Friday, March 27, 2009

A Defeat of the Pole Tax

Generally, I am against poll taxes. However, this is about pole taxes.

With the economic downturn, there has been some attempts at increasing the sin taxes. Among those being increased in some areas, are strippers. Texas passed a tax on people going to strip clubs last year. This tax was challenged and ultimately struck down in a decision by a Texas state court as "unconstitutional".

Most recently, a Albany, New York, area strip club challenged a tax assessment made on it for failure to pay sales tax on fees from cover charges and dancer fees. Nite Moves contested the taxes. With the help from lawyer , an ACLU attorney from Utah, they took their case before an administrative law judge.

After reviewing DVD's of dancers working at the club, administrative law judge Catherine Bennett, concluded "The videos depicted dance routines that incorporated acrobatic pole maneuvers, splits and other patterned repetitions,... The pole maneuvers in particular are no small feat to accomplish, and attempting such a performance without the skill and a planned routine of steps could prove dangerous." Because they met the standard, she found that the strip club's activities fell under the First Amendment and that it qualified for a "dramatic arts" tax exemption.

However, my favorite part of the decision reads as follows:

The Division's auditor had a preconceived opinion that the admissions for the door and the private couch dances were taxable, along with the beverages sold. The auditor spoke briefly with petitioner's management and observed only the layout of the business prior to its opening. No observation was made of either the stage dances or the private couch.
Essentially, because the auditor did not stay for the show, he could not accurately determine the nature of the business. Why do I think that the male auditors are going to be fighting for the opportunity now to audit New York state strips clubs?

So at least in New York for now, you won't have to worry about sales tax on your lap dances.

Gotta love legal system.

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