back to article We’re so over Uber: Italy ponders slapping taxes on workers in the ‘sharing economy’

Italy has tabled Europe’s first, and most ambitious, legislation to tax and regulate internet platforms in the so-called “sharing economy”. The “sharing economy” euphemism is misleading, as companies like AirBnB and Uber are really “resource allocation intermediaries”, and could well monopolise social infrastructure in the …

  1. OhDearHimAgain

    Tax the lot

    I don't see why it shouldn't all count as "earns for tax purposes", subject to whatever rules & exemptions may apply - why should a taxi drive pay pax, but an uber drive not??

    1. Preston Munchensonton

      Re: Tax the lot

      I don't see why it shouldn't all count as "earns for tax purposes", subject to whatever rules & exemptions may apply - why should a taxi drive pay pax, but an uber drive not??

      A taxi driver doesn't pay the same taxes as an Uber driver because they both categorize differently for tax purposes. In other words, the Uber driver will pay taxes that the taxi driver doesn't, simply because the Uber driver will need to cover any corporate taxation.

      That's a gross oversimplification, I understand. But the structure of the tax system is built to treat individuals and businesses differently. If someone decides to organize himself/herself as a business for tax purposes and put up with the paperwork tsunami that it entails, why shouldn't they be allowed to do that? If you have an answer, send it your representative and have it put in law. Otherwise, don't be so surprised when you see legal acts happening as the law permits them.

      1. Conor Turton

        Re: Tax the lot

        Here in the UK a Uber driver is required to apply for a Private Hire license and comply to all the laws and regulations of a private hire cab.

        Uber drivers don't pay taxes that the taxi driver doesn't and I have no idea where you get that idea from. Uber drivers only need to cover corporate taxation if they register themselves as a Limited Company which I doubt any will other than those who are already operating as private hire taxi firms and adopting Uber.

        1. Preston Munchensonton

          Re: Tax the lot

          Uber drivers don't pay taxes that the taxi driver doesn't and I have no idea where you get that idea from.

          It may come as a shock to you, mate, but the world is bigger than the UK. The original article was about Italy. My examples comes from the American colonies USA.

  2. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Angel

    Isn't it supposed to be all declared on Self Assessment anyway?

    Just asking...

    1. James 51 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Isn't it supposed to be all declared on Self Assessment anyway?

      It's suppose to be

      http://www.economist.com/node/16438727/

  3. LDS Silver badge

    Taxes are still a country own decision...

    I live in Italy and I would like to pay the same taxes an Irish or Luxembourg resident pays, but that's not what happens. The EU single market doesn't mean yet people working for Uber or other companies alike should not pay income taxes, or that a single state can't define what they are and what they have to pay.

    What can be hard to define is if they are self-employed or not - and thereby what taxes should be applied. Getting taxed from Uber & C. could be more difficult - but it's time to defined what kind of companies they are too and where they fit in the tax scheme.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      Re: it's time to defined what kind of companies they are too and where they fit in the tax scheme.

      And there goes their business model

      (and good riddance)

  4. hattivat

    I think it's blindingly obvious to everyone that if they get to not pay taxes, while everyone else has to do it, then it constitutes unfair competition. It's also blatant freeloading, since they are neither funding the public services they use nor paying fees for the free market replacements they would have to use instead in a turbo-capitalist utopia.

    ...everyone except Uber's senior execs, who are reportedly very much into Ayn Rand and her egoism-based "ethics".

  5. Nick Kew Silver badge

    A Big Issue.

    Indeed, if you accept the principle of taxation in the first place[1] then the rules should apply to everyone. Including Uber drivers. And Big Issue sellers, ebay traders, et al. If their overall income falls below the threshold for tax then they pay nothing, but that's a different issue.

    [1] I do, in principle. Just not the way they spend most of it in reality, nor the way they penalise hard-earned income compared to unearned income or - worst - rentierism.

    1. joed

      Re: A Big Issue.

      the Big Issue I can see here is that while the weakest party (workers scraping for extra cash) will get taxed (10%+), the taxes are much less likely to be applied to leaches overseeing the scheme (registered off-shore, tax lawyer and other usual excuses).

  6. Alister Silver badge

    Google translate seems to be very good at Italian, I can't see any errors in the quoted text at all.

    1. Keven E

      Proxy translation

      "...opens up new opportunities for growth, employment and entrepreneurship based on sustainable development economically, socially and environmentally and that itself is an approach aiming for the active participation of citizens and to building resilient communities, which can strengthen their ability to influence the course of making positive change."

      I just won bulls*** bingo.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Translation

      Actually the translation couldn't be more wrong. It actually reads:

      The total collapse of neo-liberalism has undermined workers rights and the welfare state, creating opportunities for parasitic exploitation, based on socially and environmentally unsustainable capitalism. We're going to rape the shit out of you, and stuff the ill gotten gains in the Cayman islands. And there's nothing your pussy Reygonist governments can do about it.

    3. joed
      Joke

      you may be surprised but Google has thousands of translator monkeys that have become really good at it. Obviously, employed on sharing economy paradigm and working from their home office in jungle.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    not only in Italy

    I heard they introduced the same, or similar, in Poland, either in Feb or March this year.

  8. Mpeler
    Mushroom

    Draghi - druggie?

    Considering that Italy gave us Draghi/Druggie, the fool of the seven hills and negative interest rates, why am I not surprised?

    I just hope Europe breaks up before it blows up.

    Though if they taxed avaricious, self-serving stupidity, the EU Parliament, Commission, and the thousands of associated mandarin leeches would disappear in a black hole of bureaucratic karma... now there's a thought.

  9. rtb61

    So tax the sharing economy but when it comes to multi-billion dollar corporations cheating on billions in taxes, what, that happens, surely not, nope, nope, nope, tum te te tum. Need to tax the poor more, the rich we apparently need to tax less or not at all, so say all the politicians bought off by the rich, yep uh huh.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Now you are getting it!

      Sharing economies are disruptive and scary for governments. They allow people to take their economic futures into their own hands instead of:

      a) constantly searching for underpaid, increasingly precarious employment "supplied" by companies that pay as little tax as possible.

      or

      b) queue up for social benefits while waiting for a) to re-appear

      Don't forget that as globalisation accelerates, this will get worse (or better, depending on your point of view)

      The status quo is rapidly disappearing up its own anus. Soon NO ONE will be able to afford these massive corporate welfare states. Emerging economies will probably not emulate systems that restrict opportunity and slow down growth. This will in turn force new choices onto society (and governments)

      a) Accept artificial poverty/wealth and restricted opportunities for the majority (unless you are a civil servant or politician) followed by massive civil unrest

      b) Simply return to barter and underground economics (the Italians are already used to this).

      The problem with our elected "democracies" now is that they can't accept how quickly the old models are failing. Many believe that by breaking the new models with outmoded control mechanisms, old business models will continue running on life support. They hope to keep the tax-and-spend merry-go-round running with more freshly printed money.

      But I am not sure this model can continue to work much longer. People (particularly younger people) are beginning to realize it doesn't work in their best interests.

      I suspect the traditional taxi industry will cave in to an Uber model so as to take the benefits of technology and mobility, not the other way around. Other industries will follow. Governments need to either get out of the way or figure out how to live with this new reality instead of trying to throttle it. Hopefully, there will be an app for that.

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