Milan, November 12 - The Italian government has declared war on rampant tax evasion, Premier Mario Monti said on Monday. "Some measures adopted by the government against tax evasion may seem like war measures and, in reality, they are," Monti said at an event organised by the Financial Times. With cash needed to haul Italy out of the debt crisis, Monti has launched a big drive to reduce widespread tax evasion. This has featured high-profile operations at luxury resorts and exclusive stores and nightclubs in big cities and a hard-hitting TV advertising campaign. Italy's inland revenue agency, the Agenzia delle Entrate, has also introduced a new system to find evaders by cross-checking incomes and spending. But there has also been a backlash, with tax collectors becoming hate figures for many people. Tax agency offices have suffered a number of letter-bomb attacks in various parts of the country. A number of recent suicides have been linked to tax bills people were unable to pay.
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di Giovanni Pastore