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Swedish Tax Office Targets Webcam Strippers 384

Posted by samzenpus
from the anything-for-my-job dept.
Sweden's tax authorities are cracking down on unreported webcam stripper income. They estimate that hundreds of Swedish women are dodging the law, resulting in a tax loss of about 40m Swedish kronor (£3.3m) annually. The search involves tax officials examining stripper websites, hours upon hours, for completely legitimate purposes. A slightly disheveled project leader said 200 Swedish strippers had been investigated so far, adding the total could be as much as 500. "They are young girls, we can see from the photos. We think that perhaps they are not well informed about the rules," he said.

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Swedish Tax Office Targets Webcam Strippers

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  • by Samschnooks (1415697) on Friday April 10, 2009 @11:47AM (#27533259)
    Ya know, there's these reports in the news about folks who are "breaking tax laws" and what not. Let me ask you folks this, How many of you check your local tax laws before engaging in a money making activity? I don't. I go ahead and worry about the tax consequences later.

    It's bad for an economy when an entrepreneur has to first take into consideration the taxes before engaging in a business enterprise or even consider them. That's just idiotic.

    Taxes are a necessity for a society, but when they become a burden and retard entrepreneurial activity, then its tax structure needs to be examined.

    Yes, BTW, I think prostitution should be legal.

  • by Peter Cooper (660482) on Friday April 10, 2009 @11:49AM (#27533293) Homepage Journal

    "They are young girls, we can see from the photos. We think that perhaps they are not well informed about the rules," he said.

    People are almost never well informed about the rules. When I left school, I didn't get a book of laws that informed me I'd have to pay tax (and how). The only reason I knew what to do was because I took advice from other self employed family members, so I've paid all my taxes throughout the years, no problems.

    But.. a lot of people sell things at casual sales, barter services, and do things online without paying tax. It's wrong, but I have a little sympathy for them, because this stuff just isn't taught in schools and the authorities don't go to any lengths to inform people about taxation issues. I mean, how many regular folks who barter things pay the tax on those transactions? Most people I know wouldn't even realize they have to!

  • losses, ha? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by roman_mir (125474) on Friday April 10, 2009 @11:52AM (#27533347) Homepage Journal

    They estimate that hundreds of Swedish women are dodging the law, resulting in a tax loss of about 40m Swedish kronor (£3.3m) annually.

    - same kinds of losses that RIAA and MPAA and some software firms are complaining about when they are talking about potential sales that were lost.

    I am always against taxes, these taxes are some of the more ridiculous ones.

  • Re:losses, ha? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @11:56AM (#27533411) Homepage

    I am always against taxes, these taxes are some of the more ridiculous ones.

    How do you propose paying for the high standard of living (among the highest in the world) in the Nordic countries? When I moved to Finland, I expected to feel a little irked upon seeing 40% of my income taken in taxes, but one I realized just how good we have it here, I say they could take a little more if they needed. While you personally may disagree with high taxation and wish to remain in the US (or even move somewhere cheaper), the strippers who are making loads of money without paying taxes are probably nonetheless enjoying the fruits of the welfare state, which is hypocritical.

  • Re:I Volunteer... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday April 10, 2009 @12:06PM (#27533539) Journal
    Probably for roughly the same reasons that phone support techs think that users are "idiots" and "losers"...

    Just as working phone support means dealing with the self-selected population of users-who-can't-figure-it-out-for-themselves, being in the sex industry would mean dealing with the self-selected population of men who can't, or don't want to bother, inducing people to see sex with them as something one doesn't need to be compensated for.
  • by MoellerPlesset2 (1419023) on Friday April 10, 2009 @12:10PM (#27533579)

    Ya know, there's these reports in the news about folks who are "breaking tax laws" and what not. Let me ask you folks this, How many of you check your local tax laws before engaging in a money making activity? I don't. I go ahead and worry about the tax consequences later.

    Ignorance of the law has never been an excuse for violating it. Besides which, it's not as if 'income tax' is something most people have never heard of. And 'worrying about the consequences later' is hardly a good idea in Sweden, for instance, where you're liable to incur a tax penalty for not registering beforehand.

    It's bad for an economy when an entrepreneur has to first take into consideration the taxes before engaging in a business enterprise or even consider them. That's just idiotic.

    No, 'idiotic' would be to start a business without taking taxes into consideration, as well as any other expenditures. Also, any other laws and regulations that might apply to the business you're doing.

    Taxes are a necessity for a society, but when they become a burden and retard entrepreneurial activity, then its tax structure needs to be examined.

    Either your employer withholds tax and pays it for you, or the responsibility is on your head. (Well actually it's always on your head, ultimately) How is that difficult?

