Strip Clubs Have To Pay Sales Tax on Lap Dances, Court Rules

By Tom Liddy on June 11, 2011 4:20pm | Updated on June 11, 2011 4:19pm

Strip clubs are on the hook for sales tax on lap dances, according to a state court ruling.
Strip clubs are on the hook for sales tax on lap dances, according to a state court ruling.
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Sean Gallup/Getty Images

By Tom Liddy

DNAinfo News Editor

MANHATTAN - Strip clubs could soon be feeling a little less jiggle.

A state appeals court has ruled that the mammary meccas are on the hook for sales tax on lap dances, according to published reports.

The court rejected an argument by an upstate club, Night Moves, that pole dancing is a perforance art akin to ballet and therefore tax exempt, The Post reported.

The judges scoffed at the contention in a cheeky ruling.

"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 record reflects that the clubs' dancers are not required to havea ny formal training." 

The club was trying to shimmy out of a bill of $125,000 in back taxes, according to the report.

Workers at some Manhattan strip clubs were shocked to hear about the tax, which has been in effect since 1965.

"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."

The combined city and state sales tax comes to 8.875 percent, or about $2 per $20 dance.

Last November, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer called for strip clubs to stop receiving property tax breaks.

Clubs were benefitting from the Industrial and Commercial Incentive Program to the tune of tens of thousands of dollars a year.

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