The New York Supreme Court has ruled that exotic dancing is not an art form and that, therefore, strip clubs are subject to the state sales tax.
The court split 4-3 on the issue. The majority refused to equate tassels with tutus, ruling that exotic dancing does not promote culture in a community in the way ballet or other artistic endeavors do.
The minority opinion held that the state should not be in the business of distinguishing between “highbrow dance and lowbrow dance.”
An Albany-area adult club called Nite Moves filed the suit, which sought an exemption so it wouldn’t have to add New York’s sales tax to its cover charges and private lap dance fees.
It argued its performances qualified as “dramatic or musical arts performances” and thus should be exempted from charging sales tax.
The Supreme Court majority was unmoved (so to speak), likening the shows to amusement parks or sporting events, which are subject to the sales tax.