TaxProf Blog

Editor: Paul L. Caron, Dean
Pepperdine University School of Law

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

NY Times: Lap Dances Are 'Art' and Thus Exempt From Sales Tax

Following up on last week's post:  NY's Highest Court Rules 4-3: Lap Dances Are Not 'Art' and Thus Not Exempt From Sales Tax:  New York Times editorial, ‘A Dance Is a Dance’:

The New York State Court of Appeals ruled last week that Nite Moves, a strip club near Albany, must pay sales tax on admissions fees it collects from customers. State law exempts from sales tax “dramatic or musical arts performances,” including “choreographic” performances. The question was whether a private lap dance or a pole dance qualifies as a “dance.” Clearly, they should.

The court’s 4-to-3 majority held that the dancing at Nite Moves is not art but — like baseball games, stock-car races and ice shows — is a form of entertainment that falls within “the broad sweep of the tax.”

In this case, the dissent by Judge Robert Smith has the more convincing argument. The majority decision, he wrote, rests on “a distinction between highbrow dance and lowbrow dance” the state tax statute does not make.

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