Sunday, February 24, 2013

An "Opportunity to Dance" tax...really?!

Lauri and I attended a dance fundraiser at the Century Ballroom in Seattle's Capitol Hill neighborhood yesterday.  Why a dance fundraiser?  It was to raise awareness of and to help the Century defray the costs of the Washington Department of Revenue's "opportunity to dance" tax - an obscure tax that was apparently originally targeted at aerobics and jazzercise businesses, but is now being applied to the Century and other nightclubs.

Look here for the Century Ballroom's take on this tax.  Here is a link from the Department of Revenue's (DoR) website regarding how cover charges can be taxed if there is an "opportunity to dance" at the event.  Scroll down to the Cover Charges section to see what I'm talking about.

If I am reading the DoR verbiage correctly, it looks like businesses could avoid this tax by not charging a cover, something that would not be possible at the Century, or say the Tractor Tavern in Ballard.  Anyway, if this tax continues to be applied, there appears to be two issues: the affected business are apparently being charged retroactively (thus the Century Ballroom fundraiser) for this tax, and cover charges will have to increase as this cost is passed on to the consumer (you and me).

Dancing on the beach is not taxable in Washington State...yet.

I get that the State (and every other State) is hurting for revenue.  However, applying this tax without notice (or public hearings to the best of my knowledge), seems like the typical, dumb, bureaucratic way to go about this.  What do you think?

Check out the Boneyard Preachers here.


el gato gordo said...

Mike, when I was in biz in Seattle, there was a 5% tax on admissions such as cover charges. Is this sales tax in addition to that admissions tax? This is so wrong! What thinking can declare dancing taxable?? -Fatcat

Michael Lynch said...

Yes, I believe that this is in addition to the tax that you mention. It doesn't make any sense to me, but what do I know?