The NYDTA decided that lap dances are not “live dramatic choreographic performances” and are therefore taxable. That means lap dance enthusiasts in NYC are going to have to pay more money to get the same bang for their buck, so to speak.
“The plain facts of this case have been obfuscated in an attempt to characterize these performances in such a way as to take advantage of an exemption available to live dramatic, choreographic performances. However, the service provided by the entertainers at the Hustler Club is sexual fantasy, not dance,” wrote New York State Division of Tax Appeals Judge Donna Gardiner in the ruling.
“The focus of the imposition of sales tax here is on the admission charges paid for entry into the private rooms and for lap dances. The movements, whether dance moves or other choreography, that comprise an entertainer’s routine and that appeal to the patron, are ancillary to the ultimate service sold, which is sexual fantasy.”
As a result of the ruling, the Hustler Club now owes $2 million, a debt which will likely make things more expensive for customers at the club.
Interestingly, the city Tax Review Board in nearby Philadelphia feels differently about the issue. After Mayor Michael Nutter's tried to impose a tax on lap dances at gentlemen's clubs, the Philadelphia TRB shot down his attempt.
[New York State Division of Tax Appeals]
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