Uncle Sam: ‘Pay Up for that Lap Dance’

Supreme Court says lap dancers have to declare earnings.

The New York State Court of Appeals ruled today that payment for lap dances are not tax-exempt. Yeah, it’s funny, but the club on the other side of the verdict probably doesn’t think so.

Nite Moves strip club in Albany, New York didn’t pay taxes on cover charges to the club or the dancers wages. They felt they should have qualified for the state’s tax exemption for “dramatic or musical arts performances.”

A circuit of judges felt otherwise. Nite Movies owed more than $124,00 in taxes with their main revenue coming from private lap dances running $25, (which they pocketed $15 for and gave a $10 cut for the dancer to keep). The business also charged a $10 cover charge for customers to enter the establishment and enjoy the services inside. And, they didn’t pay taxes on any of that money.

You have to raise an eyebrow at the audacity of the club. As the judges pointed out, other more family friendly forms of entertainment like baseball games, carnivals, ice shows and animal acts, are not exempt from taxes in New York–so why did Nite Movies think they would be?

As Judge Robert S. Smith wrote in his verdict, “It does not matter if the dance was artistic or crude, boring or erotic. Under New York’s Tax Law, a dance is a dance.”

Maybe the Nite Movies dancers should take up waitressing where they can pocket their tips from Uncle Sam?

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