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Strip Clubs To Get Tax Break In Netherlands

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THE HAGUE, Netherlands — The Dutch Supreme Court has decided sex shows should be thought of as theater _ at least when it comes to taxes.

The Netherlands' highest court ruled Friday that a peep show owner is eligible to pay sales tax at a lower rate because his establishments are a form of theater. The government had argued that they were simply strip shows _ and thus taxed at a higher rate.

The judges said in their written ruling that because the strippers are on a stage being watched by a paying public their acts are theatrical.

The government argued that for the lower sales tax rate of 6 percent _ as opposed to 19 percent _ to apply there has to be "a cultural performance comparable to a music or theater performance. A peep show doesn't come close."

The identify of the sex show owner, whose court case goes back to 2002, has not been released. He is now expected to be repaid thousands of euros (dollars) in taxes.

But this year the Dutch government shut the door to tax breaks for sex shows, and the Supreme Court ruling won't affect that decision. The new law means that the lower sales tax rate no longer applies to any "peep shows and other performances primarily aimed at erotic entertainment."