true, did not use the word pardonbut the subsequent clarifications from the League, which talks about remedying minor abuses, without prejudice to the principle of zero tolerance on seismic constraints, do not dispel all doubts about the minister’s real intentions.
After all, Italy is the country of amnesties. Almost all governments have not resisted the temptation to raise money with amnesties of various types. It’s difficult to list them all. The research office of the CGIA of Mestre, a few years ago, came to the conclusion that between tax amnesties, construction, tax shields, voluntary disclosure on capital hidden abroad, scrapping of tax bills and more, the State had collected 132 billion euros in 45 years, that is, little more than what tax and social security evasion takes away from the treasury in a single year. There is certainly one constant: amnesties and amnesties have always brought in much less than expected, instead increasing the certainty among tax evaders that they would not be punished.