We wrote a blog post a while back about how to avoid being ripped off when eating in Italy. There are many suggestions we made, including knowing the differences in the prices of coffee at the bar and at a table. Also, making sure you make specific orders, rather than telling the waiter to bring “an Antipasto” to the table.
We also advised you to bring three words, Guardia di Finanza, with you if you are handed a bill that seems mysteriously exaggerated and all your polite attempts to resolve the problem fail. We explained that the Guardia, Italy’s financial police, is responsible for this. They are very interested in all financial wrongdoing in Italy. This includes ripping off people. Also tax evasion.
What does tax evasion have anything to do with your tourist meal? The receipt you received was most likely non-fiscal. This means that the establishment doesn’t pay any taxes for your meal. Meaning illegal. Meaning illegal. The photo guide to non-fiscal and fiscal receipts was included in our original post.
What’s more, since we published this post, the tax situation has changed dramatically in Italy. Berlusconi was thrown out. Monti has led a new government. Monti appears to have made it his priority, in part, to whip the economy back into shape. This includes cracking down tax evasion. There have been a variety of sting operations in the country that involved the Guardia.
What about the Italian people? Many people are supporting the effort. Puntarella Rosa is one of Rome’s most prominent food bloggers. She just launched a campaign called “No Scontrino. No Party” (no receipt. no party). The campaign’s participants are asking for a receipt each time they eat out. If they don’t get one, they will boycott the restaurant and publish the names online. The Guardia cannot be everywhere at once so those involved hope it will be one of the fastest methods to transform restaurants and Italy’s tax situation.
This campaign should be known by tourists as well. Restaurants will stay honest if they have to produce legal receipts. It helps Italy’s economy, and, as you probably know, it affects everyone.
Revealed Rome has a post about why tourists should care more about the campaign “No receipt, No party”.