Striptease is an art form and should therefore be exempt from value-added tax (VAT), according to a Norwegian appeal court ruling, a copy of which was obtained by AFP on Tuesday.
Striptease, in the way it is practiced in this particular case, is a form of dance which is combined with acting which compares to other stage acts that are exempt from VAT in Norway, three judges ruled unanimously.
The verdict upheld a May 2005 ruling of a district court in favour of Den Blue Engel (The Blue Angel), a company that runs the Diamond Go Go Bar in Oslo, which refused to pay 25% tax on entry fees to the club demanded by Norwegian tax authorities.
Lawyers for the Blue Angel argued that other stage performances, such as sword swallowers and a comic making saucy jokes, were not subject to VAT.
The Diamond Go Go Bar striptease shows were not vulgar and were performed by professional dancers, lawyers for the Blue Angel maintained.
The court ordered Norwegian authorities to meet the Blue Angels legal costs, estimated at some $26,216. One can safely suspect that there were moral scruples behind the tax authorities claim since all forms of stage dance are free of value-added tax, Reuters news agency quoted the club owners' lawyer as saying.