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NAPLES, Italy — As of Feb. 1, financial transactions of more than 1,000 euros must be paid electronically in Italy — be it rent for off-base housing, buying furniture on the economy, visiting the dentist or paying the mechanic.

Italy recently capped cash transactions at 1,000 euros in an effort to crack down on tax evaders; it’s one small part of Italy’s austerity package, aimed at reducing the nation’s mounting debt.

Compliance with the law extends to U.S. and NATO personnel serving in Italy, and might apply to the buying and selling of goods and services on military bases and between Americans, Navy officials said.

Officials said they expect little inconvenience to troops, but those who now pay rent in cash will be expected to set up bank accounts for electronic transfers or pay the monthly tab via Italian postal check, officials said.

Most military bases have two or more commercial banks, and officials are exploring whether facilities such as the Navy Exchange or Army and Air Force Exchange Service might be able to provide Italian postal checks, similar to money orders.

Navy Federal Credit Union allows reoccurring transfers to external banks, but the transaction amount is capped at $2,500 a month.

Military lawyers are reviewing the measure to determine whether the law applies when buying a vehicle on base lemon lots, for example, or whether purchases equivalent to 1,000 euros at the Navy Exchange or AAFES would require an electronic payment, said Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. David Benham.

Aviano Air Base officials are restructuring their newcomers list to include information regarding the new law, and are expecting landlords to accept rent now only via bank transfer, check or postal order, said base spokesman 2nd Lt. Joseph Alonso.

For the past seven or eight years at the Army base in Vicenza, landlords’ bank information has been part of rental contracts, and renters for years have been told to pay rent via bank transfers instead of paying in cash, garrison spokesman Grant Sattler said.

“All our rental contracts are registered with the Italian finance office and landlords are liable for taxes, so paying through a bank is not an issue for [landlords],” he said.

jontzs@estripes.osd.mil


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