Because prostitution is not a crime in Italy, earnings are considered taxable income. However, when a 32-year-old high-class call girl recently received a tax bill of 90,000 euro, she refused to pay it. The bill was based on the tax authority's estimate of her earnings, approximately 350,000 euros. The woman, a native of Uruguay who came to Italy in 2004, says that she is determined to fight the case in the courts.
She argues that she should not be expected to pay taxes for working in a high-risk industry that does not receive protection under the law: ‘I've had to protect myself. No one listened to me when I asked for help. The police said they couldn't step in unless blood was shed. And now they're asking for taxes?'
The woman's lawyer commented that if the government wanted to cash in on a prostitution tax then it should provide regulated and protected facilities for sex workers.
The incident has rekindled debate among lawmakers on the legalization of prostitution. Leftist MPs are pushing the government to ‘recognise as a profession the provision of remunerated sexual services from one consensual adult to another', while right wing politicians from the Northern League argue that the woman should be deported.
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