Swedish Tax Collectors Zero in on Webcam Operators

STOCKHOLM -- Swedish Tax Collectors are taking aim at adult webcam operators for not reporting income.

The Swedish Tax Authority, Skatteverket, is going after online strippers for back taxes and lost revenue owed the government, according to Swedish English language news site The Local.

"We had to do something. We want all these girls to be compliant with the system," said Dag Hardyson of the agency.

Skatteverket estimates the market take for live webcam sites is close to 40 million kronor ($4.8 million), which comes to 20 million kronor ($2.4 million) in unpaid taxes.

Hardyson told Swedish news outlets that Skatteverket, ahem, "uncovered" some 200 Web strippers not reporting earnings. Officials also claim between 300 and 500 women in Sweden, most under 25 make living through online sex cams, with no tax records for any of them.

"These are young girls so of course it could be a problem with information of how to be compliant," Hardyson said.

Hardyson and his online division of the tax agency scoured porn sites to find the tax-evading Swedish Web cam girls.

"We had to do some manual work as well," he told The Local. "We identified the websites, then we visited the websites. We looked at the girls and then downloaded their contact information and their pictures."

Webcam operations are legal in Sweden, but law requires services to register for a corporate taxation certificate and also maintain records of expenses and income.

According to Sweden's Sveriges Radio, only one adult business audited by Skatteverket has submitted an income declaration.

The tax agency isn't concerned about the fate of webcam businesses following the public investigation, reports news service AFP.

"Young people are usually seen as poorly informed about how to file their taxes. That might be one explanation, but another reason is that their clients don't want to be identified," Hardyson said. "That's not really our problem. They must be compliant and that's why we are looking at it,"

The tip that cam girls were dodging taxes came from the tax department in Holland, the nation whose city of Amsterdam is a Mecca for sex business.

"Our colleagues in Holland said, 'We have a problem, so it's obvious that you have a problem'," Hardyson said.