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Taxmen pressure brothel raid – owner gets 15 months

by on March 12, 2009

GEORGE McCOY, of the famous McCoy’s Guides, sometimes compares the UK sex industry to the Wild West. And it’s funny, but I know exactly what he means.

Only last August, Nicky Taylor was showing us the Dagenham brothel on Channel 4 where the local police had fitted panic buttons lest any of the girls get attacked and the owner had insisted on being listed as a brothel for VAT despite their suggestions of terming her grotty Portacabin a ‘massage parlour’.

That, of course, is Essex. But in that part of Middlesex known to the Government as Surrey (Staines to be precise), trying to give the Government its share of your professed £100,000 income can land you with 15 months in the clink.

This is the fate that befell sobbing 35-year-old former street prostitute Jennifer Schott, of Twickenham, last Wednesday. According to her solicitor, Andrew Thomson, Schott “had naively filled in the tax return as she was told by workers in the sex industry if her form was filled out correctly the Inland Revenue would turn a blind eye to the nature of the business,” says the Staines Guardian.

The police had known of the Staines brothel for some time, but only acted after being “pressed” by the Inland Revenue, he said. I wonder if he had considered an ‘abuse of process’ defence (or heard of it). It sometimes applies to brothels of longstanding – I believe if the police have known of them for eight years.

The UK’s quaint, rustic, dangerous, ineffective and totally bazaar prostitution laws have long been known to have resulted in a postcode lottery over which police force might implement what, where and when. Now the game of Russian roulette seems to have spread to the taxmen. The inevitable result, of course, will be a reduction in Treasury income as brothel owners think twice about filing their returns.

Several years ago the Government evacuated its ‘Co-ordinated Prostitution Strategy’, which, among those who’ve read it, is generally thought to be the result of excessive use of confiscated crack and heroin in Marsham Street. As you can tell from the above, it has all the co-ordination one might expect from a millipede with multiple sclerosis.

As distinct from its aim of ‘disrupting’ the sex industry, it’s actual impact has been to reinforce previous suspicions that the Government hasn’t a clue what it’s doing, but is absolutely determined to spend a lot of money on it and impress the Daily Wail readers with their moral fortitude.

The message now being given to those people who provide safe environments for working girls and boys is to think very carefully how to approach the Inland Revenue, where the sign is that tax really HAS to be taxing.

As for the girls and boys themselves, whose off-street activities are perfectly legal – yes, even in brothels –  help is on hand from taxrelief4escorts and the tax page of  Support And Advice for Escorts (SAAFE).

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From → Brothel, Legislation

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