Friday, July 31, 2009

Trattoria Lamarta

Map of the drive made (click here to enlarge)
I have a deep enough knowledge of Lake Como, especially, since i live there, on the side of Lecco (the setting of the famous novel by Alessandro Manzoni).
In my childhood i spent a lot of summers at Lake Maggiore, and so, somehow, i know that too.
Lake Garda, instead, was still partially unknown. Yes, i had been near to there, i visited some villages in the southern coast like Sirmione, Desenzano, Peschiera. But, although partially in my region, i have never done a thorough visit.
And so, during the weekend 24th to 26th july, R, myself, Maddie and Mr. Bentley begun to remedy this serious gap with a short holiday at Gargnano.
Of course, two days is not enough to explore the subject, but enough to have an idea about how to plan a longer holiday, not only at the lake, but also in the surrounding mountains.
During those days that area was really hot, so, in order to escape from the heat, and also for the curiosity of exploring the surrounding mountains and finding destinations for any interesting hiking paths for future excursions, on saturday evening we decided to drive into an internal road we found on the map.
We were pleasantly surprised by the truly spectacular scenery on a deserted road (looks so far from the busy tourist destinations of lake Garda!). We drove on hairpin bends rolled around canyons and gorges, coasting also the beautiful little artificial lake Valvestino and crossing it on breathtaking bridges.

The road reaches Lake Idro. To avoid also the touristic crowd of this last one, we went a little over, at Treviso Bresciano. That day we decided not to have dinner because a few hours earlier we had a very big lunch. But at that late hour in the night we were beginning to feel the need of a snack. Then the talented fingers of R began to thumb through the pages of the SlowFood guide, finding a good restaurant just right there, in the hamlet Vico. Trattoria Lamarta.
Here we were warmly welcomed, even though they were almost closing (after nine in the evening, there was no longer anybody). We ordered half a liter of red wine and a plate of cured meat of their production, really delicious. Particularly good were their lardo and prosciutto. The latter, then, I was informed that that was not prosciutto, but cured pork rib.
We chatted for a long time with the nice lady. In particular I was amazed how such a nice restaurant could survive in a place so isolated that it was empty already at nine on Saturday night.
The lady told us how, after three generations, the restaurant is still run. Nothing much has changed. Meals are all prepared from their own produced ingredients (and if they are all like those cured meats, it's worth another visit!). In particular they grow pigs and vegetables, but they also have other animals. The menu can differ from day to day but goes according to season, with no choice allowed. One can eat what is cooked that day, which in fact depends upon the butchered animals and the harvested seasonal vegetables. The lady suggests to call before if one wants to know what will be served for dinner or lunch.

We paid 15 euros. Obviously without any receipt. Given the familiar welcome we received from the lady and her kindness keeping open only for us, i didn't feel like demanding it, so it's disappointing to include also this business in my list of tax evaders.

Trattoria Lamarta
via Tito Speri, 56
Localita' Vico
25070, Treviso Bresciano (BS)
Small pets welcome only in the porch outside.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This blog is against tax dodging

I am a subordinate employee.
And so, regarding income taxes, i pay them.
I have a headache to fill out the modello 730 (the italian tax form) because I want the deductions allowed for having a home loan, and not lose them by having my taxes automatically computed. This operation is not that difficult but, as usual clumsy in bureaucratic stuff, i end up making some errors, that are regularly corrected by the kind girls at the CAAF office (the syndacate section charged to check validity of official documents).
I swear that any error is absolutely unintentional. It wouldn't make any sense in fact to try to be sneaky: the document to attach as a proof of its accuracy is the CUD (a document issued by the employer), and the numbers written on the two forms must be the same.

To tell the truth the accuracy of the data written on the 730 is immediately verifiable only for the incomes for subordinate employment. For instance, i could give private lessons of ancient Greek language, arrange small electricity works, canary petsitting, or teach hang gliding, with regular remuneration, and then i could avoid to declare it as an income. But i don't do any of those activities, believe me.

