Sales Tax Slice: Shining the Spotlight on Theatrical Exemptions



The 2018 Tony Awards were held this past Sunday, June 10, recognizing the top talent in Broadway theatre. While the awards are focused on productions located in certain theaters within New York City, theatrical enthusiasts can also enjoy plays and musicals throughout the United States. New York and certain other states encourage attending cultural events, like plays and musicals, through specific sales and use tax exemptions on admission charges.

In New York, the taxability of admission charges to cultural events depends on the type and price of the event. Generally, New York imposes sales and use tax on admission charges over $0.10 to any place of amusement in the state. However, admission charges below $0.10 and admission charges to dramatic or musical arts performances are excluded from sales and use tax. Thus, the price you pay for your Broadway tickets does not include tax.

California does not consider the sale of admissions to be a sale of tangible personal property and does not apply sales and use tax to such transactions. Thus, admission charges to the theater, a musical, or other entertainment events are not considered taxable.

Additionally, Illinois does not impose state sales or use tax on admission charges to any cultural events, including plays and musicals. However, Chicago imposes a 9 percent tax on admission charges to any amusement or cultural event, including plays and musicals, that takes place within city limits.

Even without these exemptions, it’s safe to say that theater enthusiasts will take in a play as part of their summer fun.

Continue the discussion on Bloomberg Tax’s State Tax Group on LinkedIn: Does your state apply tax to admission charges for plays or musicals?

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