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Italo TV suffers fee dodge

Viewing households evading tube tax

MILAN — The Italian Authority for Communications, which supervises the television industry, is cracking down on a massive evasion of the TV tax that helps to support pubcaster RAI.

The public net gets its revenues from advertising and an annual e97.10 ($105.50) fee that all households owning a TV are supposed to pay.

In 2002 RAI received $1.5 billion from the tax. However, 20% of all households do not honor the fee, with three southern regions virtually out of control, according to the authority. In Sicily and Calabria, the evasion rate reaches 36%; in Campania, a region of Naples, it is over 40%.

The local record is set by the Campania village of Gricignano di Aversa, where only 16% of the households pay the TV tax.

“We will launch a formal inquiry in September,” said the authority’s Alfredo Meocci, according to a report in La Repubblica.

“RAI is already suffering from a drop in its audience and advertising sales. These are temporary problems. But the massive evasion of payment is chronic. We can’t keep ignoring it.

“Italy is the most undisciplined country in Europe: Evasion in France, Germany and the U.K. is about 8%, in Sweden and Norway below 9.5%,” Meocci said.

Org wants Italy’s fiscal police to check all public venues, including hotels and bars.