Friday, August 10, 2007

MotoGP: Shock As Italian Charged With Tax Fraud

The world has been rocked by something we never thought we would see happening: an Italian man has been accused of failing to pay his taxes.
The man, thought to earn a living by riding a blue and white motorcycle slightly slower than another man riding a red motorcycle, in addition to selling a line of yellow clothing and accessories, has run afoul of the Italian authorities. Up until now, the rest of Europe gazed enviously at our Italian neighbours, and not just because they are so damned stylish. They also had a relaxed attitude towards paying tax, which was surprising as the country has a reputation for slapping taxes on everything imaginable.
In the past, Italian men avoided taxes with such elegant ruses as building gorgeous supercars with puny 2 litre engines so they would be taxed at a much lower rate. These days, the classy tax evader about town evades tax by moving to a different town. London, to be precise.
The UK tax authorities have a slightly different attitude than many other countries. Foreigners can reside in the UK without being legally domiciled there. This means that they do not pay tax on their worldwide earnings, which is useful when you have 60 million Euros on its way into your bank account and you'd rather not let politicians get their sticky, lying paws on it.
In this case, the gangly, curly-haired yet effortlessly cool Italian man in question has been accused of claiming to live in London, making him eligible to legally avoid paying tax there, yet really living in Italy. The fact that this man has millions of Euros worth of houses, cars and boats in Italy and spends a lot of time there has been taken as evidence that he really lives in Italy, and just keeps a house in London as a ruse to pay the UK's tax rate for non-domiciled foreigners. This was largely designed for billionaire Russian football club owners as it involves paying 40% of everything you earn in the UK, while the authorities couldn't care less about anything earned outside the UK (so, those 60 million foreign Euros would be charged at 0% for instance).
The Italian tax authorities are unlikely to accept the man's excuses that he has to spend that money on charitable causes like buying clothes for his tubby, identically-dressed best friend, or going to exclusive holiday resorts with his new girlfriend, who has some unfortunate trouble keeping her boobs in her dress (not that I'm complaining, of course).
It is unknown how these accusations will affect the global stock markets, but sales of silly yellow hats are said to be in freefall, except for a surge in those sold to tubby Italian men wearing FIAT Yamaha team clothes despite not being team members.
I will bring more news as it unfolds.

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