Oddissey of a taxpayer

I’m not used to write about politics and bureaucracy, but I think this is worth the entry…

So, to continue having a job to pay my bills, I was told to start looking for taking an identification with the Italian tax offices (a “Partita IVA”) to declare incomes and VAT paid. Now, not knowing too well how the declarations goes, I tried looking for an accountant, still knowing it could have been a quite high price… the first accountant I asked, told me of a “good price” at €700 for an year, YIKES!

Now, I had an appointment with my brother-in-law’s accountant tomorrow, but for a series of reason, I had to drop it, so I’ll be asking him in another moment. But I also wanted to take a look to what the accounting would be about, just to know if the price is right when I’m told an amount.. and where should I go, if not the site of Italian tax office

Okay, let’s go around in the documentation section, to find something.. but no, I cannot find anything; I try with the search engine of the site, and the page I need is the 6th, after two copies of two pages (one about real estates, the other about non-Italian resident people. Now, I understand that they are as important as me, but if I’m looking in Italian tax office documentation looking for “Partita IVA”, give me a pointer on what it’s needed for and how to require one!

So, the page I needed is there, under 8, yes, EIGHT subpages! If I was their webmaster, I’d have already killed myself after looking at the results, but we know not everybody has a sense of usability, or even a sense of common sense.

Now where it should explain the composition of the 11 digits of the identification number, the table is also wrong, because the cell does not span between the columns to show that the first 7 digits have a meaning, the 3 after have another, and the last one is a checksum.. But let’s ignore that. (it might be appearing correct in IE or Firefox, for what I know).

To see the important points to get the identification, I’m told to look for a certain form… too bad the link is a 404. Luckily I just need 3 subpages to find the link to the form and, in a perfect American way that remembers me when I tried to file the W-8BEN form to get paid by NewsForge (I was never able to get a cent out of them anyway), a 12 pages explanation on how to compile the form itself, with half a page “wasted” on privacy laws concerns, and the remain remaining quite vague.

At the end, you can also see that you need to declare your income online, where you can still do it with paper forms if you don’t have an identification number. And of course, the software is available… for Windows and System 9, ignoring an Italian directive that would require reuse of software as much as possible, starting from Open Source solutions, as declared by the Senator Bulgarelli, of the Italian Green Party.

I think I’ll end up asking an accountant, but it’s ridiculous that I have to spend many hundreds of euro just because our tax office does not provide enough information for a private to handle the paperwork (or the e-work) needed, or requires the user to use a software that does not run on free operating systems.