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Taxing Superdome Ticket Sales

 Taxing admissions to the Superdome violates the state's contract with the Saints.

To some, the fact that sales of admissions to the Cajundome, Louisiana Superdome, New Orleans Arena and Zephyr Field are now subject to tax may seem like no big thing. Lots of previously exempt goods and services in Louisiana are temporarily subject to sales tax—the result of the state’s attempt to improve its financial situation.

But the situation is not quite as simple as that. Sports events at these venues have been exempt for years because of the state’s contracts with the Pelicans (NBA) and the Saints (NFL). Those contracts are voided if ticket sales are taxed. Oops.

Lawmakers were aware of the conflict of interest but insist the exemption was removed in error. Senate Bill 22 sought to modify the sales and use tax exemption for domed stadium facilities, baseball facilities, and other publicly owned facilities that was removed under House Bill 61. SB 22 would have enabled sports events to remain exempt. But in the chaotic final moments of the session, HB 61 became law and SB 22 failed to get a final vote.

Rep. Jay Morris (R), who sponsored HB 61, maintains that he was focusing on how the exemption would apply to manufactured machinery and “didn’t really look closely at the rest of the new wording” that was added to the measure just two hours before the end of the special session. He suspects the issue will be addressed during an anticipated special session in June.

To date, spokesmen for the Saints and Pelicans have not commented on the tax. If the exemption is reinstated before the end of August, it will be a non-issue for the Saints.

Yet the Pelicans have three games left before the end of their season, and according to the contract, any tax collected on admissions must be reimbursed to the teams. New Orleans Senator JP Morrell (D), sponsor of SB 22, has spoken with involved parties and says, “I think the don’t want the check.”

See a list of the recent sales tax changes in Louisiana here.

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photo credit: Superdome via photopin (license)

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.