More than 80 Italians have committed suicide this year because of debts. It seems Italy may be following in the footsteps of nearby Greece, where approximately 1700 people have taken their lives (or attempted to do so) due to the euro-zone crisis; one estimate states that one person per day commits suicide in Greece. Relatives of the suicide victims in Italy believe that aggressive tactics from Equitalia, the country’s public tax collection agency, are to blame for pushing their loved ones to kill themselves. Equitalia has the task of obtaining $154 billion in back taxes and fees, and it also tacks on a 9 percent commission for handling the government’s collections. The agency also hunts down car fees and unpaid balances for private creditors, a process which can sometimes earn it up to 15% in commission. Debtors are responsible for paying excessive late fees when they miss deadlines, causing the balance due to spiral out of control. Equitalia has been the target of several attacks, including a bomb scare at its Rome headquarters and an 11-hour stand-off involving hostages at its Bergamo office. But despite the recent spate of suicides, interim prime minister Mario Monti has defended the agency’s work and blames the current economic crisis on years of tax evasion. While the country struggles, Equitalia turned a 1.29 billion euro profit in 2010. Many of the recent suicide victims were self-employed entrepreneurs who felt overburdened by the onslaught of fees. Often debts are forgiven upon death, and some victims organized their paperwork months before taking their lives in order to ensure their families wouldn’t carry the burden of their bills. The following slide show tells some of these sad, desperate stories.