Why I'm regulating the 'sharing economy': An Italian MP explains

Stopping monopolies, protecting labour equally important

An Italian MP co-sponsoring Europe’s first legislation on “sharing economy” platforms tells us the bill ensures casual labour isn’t hit with swinging, punitive taxes.

Professional services are already covered by existing legislation, says Stefano Quintarelli, an MP Italian Parliament for the Scelta Civica (“Civic Choice”) Party founded by Mario Monti.

Quintarelli is more savvy than your average member. He founded the ISP I.Net, bought by BT in 2000, and was formerly president of the Italian ISPs association*.

In an email to The Reg, Quintarelli explains that the bill would lower taxes for low-paid casual workers whom the platforms want to attract. An adult earning €10,000 p/a would pay €1,610 today, but €700 under the cross-party legislation he co-wrote.

Quintarelli explained his regulatory philosophy in a paper for the Italian Antitrust Review last year (in English).

Casual labour must be protected, but not at the cost of creating new platform monopolies and oligopolies, he says. Internet monopolies put large areas of civic life beyond any kind of governance, he adds.

“In the immaterial dimension, vastly deregulated, extremely fast, characterized by growing returns, and which tends to grow into global monopolies or oligopolies in just a few years, positions of dominance in service intermediation of material dimension have been (and are being) created, without guarantees or obligation envisaged for analogous “former” intermediaries operating in the material dimension. I think that politics should urgently think about the subject, with an open and inclusive approach,” he writes.

Here’s his note in full.

I'm one of the MPs proposing the sharing economy bill in Italy (cc'ed honn. Veronica Tentori, Antonio Palmieri, Ivan Catalano the first underwriters of the various political groups - it's a non partisan bill, proposed by MPs of the innovation intergroup, a cross-party group of >90 MPs focused on favouring innovation).

Present due taxes are 23% up to a 15k income, with a no tax area which varies, depending on some personal parameters, but no less than 3k EUR.

So let's focus on an income of 10k as proposed in our bill.

As today, due taxes are 0% on 3k + 23% on the remaining 7k which equals 1610 EUR of taxes on a 10k income.

With our proposal it would be 0% on 3k + 10% on 7k which equals 700 EUR.

So it would be 700 vs. 1610. The reduction we propose is 910 EUR, or a reduction of 56.5% on taxes due today.

Maybe you didn't have a clear picture of the existing regulation in Italy; effectively, the proposal is to slash taxes...

Best, s.

P.s. As a matter of fact, Uber in Italy is not touched by our proposal as Uber in Italy operates only with professionals (there's no uber pop) and our bill focuses on non professional activities, as professional activities and intermediation are already covered by specific sector rules and as we want to promote opportunities to help the lower income portion of the society.


* He also writes a blog on issues of the day here (Italian and English).

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