  • by Deagol (323173) on Friday April 10, 2009 @12:13PM (#27533613) Homepage

    "But.. a lot of people sell things at casual sales, barter services, and do things online without paying tax. It's wrong..."

    Yeah, it's *illegal* in the strictest sense, but wrong?!? Taxing barter particularly chaps my hide, as actual currency isn't exchanged. It's not like people who don't pay sales/income taxes for sales of this nature aren't contributing to taxes via sales/VAT taxes further down stream. Sure, the feds won't see any of it, except maybe on gas taxes (at least here in the U.S.), but then again, money spent at retail gets taxed by the feds anyway (taxes of employees and the corporation itself).

    In reality, the money made "under the table" by these women (or any other "underground economy" transaction) always gets taxed downstream anyway. I truly don't see what the big deal is.

  • Look at the Nordic countries before the introduction of the welfare state: massive emigration, with people pressed by hunger and poverty to go to some of the most deserted parts of North America. Now look at them after the introduction of the welfare state: economic successes, with high standards of living, a high level of happiness among the populace, and immigration. And this is a bad thing how?
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by deraj123 (1225722) on Friday April 10, 2009 @12:34PM (#27533883)
    Isn't that basically the relationship we all have with the government?
  • by dwye (1127395) on Friday April 10, 2009 @12:37PM (#27533915)

    > (If the activity is illegal, claming it on your taxes is among the least of your problems. :)

    Tell that to Al Capone.

  • Re:I Volunteer... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Darth (29071) on Friday April 10, 2009 @12:42PM (#27533969) Homepage

    Strippers or any other woman in the sex industry basically thinks men are "suckers" and "losers". All women in the sex industry are head cases. Stay away from them.

    i have a very good friend who is a stripper. She is not a head case and does not think negatively about men in general. Though she does think poorly of some men, it is for reasons specific to the individuals.
    Through her, i have met a few other strippers who were also charming and friendly people (my interactions with them were not in strip clubs, so there was no potential monetary incentive for their behaviour).

    Some strippers are head cases. Some are junkies. For some, it's a service industry job that pays well and allows them to have a very flexible schedule.

  • Re:I Volunteer... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:12PM (#27534281)

    So, by stereotyping strippers you attempt to demonstrate that they stereotype men and therefore should not be trusted.

    And you got +insightful for that?

  • The welfare state isn't just health care and unemployment. It's also free university education, excellent public libraries, excellent support for the arts (e.g. internationally famous orchestras and cheaper tickets to see them).
  • by Moridin42 (219670) on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:42PM (#27534617)

    Don't see the big deal?! My god, man! Obviously, two bites at the tax revenue apple is far more tasty than merely one. No one cares that the money will be taxed downstream with a probability nearing 1. We want our revenue now. If you want to understand government, think of it as Veruca Salt. Only.. the bugger just won't jump into the incinerator chute.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@gm a i l.com> on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:43PM (#27534631) Homepage Journal

    As I understand it, it was also supposed to be temporary... what happened...

    Oh, let's see. On the right, we have a 600 billion dollar a year defense budget, and on the left, we have a welfare state.

    We can go back to having no income taxes if we get seriously cut the size of the military, get rid of medicare, all the welfare crap.. and, well, we also have to pay off the national debt.

    sounds like a plan to me.

    we'd still be stuck with a big payroll tax for social security. really, the only way your state can escape the us welfare crap is to have your state secede.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @01:55PM (#27534783)

    Furthermore, your "fair share" is determined on how productive in enterprising you are.

    It's protection money for your... profit. You can be perfectly productive in a charitable or academic manner and your organisations will not have to worry much about tax. But if you want that money just to fund a larger house or private yacht, you're paying n% protection against the unwashed masses stealing the other (100-n)%. It's only right that the more personal wealth you amass, the more you should have to pay to protect it. If you want, we can move to an anarchy and see how long Gates gets to live safely.

    The more you stimulate the economy, the more you're penalized for it.

    The "economy" is just a bunch of people trading, not some huge singular blob. Just because x does a lot of trade benefitting set X, it doesn't mean I should care about x's successes unless I'm a member of X. But the government will stop me looting x because x pays the government protection money. Understand?

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    Furthermore, your "fair share" is determined on how productive in enterprising you are. The more you stimulate the economy, the more you're penalized for it.

    This argument is based on the assumption that those who are payed more in our society are more hard working and productive. As any fool can tell you, in reality the exact opposite of this assumption holds. Typically the more you are paid, the less productive you are.

    While there are exceptions, it is safe to say that those on the lower end of the payscale work very hard jobs for very long hours, whereas those in high paid executive positions are on a gravy train, with high salaries, bonuses, short hours, little responsibility and who actually do atrociously little work.

