The sale of sexual services, which unlike the purchase of such services is legal in Sweden, is to be taxed like any other service, the Swedish Tax Agency said in a statement on Monday.
In Sweden, it is legal to sell sexual services but illegal to purchase them as prostitution is considered a form of violence against women and is regulated through a unique legal framework known as the “Swedish or Nordic Model.”
“We must comply with the tax laws that the parliament decides on. There is no room for interpretation of the law,” the Swedish Tax Agency said in a statement published on its website Monday, noting that it should be taxed like any other sale of services.
“Anyone who has income from the sale of sexual services is legally obliged to declare the income in their tax return and can pay their tax to their tax account. It is possible to pay the tax continuously during the tax year or in connection with the submission of the tax return”, it adds.
This approach aims to address the power imbalance inherent in prostitution and protect individuals vulnerable to exploitation. The law also includes provisions for supporting individuals who wish to exit the sex industry, offering them access to social services and assistance.
While the agency made it clear that tax obligations also bound prostitutes, it also expressed “sympathy and understanding” for their plight, adding that it understands that those who have income from this type of activity may find themselves in a vulnerable situation and that it “may be difficult to comply with the laws on taxation of income from services, especially given the criminal nature of the buyers’ actions”.
Prostitution falls within the jurisdiction of individual EU member states, meaning they decide how to regulate or criminalise the various related activities.
(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)
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