A convicted heroin dealer has been presented with an $108,000 tax bill on his earnings by French authorities, who even gave allowances for personal consumption of the drug and travel expenses.
The dealer, currently in prison in Nancy in eastern France, recently received a demand for payment based on his supposed 2008-11 earnings, his lawyer Samira Boudiba told the AFP news agency.
"He is being treated as if he was a small businessman - it is quite extraordinary," Boudiba said. "How can you tax an activity that is completely illegal?" she said, adding that she was seeking a review of the demand by France's Constitutional Council.
The tax demand received by the prisoner includes a remarkably detailed evaluation of the dealer's likely income and "allowable" expenses, according to the lawyer.
It notes: "Your personal consumption has been evaluated at four grammes per day, which can be deducted from your sales."
It goes on to state that since the dealer's main supplier was based in Namur in Belgium, a total of $2700 a year in travel expenses could be classified as a deductible expense.
The dealer's lawyers are challenging the demand on several grounds, including the fact that the fiscal year 2008 should not be included in the demand under the current rules governing the proscription of retrospective tax demands.
"Also, my client has already had 40,000 euros in cash ($54200) confiscated as well as all his other assets which the state is going to resell," said the lawyer. "Yet they are trying to tax the money used to pay for these assets - it's a double punishment."