Published January 13, 2015
After failing to institute hikes on soda and cigarettes, Philadelphia officials have reportedly slipped a lap dance tax under the radar.
The Philadelphia Daily News reports that the lap dance is subject to the city’s 5 percent amusement tax, which apparently came as a surprise to two of the City of Brotherly Love’s biggest so-called gentlemen’s clubs.
Attorney George Bochetto, who represents Club Risque and Cheerleaders, said the move is “financial desperation” and part of an effort by the city to tax the same thing twice. According to appeal petitions, Cheerleaders owes $486,482 and Club Risque owes $320,538. The city audited the lap dance encounters then “issued an assessment going back five years,” Bochetto said, plus interest and oenalties.
“It’s over the top,” he told the newspaper. “Unbelievable.”
Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter, said the city does not comment on pending litigation.
The clubs, which pay business taxes in addition to the amusement tax, will now make their case before the Tax Review Board on July 23. A decision may be appealed in Common Pleas Court.
A source close to the matter told the newspaper that city officials feel they can institute an amusement tax because the lap dance is a separate experience.
Bochetto, meanwhile, argues that the city is taxing the same thing twice, citing the city code pertaining to the amusement tax: “Imposed upon the admission fee or privilege to attend or engage in any amusement.”