    The truth, and it is something that many simply cannot bear to face, is that the wealth of many individuals has very little to do with their own productivity and labour, and very much to do with the productivity and labour of the many people who work for them. This notion was, and still is, denied by many, particularly whose at the top end of the pay scale, who struggle to find some rationalisation for why they, who spend most of their day idle, spewing out buzzwords, on telephone calls, making powerpoint presentations or surfing for porn [infoworld.com], should receive an order of magnitude or more compensation for their day than the people on the factory floor who visibly sweat in order to make their living. It's a powerful juxtaposition and one which I'm sure people in top paying jobs are subconsciously uncomfortable with. Hence they rationalise. Oh do they rationalise.

    Read Galbraith's book, "The Great Crash", where he analyises the 1929 stock market crash. Among other things, he argues that one of the main causes of the crash was the huge wealth disparity between the super rich and everyone else. Basically, there were a small number of people who had sucked up a sizable proportion of the money in the US, and gave nothing in return. When they stopped spending, the whole system froze up. They were essentially black holes which money flowed into, but never out of. Consumption taxes wouldn't have helped. Their money was idle and remained so.

    So I don't buy this idea about the "injustice" of taxing higher earners. In my opinion, the true leaches in our society are the people in top positions who sit around doing nothing while creaming off the labour of others. they are the true parasites, and they are ultimately the ones who got us into the current crises we now find ourselves in. I'm not a communist, but I don't buy the idea that people should receive unlimited compensation simply because they had a rich parent, an expensive education and the right contacts. And make no mistake, those are the only qualifications that 90% of business managers have today.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:24PM (#27535209)
    Billionaires are just a recent form of totalitarianism, just because it is secular does not mean these people are not in principle and practice kings. Always keep an axe handy when a King is around.
  • by cayenne8 (626475) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:30PM (#27535287) Homepage Journal
    "Or if you are self employed, you are simply expected to report it directly to the Feds using a very complex system of itemization. "

    It isn't really that hard.

    First thing to do...incorporate yourself. I went the "S" corp route. Out of the companies earnings...I pay myself a 'reasonable' salary. For easy example, let's say I bill out and the company collects $100K annually. Now, I pay myself about $30K salary. I only have to pay employment taxes (SS, medicare, unemployment ins, etc) on that $30K. The remaining $70K falls through at EOY on my personal taxes...and I just pay state and federal income taxes on that (LA has state taxes). Now, I do, throughout the year, keep up with mileage I drive, all expenses..etc., and I write that off as company expenditures....to make as much of that remaining $70K non-taxable. I fully fund an HSA (Health Savings Account) and that is all pre-tax dollars, etc.

    Anyway, not complex, but, it is a bit of paperwork to keep up with. In the long run, though...I get to keep and spend more of my money myself and keep more from uncle sam. All legally. It is sad you have to jump through hoops to do this, but, it works. I'm back on a W2 gig right now, and I hate it....but, I'm still working smaller things on the side, and hope to go back to the self employ in the near future. It is really the ONLY way to keep your hard earned money these days. It is worth the extra paperwork, and a few hours a month on Quickbooks Pro.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:33PM (#27535357)

    You anti-taxers are amazing. You're all about "hey, this great country, what it really needs is less money, then it would be even greater!"

    What's so troubling about paying your fair share? And yes, your fair share goes up as your income goes up, as those with greater incomes are taking greater advantage of the public infrastructure.

    Actually, in the US, your fair share doesn't actually track your income. The middle-class carries the greatest tax burden. That's why the economy is so screwed--the middle class has been decimated.

    First they destroyed the unions and free college education. Then they raised our taxes. Then they lowered our wages. Then they had us working more hours. Then they shipped our jobs overseas. The final straw was when they had us go into debt so we could maintain our middle class lifestyle for just a little longer so they (the upper class) could take just a little bit more of our money.

    Once the credit ran out, this whole house of cards collapsed. Fuck the rich, it's their avarice that brought this whole thing to pass, and it was the Conservative fiscal ideology (primarily Republicans, but far too many Democrats as well) that placed the Dollar over The People.

    Taxes are not our problem, except when it comes to the rich, where the tax laws are set up to reward fucking over the economy and decimating the middle class.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by timeOday (582209) on Friday April 10, 2009 @02:53PM (#27535621)
    Very highly paid people do very little work for each dollar they earn. This is not my opinion, it is simple mathematics. The average CEO "earns" 250 times [epi.org] as much as the average worker. Let's assume the average worker is an overpaid, underworked union slob (as "wealth=merit" types tend to believe) and does only 10 minutes of actual productive work per day. The CEO would still have to work 104 hours per day to work equally for each dollar. Not even Ayn Rand can fail to see that logic. So you need to switch to something else, like "they're smarter and more disciplined than you and I," or, "sitting around in meetings is much harder than backbreaking repetitive labor," or something like that.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Kuciwalker (891651) on Friday April 10, 2009 @03:55PM (#27536295)
    Let's try 'the work they do is vastly more valuable'. God, you're an idiot.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vjoel (945280) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:08PM (#27536435)

    I wish people in the US would realize that the more people in government there is, the exponentially more the burden on private enterprise. Assume 1 government worker in a population of 100 can pay 20% of their salary (say $1000) back. The remaining 80% of that salary comes from private enterprise. Now, imagine 99 government workers and one private enterprise person. We then have a $76,200 bill to be paid by one person. Good luck with that.

