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New York Taxes Admissions, Not Networking

  • Mar 18, 2013 | Gail Cole

 New York: When Trapeze Artists Must Collect Sales Tax.

The New York State Department of Taxation and Finance has determined that a trapeze artist must collect and remit sales tax on admissions to public performances. However it determined that a networking organization is not required to collect and remit sales tax on membership dues and fees. Both determinations were issued by the Advisory Opinion Unit last February.

When to Tax an Aerial Trapeze Artist

Pursuant to relevant New York Tax Law, a trapeze artist is not required to collect or remit sales tax under the following circumstances:

  1. When hired as an independent contractor by schools or non-profit organizations to teach aerial skills;
  2. When hired to perform at functions by hired event planners or companies;
  3. When hired by private individuals to perform at private functions;
  4. When hired by aerial groups as a subcontractor; and
  5. When hired by aerial groups who charge admissions to perform in public.

However, sales tax must be collected and remitted to the state for admissions charges when the price is greater than ten cents:

(2) “Admission charge. The amount paid for admission, including any service charge and any charge for entertainment or amusement or for the use of facilities therefor. …

(5) Dramatic or musical arts admission charge. Any admission charge paid for admission to a theatre, opera house, concert hall or other hall or place of assembly for a live dramatic, choreographic or musical performance.” (Tax Law § 1101(d)).

Aerial trapeze artistry is not specifically mentioned in the tax law. However, since the “burden of proving that any amusement charge is not taxable shall be upon the person required to collect the tax” (Tax Law § 1132(c)(1)), and since no such proof has been furnished, sales tax applies to the admission charges in question.

Membership Dues: To Tax or Not

In another ruling issued by the Advisory Opinion Unit, it was determined that an organization was not required to collect and remit sales tax on its membership dues and fees because it was created:

“...to institute and maintain a method of exchanging and interchanging business information among its members; to create and encourage cooperation, business efficiency and service to its members; to bring its members in touch with business opportunities; to promote a better acquaintance and closer association among its members…”

The purpose of the group is to develop “organic business growth through personal introductions and recommendations rather than short-term sales through more costly methods such as promotional advertising campaigns… .”

Relevant New York Tax Law requires social clubs and athletic clubs to collect and remit sales tax on membership dues and fees. (Section 1101(d)(6) and (13)). The Advisory Unit determined that the organization is not a social club, and it is clearly not an athletic club, therefore it is exempt from sales tax.

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Sales tax rates, rules, and regulations change frequently. Although we hope you'll find this information helpful, this blog is for informational purposes only and does not provide legal or tax advice.
Gail Cole
Avalara Author
Gail Cole
Gail Cole
Avalara Author Gail Cole
Gail began researching and writing about sales tax in 2012 and has been fascinated with it ever since. She has a penchant for uncovering unusual tax facts, and endeavors to make complex sales tax laws more digestible for both experts and laypeople.