For sure i don't have the same solidarity feeling as Artemisia, who would like to pay more taxes. Instead i would prefer to pay less. But i am proud to be able to say that i never evade taxes and i am happy to pay till the last penny what is owed, to give my contribution to the community.
I'd only like that also the other members of the same community do the same.
First of all for a social reason. Since the social services are financed by the State through tax revenue, tax evasion means that services are not paid enough (and so performed with worse quality) or, otherwise, that the pressure of taxation increases (obviously for non-evaders).
Moreover, I cannot find a valid reason why, for the same income, whoever is honest will have less money, since he must provide for a part to be paid in taxes.

Italian tax system doesn't allow subordinate employees to evade taxes, while it makes it easy and lightly punished for self-employers and enterpreneurs, for the simple reason that for this last ones it's more difficult to evaluate the income.
Which, of course, doesn't mean that subordinate employees are more honest than the self employers. In fact i know some enterpreneurs that pay till the last cent, while a lot of subordinate employees do not evade only because they don't have the opportunity to, which it's far from a moral acquittal.

The ricevuta fiscale.
The taxation for a commercial business is computed on the base of the sales proceeds, or, in other words, the sum of the money coming from the sale of the products or services commercialized, in the period of one year.
The ricevuta fiscale [receipt for fiscal purposes] is an official document that is issued by the business that contains the total amount paid by the customer, the detail of all the products or services bought, the particulars of the business itself along with a progressive number and the date that unequivocally identify that receipt.
It is double-copied and written (by hand or automatically, in the form of a scontrino fiscale, by the registratore di cassa [a particular calculator/printer]). One copy is given to the customer and the other is kept by the dealer. The set of all the ricevute fiscali issued in one year is so a good enough documentation for computing the sales proceeds.

The most obvious way to evade the taxes, so, is not to issue the receipt at all, after a sale.

I don't believe that the customer should play the role of the inspector. But the receipt, that is a proof of the purchase, is the warranty that the taxes due for that good are paid, and it is a right of the consumer to control that it actually happens.
It's obvious that when a dealer does not give the receipt, in that moment he is evading his taxes. And that is a crime.
After a sale, it's normal that a dealer actually gives the good that was paid by the customer ("I'm not a cheater!"). On the other side, the customer for sure pays the good he bought ("I'm not a thief!"). I cannot understand why they feel it is allowed to pass over the receipt.

I don't know about you, but so often it happens to me that the shopkeeper "forgets" to issue the receipt.
Being that i pay my taxes, this "forgetting" irritates me so much, and when it happens, i expressly ask for a receipt. At that point they issue it, some times with an arrogant reaction. Rarely it happened that they kept refusing.
I believe that, unfortunately, the main part of consumers do not have the same "ball-breaking" nature, and at the end, for each demanded receipt, a lot of others are lost in the guilty oblivion.

I don't believe that there is a particular category of business to point the finger towards. As Maurice in his post notices, if the statistics say that the restaurants are the most impudent tax evaders, that doesn't mean that one can accuse each restaurateur to evade taxes. For example, the only one time we had dinner at Maurice's, the receipt was regularily issued. To say that the restaurant dealers are dishonest is injust towards the honest ones.

And it's just for this reason that, in my opinion, the dishonest ones should be identified. As Maurice says, "Tirate fuori i nomi e non sparate a casaccio sul mucchio" ["Quote the names and don't shoot on the mass"]. No sooner said than done. Today i start a new survey on this blog that reports the commercial business that evade the taxes. Or, atleast, that try to, when it's my turn to pay the bill. The list will appear on a proper section in the right column.

Disclaimer: I'd like to make clear that this report has nothing to do with the quality of the products.

One has to start from somewhere, and so, incidentally, it happens that the first tax evader of the list is the famous Pasticceria Vassalli, Via S. Carlo 84/86 - 25087 Salò (Brescia). R. and i entered last friday morning in the shop. We had a slice of ricotta pie, a "fruit basket" (almond-chocolate wafer filled with fruit and custard), two shakerati, two glasses of mineral water and a small pack of lemon cookies. The lady (i think she's the owner), using the registratore di cassa as a support to write on the notepad, performed the sum by hand and accepted our payment of the bill with credit card. Only after the transaction, when she was already greeting us, i demanded and obtained the receipt.