Prostitutes in Italy fight for right to pay tax and qualify

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Prostitutes in Italy fight for right to pay tax and qualify

Unread post by zeru » 20 Feb 2014 15:39

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As thousands of cash-strapped Italians take to the streets to protest against their tax bills, a small group of earners who have never paid a penny in tax are instead demanding their right to contribute to the nation’s coffers.
Prostitutes up and down the country are fighting against a tax code that does not recognise their profession, even though paying for sex is legal, leaving them no chance to pay a cut of their earnings to the tax man and qualify for a pension.
“It is the height of hypocrisy that what I do is legal, but I cannot pay tax on it,” said Efe Bal, 36, a Turkish transsexual prostitute who staged a naked protest in the rain outside the offices of Italian daily newspaper Corriere della Sera on Wednesday, delivering a tirade to two nervous-looking policemen as she barely covered herself with a full-page ad she had taken out in the paper the previous day.
Bal, a sex worker who has written a book called What Husbands Don’t Say, has been plastering Milan, her hometown, with posters for months offering to pay tax.
What has really irked prostitutes is that, in a bureaucratic twist, the tax office has now decided to fine them for tax evasion, even though it has given them no way of paying tax.
Bal said she had decided to step up her protest after receiving fines worth €450,000 (£370,000). “It was calculated on payments into my bank account between 2008 and 2012 but didn’t discriminate between earnings and the sale of property,” she said.
Carol, 54, a Verona-based prostitute born in Ethiopia said she had been treated like an “extraterrestrial” and sent packing when she offered to pay taxes at her local tax office only to receive a bill for €70,000, based on a year’s earnings. “That is an exaggeration since I work on the streets and earn €40,000,” she said.
“I escaped the war in Ethiopia for a better life and now they are massacring me – I will never have a pension,” she added.
Sandra Yara, a Brazilian former prostitute who is now married, said she had been surprised to receive a bill for €50,000 after being told by her local chamber of commerce that her work could not be categorised.
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