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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 December 2005, 18:57 GMT
Italy approves tax on pornography
By David Willey
BBC News, Rome

Image of a shop selling pornography
The tax will apply to all hardcore pornography
Italian Finance Minister Giulio Tremonti has pushed through parliament a new 25% tax on all hardcore pornography.

Previous attempts to raise new revenue by taxing pornography have failed.

Objections from the porn industry that they are already paying VAT and it is illegal to tax them twice have now been overruled by the minister.

Rome is desperate to find new revenue because it has to trim its budget deficit to meet EU rules.

Moreover, the government cannot raise general taxation only months before a general election.

The new tax is similar to one imposed in France and will apply to all hardcore pornography, including films, magazines and merchandise sold in sex shops.

Mr Tremonti says that, just like his French colleague, he is imposing what he calls an "ethical" tax.

The porn industry in Italy is estimated to be worth more than one billion euros a year.

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