NEW YORK – New York tax officials have ruled that yoga studios should be spared from sales taxes because the popular form of exercise is predominantly a spiritual practice.
The decision is a reversal for the Department of Taxation and Finance. Just a year ago it had decided yoga studios were subject to the same taxes charged at fitness centers.
But after an initial crackdown, a yoga organization got the state to reconsider and reclassify the studios.
State Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal says that while many students do reap health benefits, yoga's main objective is spiritual balance.
Executive director Allison West of Yoga New York says the 4.5 percent sales tax would have made yoga classes too expensive for some practitioners.
Taxes still apply on yoga classes taught at gyms and fitness studios.