NY Court: Lap Dances Not Exempt From Sales Tax

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The owners of a strip club in New York state have spent the last half decade arguing that they do not owe $125,000 in sales tax on cover charges and lap dances because the dirty dances fall under the tax exempt category of “dramatic or musical art performance.” Alas, the NY State Supreme Court Appellate Division disagrees.

In issuing the ruling, the court wrote that its problem with the club’s claim isn’t that naked ladies dancing can’t be considered an artistic performance, the club just didn’t do enough to make its case: “In short, petitioner was denied the requested relief due not to the nature of its business but, rather, because of the inadequacy of its proof.”

To make its case, the club brought in an expert on the art of exotic dance. “We brought in the foremost expert in the field,” said the club’s lawyer. “if they are not going to believe her I don’t know who you believe.”

However, the court said that the expert had not actually witnessed any dances at this particular club and that she based her opinion on dances seen at other clubs. Additionally, the DVD submitted to the court as evidence contained no footage of lap dances, making it all the more difficult for the judges to rule for the club.

The club plans to appeal the decision.

New York court rules private lap dances not tax exempt [Reuters]