Cash, a roof already changed 9 times. But the escape remains stable


We are there now. From July 1st, the ceiling for cash transactions will change again, going from 3 thousand to 2 thousand euros. It will only be a first step because from January 1, 2022, subject to second thoughts, it will still drop to a thousand euros. As it once was.

Looking back in time, you have to lose count. Over the past 20 years the cap for cash transactions has changed nine times. We went from the thousand euro, introduced by the Monti government in late 2011 and remained up to the end of 2015, up to the 12,500 in force between 2008 and 2010, passing through the 5 thousand set for two months just always in 2008. But what has happened to the shadow economy and tax evasion in recent years?

There is no precise data because black and evasion they are by definition submerged, hidden numbers. But for years Istat has estimated the weight of the so-called unobserved economy, black which then turns into tax evasion. The figure is measured as a percentage of GDP and substantially stable, around 12%. There is some deviation downwards and upwards but, at least at the first life, it does not seem to be connected to the constant movements of the cash threshold. Rather.

The unobserved economy rises from 11.4% of GDP in 2011 to 11.7% in 2012, that is immediately after the Monti government lowers the threshold to a thousand euros. It drops from 12.6% in 2015 to 12.4% in 2016, that is immediately after the Renzi government raises it to € 3 thousand. Two contradictions? Traceable payments are a good and fair thing, the underground economy contrasts by moving not one but more levers. But are we sure that, for large numbers, the fight against tax evasion passes right here?

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