Stripping not tax exempt finds New York court

Stripping not tax exempt


New York state’s highest court ruled a trip to the strip club really isn’t a night at the ballet — at least as far as the tax man is concerned.

In a 4-3 decision, the New York Court of Appeals decided against the petitioner in the case, Nite Moves, a “juice bar” near Albany, N.Y., that features exotic dancers. The club’s owner Steve Dicks Junior argued the lap dances the women at his establishment do are just as work-intensive and creative as that of ballet dancers, and contended the ballet companies for which they work are generally granted tax-exempt status, the court albeit by a narrow margin disagreed.

Stripping is NOT art

Instead, the court’s majority categorized the strippers’ routines as “entertainment” — along the same lines as amusement parks and figure skating shows — both of which are taxable entities.

The majority opinion argued if finely tuned figure skating routines aren’t granted tax-exempt status then a stripper’s routine shouldn’t qualify, either. Nite Moves  a full nude venue is left looking at a tax bill of $126k plus legal expenses.

“If ice shows presenting pairs ice dancing performances, with intricately choreographed dance moves precisely arranged to musical compositions, were not viewed by the Legislature as ‘dance’ entitled a tax exemption, surely it was not irrational for the Tax Tribunal to conclude that a club presenting performances by women gyrating on a pole to music, however artistic or athletic their practiced moves are, was also not a qualifying performance entitled to exempt status,” their opinion stated.

Successful stripping

The dissent, authored by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman, pointed out justices’ discomfort with the state picking preferred forms of self-expression to hold up as tax-exempt.

“Like the majority and the Tribunal, I find this particular form of dance unedifying — indeed, I am stuffy enough to find it distasteful,” Lippman wrote for the minority. “Perhaps for similar reasons, I do not read Hustler magazine; I would rather read the New Yorker. I would be appalled, however, if the state were to exact from Hustler a tax that the New Yorker did not have to pay, on the ground that what appears in Hustler is insufficiently ‘cultural and artistic.’ That sort of discrimination on the basis of content would surely be unconstitutional.” This could form the basis of a further appeal.

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Author: Saxon is covering the European Striptease industry with monthly updates on or famous London Gossip, Interviews with industry people, articles and news from the world of striptease. We also offer a Striptalk forum, Industry Directory with Stripclubs and Agents and a Job board for the Striptease industry in Europe.