According to a recent ruling by a state appeals court, strip clubs will have to pay sales tax on lap dances. The law requiring dances to be taxed had been in effect since 1965, but an upstate club called Nite Moves recently argued that stripping was “performance art” — like, you know, ballet — and therefore should be tax-exempt. However, the judges did not take such a high view of stripping, pointing out that the club’s dancers didn’t have formal training, and it was actually not like ballet at all.
Via DNA Info,
“In our view there can be no serious question that — at a bare minimum — petitioner failed to meet its burden of establishing that private dances offered at its club were choreographed performances,” Justice John Egan Jr. wrote, according to the paper.
The club will now have to pay $125,000 in back taxes. And Manhattan clubs are wondering about the tax, and how it affects them, even though it’s technically been in place for more than 40 years:
“We would have to pay every time someone gets a dance?” asked the manager of Lace Gentlemen’s Club in Midtown, Steve Johnson, according to the Post.
“It makes no sense. It’s just another way to take money from people.”
Which sounds like the pot calling the kettle something.
Regardless, the Post reports that Nite Moves’ lawyer, Andrew McCullough, will appeal the ruling based on freedom of speech, so maybe there is another chance for the tax-free lap dance.