Philadelphia stirs a lap dance tax tussle
2 'gentlemen's clubs' are crying foul over the city's attempt to collect more than $800,000 in amusement levies.
Philadelphia has determined that the code of chivalry doesn't cover lap dances -- but its amusement tax does.
A five-year audit by city officials found Club Risque and Cheerleaders, two so-called gentlemen's clubs, had failed to collect the 5% amusement tax on their performances and owe $320,538 and $486,482 in taxes, respectively.
The owners have filed an appeal with the Tax Review Board, which is slated to hear the case later this month.
Attorney George Bochetto, who represents the clubs, told ABC News, "Since the city is broke, they want money for lap dances." He couldn't be reached for comment for this story.
Actually, the city's finances are improving. Standard & Poor's recently raised its rating on Philadelphia's debt, and officials expect a $178 million surplus this year.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, of course, sees things differently than the clubs do. Spokesman Mark McDonald denied that there was a "lap dance tax." He also told MSN Money that other strip clubs in the city pay taxes on lap dance performances.
"I am not in a position to talk about pending litigation," McDonald said, adding that another taxpayer, whom he declined to identify, is in the same situation.
In the city's view, a lap dance is like any other service the club is offering, such as alcoholic drinks, that are subject to tax.
This issue has actually come up before.
New York's highest court ruled last year that lap dances were not "dramatic or musical arts performances" like ballet or theater and were therefore subject to taxation. The 4-3 decision cost the club Nite Moves almost $125,000, according to The New York Times. An attorney for the clubs was quoted as saying he would appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court, though odds of that being successful are slim.
If Nite Moves had won its case, strip-show attendees could have argued without fear of contradiction that they were "patrons of the arts."
Follow Jonathan Berr on Twitter @jdberr.
It's time, if you own a business, that travels, or if the last 4.4 years have left you any money, bail out.
get out now, no point in staying here and watching the dem bloodsuckers finish the destruction of the USA and helping to fund handouts for the dem bloodsuckers.
DLH2448;How often do you go to those places?I go for the great food and the music.I used
to watch porn just for the great conversations in the movies.
how about an article on how the democrats in the senate refusing to pass a bill keeping student loan interest rates at 3.4 instead of jumping to 6.8% ITS OBVIOUS DEMOCRATS HAVE A WAR ON STUDENTS AND ARE ALSO THE NEW PARTY OF NO
Well that's really the point isn't it? I mean if ballet got you off like that it might be worth taxes too.
Not dramatic performances? Obviously, no one from the NY courts has been to a good spot.
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