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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Court: Pole Dancing Does Not Qualify for Artistic Exception to Sales Tax

New York Law Journal, Pole Dancing Is Not Art, N.Y. Tax Appeals Panel Rules:

The gyrations of a pole dancer may be difficult to execute, but that does not make them art, a New York state tax appeals board has concluded in rejecting an administrative law judge's finding that the exotic dancing qualifies for a sales tax exemption.

The two-member Tax Appeals Tribunal held that the routines performed nude or nearly nude by dancers at the Nite Moves club near Albany were largely learned from other dancers or on YouTube and the Internet, and are not the kind of carefully arranged and practiced patterns of movement normally equated with the art of dance.

"We question how much planning goes into attempting a dance seen on YouTube," the tax appeals panel concluded in Matter of 677 New Loudon Corporation D/B/A Nite Moves, 821458. "The record also shows that some of the moves on the pole are very difficult, and one had best plan how to approach turning upside down on the pole to avoid injury. However, the degree of difficulty is as relevant to a ranking in gymnastics as it is dance."

The panel overturned the finding by Administrative Law Judge Catherine M. Bennett that a "dramatic arts" exception to Tax Law §1105(f)(1) should apply to Night Moves' liability for some $129,000 in state sales taxes on cover charges and money dancers turned back to the club for the individual dances they performed for patrons in private. The tax bill covered 2002-05.

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Comments

So, do the men who place dollars in dancer's garters have to include change to cover the sales tax? I'm asking as a tax professional, not a customer.

Posted by: Woody | Apr 28, 2010 8:12:43 AM

"The two-member Tax Appeals Tribunal held that the routines performed nude or nearly nude by dancers at the Nite Moves club near Albany were largely learned from other dancers or on YouTube and the Internet, and are not the kind of carefully arranged and practiced patterns of movement normally equated with the art of dance."

Best. Legal. Post. Ever.

Posted by: Bert | Apr 28, 2010 11:39:16 AM

Woody, she probably discounts her time with the customer and includes the tax in a whole-dollar amount, like some restaurants do, charging $5.77 and rolling in the .23 tax.

Or, maybe a change purse on the garter would work.

Posted by: Assistant Village Idiot | Apr 28, 2010 12:23:42 PM

No wonder New York is in such a fiscal mess if they let businesses go for years without paying the sales tax!

Not to mention how much revenue they just pass up by having an "artistic expression" exemption in the first place.

It is tempting to add some prostitute, boob, and thief jokes, but enough about the legislature.

Posted by: Estragon | Apr 28, 2010 12:38:52 PM

"not the kind of carefully arranged and practiced patterns of movement"

No sales tax exemption for improv, then? How about jazz?

Posted by: Upright Accountant's Brigade | Apr 28, 2010 12:41:55 PM

Why it's like we're living in Nazi Germany or something!

Oh, wait, is that this issue?

Posted by: Richard McEnroe | Apr 28, 2010 5:47:43 PM

The ALJ is a woman. She thinks it's performing art.

The Appeals panel members are both men. They think it's just a job.

Sexism?

Posted by: 30yearProf | Apr 28, 2010 7:05:48 PM

Funny running into you here, too, Assistant Village Idiot. Good people share similiar interests.

Posted by: Woody | Apr 29, 2010 8:02:10 AM

30yearProf, maybe the male appeals members needed to look at the evidence a little closer.

Posted by: Woody | Apr 29, 2010 8:05:42 AM

"The two-member Tax Appeals Tribunal held that the routines performed nude or nearly nude by dancers at the Nite Moves club near Albany were largely learned from other dancers or on YouTube and the Internet, and are not the kind of carefully arranged and practiced patterns of movement normally equated with the art of dance."

I'm a classically trained ballerina and a mostly self-taught pole dancer--I learned pole-basics from an instructor in a handful of lessons, but the more difficult moves I learned from...YouTube.

Pole dancing is every bit as artistic and athletic as more traditional, culturally acceptable dance expressions. An unskilled, unexperienced dancer can't just walk up to a pole and execute the kinds of intricate maneuvers a seasoned dancer can...the kinds of moves you'll see in a lot of strip clubs.

You know why no one wants to consider stripping an art? BECAUSE IT MAKES MONEY. And everyone seems to think art should always be free.

If ballerinas could make the kind of money strippers do working in a cabaret setting, I bet they'd do it. And the state would be taxing them like crazy.

Posted by: Sugar Dish | May 3, 2010 1:25:50 PM