    You are ignoring the facts that many private sector jobs depend almost entirely on public financing (defense contractors) and that almost all of the private sector depends to some extent on public expenditures (infrastructure, schools, hospitals, housing).

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:09PM (#27536441)

    Let's try 'the work they do is vastly more valuable'. God, you're an idiot.

    Then the CEO should be fired immediately for not getting his thousands of wage slaves to do more valuable work.
    If this 'vastly more valuable work' isn't actually 'harder', then why aren't more people doing it?

    I mean, if its not actually intrinsically harder (and it largely isn't), than supply and demand pressures should put massive downward price pressure on 'vastly more valuable work', as everyone would be stopping harder less valuable work to do this easier and 'vastly more valuable work'.

    God, you're an idiot.

    Look in the mirror.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by pugugly (152978) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:10PM (#27536447)

    Okay - first of all, either you don't know the definition of the word exponential, or you're deliberately being stupid. Doubling the number up people in government with salary 'x' does *not* raise your investment by a factor of four, but doubles it. It is therefore not exponential, nor geometric, nor even an increasing level of inefficiency as would be implied by a Fibonacci series, but arithmetic.

    Second - since the investment is simply arithmetic, the important question is 'what is the return on the Investment.' If the ROI > 1, then there is a (debunkable) case for having the government do it - to debunk that case you need merely to establish that private industry can deliver a better return to society (Not to it's shareholders) than the Government. Quite often they can, or can do so sufficiently efficiently that it's not worth the energy lost in arguing about it to have the government do it.

    But measuring the 'size' of the government with an idiotic 'it's *EXPONENTIAL*' argument while ignoring the fact that there is a return on the investment in government services for society as a whole is just incredibly sloppy thinking. Who the fuck modded that 'interesting.

    Pug

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Estanislao Martínez (203477) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:11PM (#27536459) Homepage

    While I don't believe I actually disagree with the policies I think you favor, I still must attack one assumption that you and GGP are making here: that how much you get paid should be a function of how hard you work. That's just counterproductive, because it provides an incentive for working harder, and a disincentive for working smarter. There are countless cases where somebody who works less hard should reap a higher reward per unit of work, because they achieved more per unit of work.

    The big problem here is how to measure the value of somebody's work. This is, in theory, set by supply and demand, and the free-market orthodoxy will proceed to justify CEO vs. worker compensation by saying that the labor market must be correctly pricing the value of the work of the CEO and the average worker. However, when you have a society with a very high concentration of wealth, this just skews the numbers, because this impersonal "market sets the prices" theory boils down topeople get to impose their judgements and interests at different rates, in proportion to their wealth. Or, in other words, if free-market is one dollar, one vote, then enormous wealth disparities mean that 1% of Americans get a third of the vote.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ClosedSource (238333) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:21PM (#27536559)

    You make a nice salary but you're not really in the category people are talking about. The question is whether CEOS that make 100x times your salary are really hard workers.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:45PM (#27536743)
    Among other things the government confers certain rights on married couples (the most relevant probably being shared filing of taxes). There is nothing the government is going to do to someone for "marrying" multiple people, just the government isn't going to recognize more than one of them. It is a bit odd, but it does not seem like that big a deal. Personally, I think the whole idea of government recognized marriage seems a bit silly.
  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aaandre (526056) on Friday April 10, 2009 @04:47PM (#27536773)

    I wonder if this is less about value and more about power and influence. More powerful positions with more ability to change the behavior of the company carry more responsibility and potentially bring more value to the company.

    That would be the logic from a corporation's standpoint. From a human standpoint, it is absurd to value one's time thousands of times more than another's.

    Unfortunately, we live in a culture where early conditioning in greed and separation result in a belief system that puts money and possessions ahead of life, safety, dignity and health.

  • Re:Seriously? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Fjandr (66656) on Friday April 10, 2009 @08:14PM (#27538347) Homepage Journal

    You also have to be on the 50%+1 side who has been promised by their politician of choice that they can be the pimps, while making the 50%-1 the chattel. Participation, even in a large group, is not enough to accurately qualify that statement. You have to participate and be in the largest group.

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