Every good company is taking advantage of any and every tax exemption it can. But even this is a little ridiculous.
A strip club claims its dances are “musical art performances,” and now it wants tax exemption.
New York imposes a sales tax on any admission charge greater than 10 cents for a “place of amusement,” but there is an exemption for “musical art performances.”
Nite Moves, an adult “juice bar,” claimed its dance performances fell under that umbrella. The club was required to show that its fees were admission charges for choreographed dance routines.
But it failed to prove that performances on either the main stage or in private rooms qualified for the tax break, the Court of Appeals said.
The state’s Tax Appeal Tribunal discredited an expert on the side of the club who said performances were choreographed and thus qualified. The tribunal said her testimony was compromised by her opinion that private dances were the same as those on the main stage although she didn’t observe them.
One judge, Judge Robert S. Smith, disagreed, saying the decision was effectively making the distinction between highbrow and lowbrow art, something not up to them.
“Like the majority and the tribunal, I find this particular form of dance unedifying — indeed, I am stuffy enough to find it distasteful,” Smith wrote in his dissent. “Perhaps, for similar reasons I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker. I would be appalled, however, if the state were to exact from Hustler a tax that the New Yorker did not have to pay, on the ground that what appears in Hustler is insufficiently ‘cultural and artistic.’”
The lawyer for the club said they are considering an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Did the court make the right decision? Let us know in the comments below.