Commentary

Tax Breaks for Dutch Witches

Only on Halloween can witchcraft and tax policy converge like this:

Dutch witches are getting a tax break. A court has ruled that the cost of witchcraft lessons can be taken as a tax deduction. Learning to cast spells and brew potions doesn’t come cheap. Margarita Rongen runs the “Witches Homestead” in a northern province. Her witchcraft workshops cost more than $200 a weekend or more than $2,600 for a full course. Rongen says she been a witch for 38 years and has a duty to pass along her knowledge. She notes her black cauldron and crystal ball stand at the ready for the next full moon. Cobwebs cling from the wooden rafters. Dusty shelves are cluttered with glass jars of home-brewed potions, dried herbs and stone amulets. An oil cooker and a black cauldron sit in the corner, ready for the next full moon. This isn’t a Halloween party, it’s Margarita Rongen’s year-round workshop and she is a witch – according to her tax return. Dutch witches were guaranteed a financial treat when the Leeuwarden District Court reaffirmed their legal right to write off the costs of schooling – including in witchcraft – against their tax bills. Those costs run to thousands of dollars. The court found on Sept. 23 that a witch can declare schooling costs if it increases the likelihood of employment and personal income.

Leonard Gilroy is Senior Managing Director of the Pension Integrity Project at Reason Foundation, a nonprofit think tank advancing free minds and free markets. The Pension Integrity Project assists policymakers and other stakeholders in designing, analyzing and implementing public sector pension reforms.