Red light peep shows, in which women are paid by the minute to perform sex shows behind glass, are similar to theatre and thus classed as a cultural event, the high court ruled on Friday.
The ruling, which upholds an earlier lower court decision, means peep shows should now fall under the lower value added tax rate of 6%. Tax minister Jan Kees de Jager had appealed against the earlier decision, saying peep shows have nothing to do with culture.
The original case was brought by a sex club owner who argued the shows were similar to theatre because they were attended by paying customers.
The high court ruled that the concepts of music and theatrical performance should be widely interpreted and the cultural level of the performance was not important, news agency ANP reported.
Last year, the advocate general appeared to support De Jager when he said peep shows could be artistic, but were not art and should be subjected to the normal 19% btw rate.
The ruling does not mean that peep shows will get lower tax bills, however.
According to the finance ministry website, the government’s 2008 tax plan has explicitly excluded peep shows from the lower btw rate since January 2008 and the high court ruling will only affect cases which are under legal consideration.
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