tstorms
Sunday May 1st, 2016 4:07AM

NY court to decide if lap dance is tax-exempt art

By The Associated Press
ALBANY, N.Y. - They may never be confused with "Swan Lake," but an upstate New York strip club says its nude lap dances are every bit as much an art form and should be exempt from state taxes.

So far, the state tax department and an appeals court disagree and want the Nite Moves club in Albany to pay up $124,000 it says it owes taxes.

New York's highest court gets a shot at the arguments Wednesday when the two sides face off at the Court of Appeals.

Tax officials say sales taxes were paid on the club's non-alcoholic drinks, but are also owed on admission and so-called "couch sales," where patrons pay for private or lap dances.

Nite Moves claims the dances are exempt under state tax law as "live dramatic or musical arts performances." The exemption also applies to theater or ballet. The club is relying on testimony from a cultural anthropologist who has studied exotic dance and visited Nite Moves.

W. Andrew McCullough, an attorney for Nite Moves, said the impact of the eventual court ruling probably won't be widespread because most establishments featuring exotic dancers sell alcohol where other tax rules apply.

An administrative law judge previously agreed with Nite Moves, saying that "the fact that the dancers remove all or part of their costume ... simply does not render such dance routines as something less than choreographed performances."

But the state Tax Appeals Tribunal said the club didn't present sufficient proof that it qualifies for the exemption, and a mid-level court upheld the tribunal ruling last year.

"In our view, there can be no serious question that - at a bare minimum - petitioner failed to meet its burden of establishing that the private dances offered at its club were choreographed performances," the Appellate Division court ruled. The four justices also found "no merit" to the club's constitutional claims.

The appellate court also noted that the club dancers are not required to have any formal dance training and that the anthropologist didn't see any of the dances done in private rooms.

Cary Zeitner, a spokesman for the state Department of Taxation and Finance, said the agency is not aware of any other cases in state court similar to the Nite Moves case.

The court typically takes about a month to issue a decision.
© Copyright 2016 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Doctors: Blood clot located in Clinton's head
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton developed a blood clot in her head but did not suffer a stroke or neurological damage, her doctors said Monday. They say they are confident that she will make a full recovery.
3:55PM ( 3 years ago )
Illinois Sen. Kirk to return a year after stroke
Nearly a year after a stroke left him barely able to move the left side of his body, U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk is expected to climb the 45 steps to the Senate's front door this week - a walk that's significant not just for Illinois' junior senator, but also for medical researchers and hundreds of thousands of stroke patients.
3:54PM ( 3 years ago )
U.S. News
Obama boosts Islamic State fight, asks Europe to do the same
Evoking history and appealing for solidarity, President Barack Obama on Monday cast his decision to send 250 more troops to Syria as a bid to keep up "momentum" in the campaign to dislodge Islamic State extremists. He pressed European allies to match the U.S. with new contributions of their own.
By The Associated Press
11:02PM ( 5 days ago )
Sept. 11 families upset by White House effort to derail bill
Families of the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks say they are "greatly distressed" that the Obama administration is working to derail legislation they back.
7:34PM ( 1 week ago )
Obama claims progress on Islamic State amid worrying signs
Obama claims progress in U.S.-led fight against Islamic State, but political turmoil in Iraq and renewed violence in Syria threatens hard-fought gains
6:56PM ( 2 weeks ago )
Atlanta Hawks player sues New York City over arrest
Atlanta Hawks player Thabo Sefolosha filed a federal lawsuit against New York City on Wednesday, alleging he was unjustly arrested outside of a trendy nightclub last year during a fracas that left him with a broken leg and ended his NBA season.
By The Associated Press
8:38PM ( 3 weeks ago )
Fever: Federal report says global warming making US sick
The federal government lists all sorts of ways man-made global warming is making America sicker
8:42PM ( 3 weeks ago )