Taxing Sex Workers

Here’s a slightly strange announcement from HMRC: they’ve formed an ‘adult entertainment taskforce’ to clamp down on evasion by people in the adult industries. On the surface, this is reasonable. One can assume that some sex workers, especially those part-time/lifestyle ones, may not be declaring their full incomes, and this could provide valuable extra tax revenue. People should pay their taxes, regardless of how they earn their money, simple.

But there’s something just a little odd about this, especially in light of the moralistic climate that reigns right now. For example, the article estimates the size of the industry at a whopping £5 billion, which should yield BIG returns, but says HMRC have set an initial target to collect a miniscule £2.5m.

I’m somewhat cynical. Is this a new excuse to carry out raids on legal businesses that upset prudes? The Soho brothel raids of two years ago were done under the banner of ‘rescuing trafficked women’, but were in fact a cover to find (and deport) illegal immigrants, look for drugs, and clear prime property for redevelopment.

I’ll be on BBC Radio 5 Live this afternoon around 17:45 to discuss.

Source: HMRC adult entertainment taskforce to get to the bottom of tax fraud


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2 thoughts on “Taxing Sex Workers

  1. The simple answer is decriminalisation, allowing the industry to stop having to hide in the shadows and come out to play a full part. That and taxing the churches, synagogues, mosques, temples, etc. and the con-men who run them.

  2. Given George Osborne’s recent announcement re quarterly tax returns for the self-employed and small businesses, I suspect it’s as much an attempt by the Government to squeeze anyone it thinks it can intimidate easily, whilst letting the multinationals get off scot-free as usual.

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