Lawyer says similarities between the two professions are striking
Prostitutes in the Netherlands have begun lobbying for the same special pension rights as big-name Dutch footballers – stars such as Robin van Persie, Rafael van der Vaart and Ruud van Nistelrooy – arguing they too do “difficult physical work” during well-paid but short careers.
Their case has been put to the tax authorities by lawyer Wilhelmina Post, who says the similarities between the two jobs are striking: prostitution, like football, is best-suited to healthy youngsters, “and although the earning potential is high, by 40 you’d certainly aim to be doing something else”.
Prostitution has been legal in the Netherlands since October 2000, providing there is no coercion involved. And while the prostitutes’ case may seem unorthodox, the unique tax treatment of professional footballers does appear to set a legal precedent.
Because of high earnings, short careers at the top and the impossibility of staying in the job beyond a certain age, footballers enjoy a special pension scheme under which they are allowed to save up to €5,000 tax-free per month.
Dutch prostitutes, on the other hand – while treated for tax purposes as independent entrepreneurs who submit annual returns (even lap-dancers and strippers pay VAT) – often find it hard to fund a change of career as they get older.
“It’s a simple statistical fact in the sex industry that the majority of men prefer younger women, and so there comes an age where even women who were doing very well financially start to see their incomes fall away rapidly,” says Post.