New York Court to decide if Lap Dances are Tax-Exempt
As the end of the summer winds down and we approach the fall season. The state of New York has had the entertainment business buzzing this week. In New York City cab fares will jump by 17 percent. Cab fares are not the only services that will spike in prices. An upstate New York strip club “Nite Moves” has been drawing tons of attention. This gentlemen’s club establishment argues nude lap dances should be recognized as an art form and exempt from state tax. Nite Moves of course has every right to dispute this law in the making. Like any gentlemen’s club establishment these profits should be kept in the strip club and out of Uncle Sam’s pockets.
The state tax department and the appeals court begs to differ as they want Nite Moves in Albany to cough up a whopping $124,000 they owe in taxes. This heavy weight bout is no where from over. New York States highest court will hear both sides arguments on Wednesday in the Court of Appeals.
Our buddies at the New York Post have more information on this topic.
Nite Moves claims the dances are exempt under state tax law as “live dramatic or musical arts performances.” The exemption also applies to theater or ballet. The club is relying on testimony from a cultural anthropologist who has studied exotic dance and visited Nite Moves.
W. Andrew McCullough, an attorney for Nite Moves, said the impact of the eventual court ruling probably won’t be widespread because most establishments featuring exotic dancers sell alcohol where other tax rules apply.
An administrative law judge previously agreed with Nite Moves, saying that “the fact that the dancers remove all or part of their costume … simply does not render such dance routines as something less than choreographed performances.”
But the state Tax Appeals Tribunal said the club didn’t present sufficient proof that it qualifies for the exemption, and a mid-level court upheld the tribunal ruling last year.
“In our view, there can be no serious question that — at a bare minimum — petitioner failed to meet its burden of establishing that the private dances offered at its club were choreographed performances,” the Appellate Division court ruled. The four justices also found “no merit” to the club’s constitutional claims.
Clearly both sides will not budge as their arguments will be taken to the higher courts for the final ruling. This final ruling usually takes up to a month and will set a precedent for future cases.