Can you imagine knowing how much all your friends, neighbors and coworkers make?
Italy’s IRS created a grand snooping opportunity Wednesday when it posted on its Web site the taxable income of just about every Italian citizen – for a few hours. There was a huge outcry, and the tax collector had to take the information down, NPR reports. Listen to the piece here.
According to BBC, the release of the information was one of the last acts of the outgoing center-left government and has shocked many tax-shy Italians. But it was also hugely popular, and within hours the site was overwhelmed and impossible to access.
According to an Italian government report from 2007, the amount of unpaid tax in the country is equivalent to 7% of gross domestic product. The finance ministry described the move as a “bid to improve transparency”.
I don’t think this kind of “transparency” generally goes over well.