Tax 'hexiles' curse government
Published 06/01/2011 | 03:16
Everyone curses the taxman, but Romanian witches angry about having to pay up for the first time are planning to use cat excrement and dead dogs to cast spells on the president and government.
Also among Romania's newest taxpayers are fortune tellers - but they probably should have seen it coming.
Superstitions are no laughing matter in Romania - the land of the medieval ruler who inspired the Dracula tale - and have been part of its culture for centuries. President Traian Basescu and his aides have been known to wear purple on certain days, supposedly to ward off evil.
Romanian witches from the east and west will head to the southern plains and the Danube River to threaten the government with spells and spirits because of the tax law, which came into effect on January 1.
A dozen witches will hurl the poisonous mandrake plant into the Danube to put a hex on government officials "so evil will befall them", said a witch named Alisia.
"This law is foolish. What is there to tax, when we hardly earn anything?" she said. "The lawmakers don't look at themselves, at how much they make, their tricks; they steal and they come to us asking us to put spells on their enemies."
The new law is part of the government's drive to collect more revenue and crack down on tax evasion in a country in recession.
In the past, the less mainstream professions of witch, astrologer and fortune teller were not listed in the Romanian labour code, as were those of embalmer, valet and driving instructor and they used their lack of registration to evade paying income tax.
But under the new law, like any self-employed person, they will pay 16% income tax and make contributions to health and pension programmes.
Some argue the law will be hard to enforce, as the payments to witches and astrologers usually are made in cash and relatively small at £4.50-£6.50 a consultation.