Italy delayed the start of its planned Internet tax until July 2014,
approved billions of euros in business and welfare measures and extended
a ban on media cross-ownership in a final package of year-end
legislation approved on Friday.
The launch of an Internet tax,
sometimes dubbed the "Google tax", passed this week by parliament, will
be postponed until July, 1, 2014, Prime Minister Enrico Letta's office
said in a statement. The delay should ensure it can be more closely
coordinated with other European countries.
(Also see: Italy revises proposed 'Google tax' legislation, excludes goods purchased online)
The tax, designed to
ensure that companies that advertise and sell online in Italy do so only
through companies with a tax presence in the country, has been
criticized by the European Commission, which expressed doubts on its
legality before it was approved in parliament.
The delay was
contained in the so-called "Milleproroghe" ("thousand extensions"), a
catch-all decree used by Italian governments to pack in miscellaneous
pieces of legislation that must be approved before the start of the new
The package announced after Friday's cabinet meeting
included measures to allow Italy to use 6.2 billion euros in European
Union funds, which have already been approved, to help small businesses,
fight youth unemployment and help local economies by funding the
maintenance of historic sites.
It also extended provisions, which
would have otherwise expired, forbidding newspaper publishers from
operating national broadcasters. This is a highly sensitive political
issue given centre-right leader Silvio Berlusconi's extensive television
The package also contained measures to shore up the
finances of the city of Rome and allow the cancellation of a number of
expensive rental contracts on buildings used by parliament and the
public service, an issue on which the government has been attacked by
the opposition 5-Star Movement.
© Thomson Reuters 2013