No Fun: Sales Tax Is Due on Admittance to Funhouses.
- Sep 8, 2014 | Gail Cole
Are admissions to funhouses subject to New York sales tax?
The operator of an annual haunted attraction (Attraction) asked this question of the New York Commissioner of Taxation and Finance. The response, at least in this particular case, is yes.
The Attraction runs for many weeks in the fall and is comprised of “roughly five different funhouses that are all contained within the same building.” Patrons may enter the large building, which contains a snack counter, videos and music, and costumed performers, without paying a fee. However, a fee must be paid in order to access any of the five individual funhouses. “Patrons who pay the fee are granted access to all five funhouses. Admission to the individual funhouses within the Attraction cannot be purchased separately.”
The funhouses are registered as “amusement devices” under New York Law and they contain amusement. Patrons move through a fixed route filled with airbags, mirrors, suspension bridges, vortex tunnels, and other such experiences. Trained actors and special effects keep the patrons moving—they are “not permitted to loiter.”
The Commissioner of Taxation and Finance notes that Section 1105(f)(1) imposes sales tax on “any admission charge where such admission charge is in excess of ten cents to or for the use of any place of amusement in the state.” Admission charge is defined as the “amount paid for admission, including any service charge and any charge for entertainment or amusement or for the use of the facilities therefore.”
Since the funhouse patrons pay the Petitioner to enter “the physical space within which the amusement is provided,” and since trained actors are in those physical spaces entertaining the patrons, sales tax is due on the admissions charges.
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