The Italian Almanac


The Most Hated Tax

The annual television licence fee Italian households must pay to help finance state broadcaster RAI is the country's most unpopular tax, a survey revealed. The study by the Censis research agency showed that 47.3% of Italians deemed the 110.50 euro fee to be the tax they most detested

The RAI fee was far more unpopular than the next most despised, road tax (14.5%), which was followed by property tax ICI (12.7%) and local refuse-collection duties (12.1%). Perhaps surprising, income tax IRPEF was only the most unpopular tax with 11.6%, according to the survey.

RAI obtains about half of its funding from the licence fee, with the rest coming from advertising and other sources of revenue, such as sales of the overseas rights to broadcast the TV shows and films it produces. The broadcaster is criticised on a wide variety of grounds by Italians, being blasted as too commercial by many, while others complain the schedule is not entertaining enough and there should be more Hollywood blockbusters.

Nevertheless, its TV networks perform well in the audience share ratings, with the three terrestrial channels regularly claiming more than 40% of the overall share between them. RAI also provides a number of specialist digital TV channels, including channels for children, news, films, history documentaries, an international TV service, RAI international, and several radio stations.