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Italian shops and cafes closed to protest crackdown on taxes

Nearly 4 million shops, restaurants, coffee bars, and gas stations closed throughout Italy Thursday in a protest against legislation aimed at cracking down on tax cheating by businesses and professionals. Shopowners and self-employed Italians cheated the government of an estimated $35 billion in taxes last year.

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The government plan calls for store owners to report their income on the basis of receipts from supplies rather than from sales.

Workers belonging to Italy's three largest unions stayed off the job Nov. 21 to back the government measure. The current system shifts most of the tax burden onto Italy's 14 million wage earners.

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