Post authored by Communications Intern Olivia Brown
No matter what types of shows you attend, music and dancing are pretty much paired at the, um, hip. But for the past few years, the combo has posed a challenge for Washington state music venues and clubs.
According to state law, cover charges and tickets for movies, concerts and theatrical performances are not supposed to be subjected to a sales tax. However, a 1960s rule — largely unenforced until recently — circumvents this exemption. The law states that if a venue provides patrons with “the opportunity to dance,” they must collect a sales tax on all tickets and cover charges. During a 2009 auditing process, the state Department of Revenue noticed that many venues were not complying with the old and somewhat ambiguous law. And it’s not like they just started enforcing the law from that point forward… many venues were not even aware they should have been charging tax on their ticket sales and cover fees but were nonetheless slammed with tens of thousands of dollars in back taxes.