Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Dec 14th, 2017

THE SEX FILES: Hustler Tax Held

This fight having begun nearly a decade ago, and something certainly of interest to those of us living in the NYC-area, the conundrum over sales tax and semi-nude dancing, is once again in the news. It seems one of our fair city’s appellate courts stayed fast to an earlier lower court decision that the Hustler Club in Manhattan is not exempt from sales tax. In the eyes of the law, erotic dancers are not performing “dramatic art performances,” of any kind and the clubs they are dancing in are unable to claim this particular exemption of artistic execution, and avoid the 4% sales tax.

The statute the club has been battling, and has brought them to this last, yet failed appeal, levels Hustler with a 4.8million tax bill from 2006 through 2008. The club has been appealing all this time to the New York Division of Tax Appeals.

There was also a further consideration in all this that ‘script’ sales (any in-house substitute for cash paid with credit cards) were also taxable. Dancers and hosts are charged a 20% surcharge to redeem the scrip from the club, yet still they are taxed for this income.

Not that any of us should be surprised that adult entertainment establishments, the workers in them and even those men and women attempting to make a living in other areas of salacious merriment are treated to a more draconian definition of law, and conversely, at times are not protected by law, as much as everyday citizens and businesses. In the case above it was argued that what Hustler provides is not dance or art in the way those terms are usually defined. What happens in a club like Hustler pricks prurient desires, critics say, and therefore the ‘entertainment’ there is not art and therefore not tax exempt.

But who is to say what is and what is not art and how much or how little of a woman (or man’s) movements are not legitimate dancing?

Just recently an escort was ‘outed’ across her Facebook account, as her private information was leaked across her ‘People You May Know,’ area and people in her private world got to know what her alias in her work was…and what that work was. Has she recourse under the law? You know the answer here. And back in NYC, how many strip club/bookstore/peep show owners were forced to close with the Giuliani Disneyfication real estate rape in the 90’s? And these days ‘adult entertainment’ is still under attack with the seemingly constant shifting of ground under the very feet where desnudas in Times Square may tread.

Whether this will be Hustler’s last ditch attempt, and if this tax treatment will effect other clubs in the area (or anywhere else in the country) is too early to tell.

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THE SEX FILES: Hustler Tax Held