Impossible life of an entrepreneur
In Italy there are less than 100 marketing research institutes (source: 2007 Assirm Census; Assirm is the only Italian Association of marketing research companies).
Persone Stefano Filippi, Vincenzo Freni, June
Luoghi Italia, Europa, Stati Uniti d'America, Florence
Organizzazioni Provincial Tax Commission, Italian Association
Argomenti commercio, impresa, marketing, pubblicità
Questo comunicato è stato pubblicato più di 1 anno fa. Le informazioni su questa pagina potrebbero non essere attendibili.
Impossible life of an entrepreneurDear Mr. Filippi,
I am the founder of a market research institute in
Florence, probably the only one in Tuscany, Freni
Marketing Research, a microenterprise with 2
For the year 2006, I was submitted to a
presumptive assessment, on the basis of 2006
“Business Sector Analysis SG41U �“ Marketing
Studies and Opinion Polls”. According to the
presumptive assessment, I would have hidden from
the IRS - in a single year - more than 130,000
euros of turnover.
In June 2009 I was summoned to be heard to
"represent facts, circumstances, situations" to
justify the difference between my 2006 tax return
and the amount resulting by the presumptive
On that occasion, I presented a defence where I
explained the mistakes of the presumptive
assessment. In fact, the Business Sector Analysis
where I was clustered was made up of over 1700
taxpayers. In Italy there are less than 100
marketing research institutes (source: 2007
Assirm Census; Assirm is the only Italian
Association of marketing research companies). There are no 1700 marketing research institutes even in the
whole Europe, nor in the USA. Furthermore, only a dozen marketing research institutes have a turnover of
less than 5 million euros and can be clustered in my Business Sector Analysis. All the other companies
included in my sector perform different activities (direct marketing, viewing facilities, catering, call
centres, psychologists, interviewers, etc.), that are also conflicting with marketing research which, unlike
direct marketing, cannot perform sales activities or prospecting buyers. Of course, activities related to
sales are more common and much more gainful than marketing research, which is just a cognitive
After 15 months, I am summoned to Room 314 of the IRS in Florence, Panciatichi Street. The officer starts
reading a proposal for a "simplified closure of the tax dispute" with an " about 50% discount". The amount
I should pay is not said out loud, she only shows me a paper with the unsaid sum written in, a kind of
I asked to talk about my statement of defence instead, which was defined by the officer as "not relevant". I
reaffirm my non-adherence to SG41U Business Sector Analysis , that doesn’t describe my business at all.
In answer, I was also invited to leave Italy and move abroad, if I was not satisfied.
However, according to officers, my objections to this business sector study were inadmissible because the
analysis was developed with the collaboration of the professional association representing my business,
which gave its approval by endorsing it.
The statements of IRS in Florence were denied by Assirm, who had never even been informed about SG41U
study; successively, Assirm sent various registered letters to SOSE (the company who process the Sector
Analysis) declaring that the Analysis was statistically wrong starting from its basis (they released me an
officer statement about).
I informed the officers about my availability to check one by one the names of the other companies within
my cluster (homogeneous group) to show them they were not marketing research institutes (my business
sector is small, we all know each other). Officers denied to let me know the names of the other companies
for "privacy" reasons!
According to IRS in Florence, the fact that I had been forced to reduce my staff from 4 to 2 employees had
no relevance. It also had no relevance that in 2006 I have had cardiac surgery for the application of 2
coronary stents (heart ischemia after myocardial infarction).
Instead, they let me understand with allusive words that I could be granted with an additional 30%
discount of the inductive assessment. When I refused, the team leader of Room 314 explained that the office
was obliged to charge me with the further evidence of tax evasion, the uneconomic performance of my
company. The 22,000 euros I paid as advanced taxes a few weeks before had for them no relevance, too!
The cross-examine ended with my request for a copy of the "transaction" they proposed to me - the
"bribe"- by my request was denied by the officers ("It is an office internal document").
Why did I refuse the "transaction"? Because I have always paid all taxes due, and I cannot do otherwise: in
marketing researches sector we only work with companies and there are no possibility to avoid invoicing
or to under-invoice! A few weeks ago I attended an Assirm conference about our Business Sector Analysis;
I told my case arousing incredulity. The bewildered representative of one of the major research institutes
said : “But what are we talking about? I’ve never heard about a company in our field who could renounce
to the invoice!”
I appealed against the assessment notice to the Provincial Tax Commission, which gave reason to the
Inland Revenue Office. Since the Room 314 officers said they assessed my defense and founded it
inadequate, the judgment shows that I have not been able to explain the difference between my income tax
return and the presumed amount of the inductive assessment according to SG41U Business Sector
Analysis. The assumption is, in fact, the impartiality of Public Administration, which do not have personal
reason to pursue a honest taxpayer.
The reality is quite different: Inland Revenue officers have clear revenue targets to be achieved and they
are "encouraged" with end-year bonuses! They act as true advocates of the Treasury, that - evenly and
with impunity �“ state the false to win disputes that should have lost!
At present, I’m waiting for the outcome of the re-appeal with over 200,000 euros to be paid to IRS (interest
raise up very fast), a sum that would force me to dismiss my last 2 employees and ends my company. In
this way, after almost 30 years, the only one marketing research institute in Tuscany will disappear.
Yes, I asked myself if this is the actual purpose of the persecution I'm experiencing ...
Thank you for your attention,
(Stefano Filippi - Il Giornale - 17/04/2012)
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