By Peter McLaren-Kennedy • 21 March 2022 • 18:04
Hocus pocus: Witch claims spells and potions on tax return
A 71-year-old who became the UK’s first official witch after being given permission by Inland Revenue (HMRC) to use the term on her tax return, has filed her first return including income and expenses for potions and spells.
Cassandra Latham-Jones, 71, was given what is believed to be unique approval to register as a self-employed “village witch”. That registration allows her as a self-employed “witch”, to write off certain tax deductible expenses including ingredients for potions.
Latham-Jones has been a witch and official wise-woman for the village of St Buryan in Cornwall for more than 30 years. The trained nurse and qualified counsellor offers services including tarot card reading, rituals, sea magic, Dark Arts, spells and wart charming. In addition she carries out other ‘witching’ duties such as counselling and community services.
She says she became a witch after meeting fellow witches saying that she is: “No different from anyone else in the service industry”, but with “slightly unusual expenses.”
A car accident when she was 50 meant that she could no longer carry on her nursing duties, however she believed that what she learned from the other witches meant that she could still help people.
So in 1996 she became an official witch.
She said: “I had to look around for how to earn my living for the rest of my life. It was then that I was sent on one of these business start-up courses, led by the benefits system, thinking I would try to make the best of unideal circumstances.
“I was thinking well, I know what I can do, but can I set it up as a business? And then I thought why not!
“I’m the same as a counsellor or a healer, and I’m qualified to do it.
“They told me I needed to register with the Inland Revenue – so that’s what I did. It turns out I was a bit of a pioneer because no one has done it before.”
Believed to be one of the first or possibly the only person to use the term officially with the Inland Revenue, she said: “It was as simple as walking into the office one day, asking for a form, and in the occupation box just writing “Village Witch”. No one has ever said anything.”
She added: “If you put aside all the propaganda and the glitz and the glamour, and other paraphernalia that surrounds it, bottom line is, you’re there to help people and aid your community.
“You can’t get NVQs in it, or GCSEs or even work experience to a certain degree because it’s not recognised as a valid profession by the powers that be.
“My expenses are slightly unusual – I need all the different materials, and the odd bottle of mead – if I’m doing a particular act of magic or ritual.
“But one thing I will say is that if you’re going to become a village witch, don’t expect to make a lot of money – it’s not a good career move if you want to be well-off.”
Latham-Jones, the who witch claimed expenses for spells and potions on her tax return, has told her story in her book “Village Witch – Life as a village Wisewoman in the wilds of West Cornwall”
Officially now retired she helps her partner, Laetitia, who hosts practical workshops to help people learn folk magic and wisewoman skills.
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Originally from South Africa, Peter is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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