An article published by The Financial Times, supports the idea that the companies making monies from the digital buy/selling of goods and services should pay taxes without “eluding” the fiscal regulation. The Italian newspaper Huffington Post – and its sibling, Repubblica.it – jumped on this article using as leverage to sustain the feasibility of the infamous Italian “Web Tax” that makes mandatory to buy online advertising from companies with an Italian VAT number as a way to force (primary) Google to pay taxes in Italy.
It is astonishing – astonishing – how this people just forget that “tax heavens” and “fiscal elusion” are standard business of the whole international – and Italian – economy. Just look at which (Italian, or Italian-based) companies have a branch, a shell, or whatever “thing” the fiscal engineers have devised that are located abroad, and above all, since when. Just to name a recent court case, the “Mediaset Trial” that pushed Mr. Berlusconi out of the Italian Parliament was based on the accusation that the Italian-based media company Mediaset traded the acquisition of broadcasting rights from the USA by way of a triangulation with an off-shore company. The investigation started in 2005, way before the rise in Europe of the big digital companies.
So, my point is simple: this is the free economy and you have to live with it. You can’t both endorse “capitalism” as a way of life and complain if some companies are smarter than others, by exploiting the different way and level of taxation. To put it short, the free economy is based on difference and polarization, i.e. competition, and there is nothing that the odd-day-capitalists-even-day-communists can do, unless taking an AK-47 and start a socialist revolution against themselves.