Italy has one of the hardest taxation in Europe. I would estimate that Italy is among the top five when it comes to taxation. Sometimes this hardness is a bit exaggerated; as two years ago then I paid, I would say about 150% taxes. This meant that my husband paid my taxes. This situation aroused because that particular year my incomes as a freelance translator diminished drastically. Then I told my bookkeeper that it is ridiculous to pay all these taxes she replied that it is simpler to pay these taxes and then later on get them back. Due to this 150% taxation, I have had after that all the time credit to the state, so all my real estate taxes, VATs etc. have been paid by this credit.
A week ago, my bookkeeper called and informed that there are some problems with my incomes. In Italy somebody has developed „studi di settore“, this means that every year I am supposed to compile some papers and tell how many words I have translated, how many pages, how many hours I have worked, if my clients are Italian or foreigners and from which regions (if Italian) or from which country (if foreigners). Therefore, I have calculated the word amount based on my invoices. I know how much clients pay on average per word, so no problems. Now it resulted that with this amount of words authorities have decided that I have to earn certain amount of euros. Unfortunately, they estimate that my incomes should be double. Then they have also decided that if I work tot weeks a year I have to earn certain amount of euros. Somehow, I started to feel that in some aspects Italy is a totalitarian country. Anyway, there was this problem. To resolve it I could either stick to my numbers and then authorities would make a deeper investigation and the result might be that they anyway do not believe me and I should pay more taxes and some fines. The other possibility is that I sign a document, change my information that I gave in studi di settore, and agree that I pay taxes for double of the sum that I really earned. My bookkeeper said that this is better because in that way authorities do not start to investigate my business. Therefore, this year I pay taxes from my real incomes and then from ghost incomes.
This is the reason I want to change my work. Now I am seriously planning to shut my VAT number, because I cannot find any idea paying 100% taxes – last year actually I did not earn anything that I would not pay to the state. I am angry, frustrated and demoralized. Maybe it is better for the Italian state that I do not work and do not pay a cent taxes. The worst is that there are thousands of freelancers like me that have made the same decision. Then authorities wonder why in Italy there is so much grey economy. The grey economy is also the reason to my situation. Obviously authorities think that all freelancers try to hide their incomes and declare only a tiny part in the tax declaration. Actually I’m punished being honest, maybe I should really learn to act as the Italians. Anyway I think that my story as a translator has reached the end.
Grazie mille Italia!