V.A.T., Taxation and Prostitution: Feminist Perspectives on Polok


Mumford, Ann. 2005. “V.A.T., Taxation and Prostitution: Feminist Perspectives on Polok.” Feminist Legal Studies 13 (2): 163-80. 

Author: Ann Mumford


Debates concerning the taxation of prostitution have occurred in taxation law and in feminist literature. This article will integrate the case of Polok v. C.E.C. [2002] E.W.H.C, 156; [2002] S.T.C. 361, within the feminist legal canon. The case is discussed in the context of the argument of the European doctrine of fiscal neutrality, which dictates that, regardless of legality as amongst member states, if an activity is levied to V.A.T. in one-member state, V.A.T. should be levied on it in all member states. The doctrine of sovereignty accepts the possibility that the integrity of the V.A.T. system may be compromised by the levying of tax on illegal activities, in terms of the cooperation between tax and other aspects of the U.K.’s legal system. European law, feminist law, commodification and the marketplace are all considered within the context of these principles. The article also considers the place of Polok within standard feminist texts on prostitution. Different paradigms of prostitution define different aspects of prostitution as ‘problems’, and the article considers the implications within a feminist reconstruction of Polok of this. The article suggests that the challenge for a feminist analysis of Polok is to remain within the realm of European tax and competition law, and to render the perspective of the employees of the Polok taxpayers part of the substance of the deliberations of the case. 

Keywords: European competition law, European tax law, feminism, gender taxation, neutrality, V.A.T.

Topics: Economies, Public Finance, Feminisms, Gender, Women Regions: Europe

Year: 2005

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