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Nevada to Tax Music Events as Vegas Becomes Festival Mecca

Thursday, July 30, 2015   (0 Comments)

Associated Press (06/21/15) Rindels, Michelle; Pierceall, Kimberly

In May, Nevada lawmakers voted to replace a two-tier tax rate with a 9 percent tax on admissions to most live entertainment events, as the former had so many exemptions and exclusions that enforcing it was a major problem. All events in venues with at least a 15,000-person capacity must pay the fee even if they are nonprofits—a provision that seeks to prevent organizers from avoiding the tax by claiming a 501(c)3 exemption. "Nine percent is a huge tax," notes Pollstar president Gary Bongiovanni. "People from California move to Nevada to get away from taxes." Organizers of music festivals such as Burning Man are concerned the tax will hurt them, noting attendees already support local businesses and pay sales and gas tax. Insomniac founder Pasquale Rotella, whose company produces the Electric Daisy Carnival, says he has raised prices to cover the rising costs of hosting the festival, and he thinks some fans may skip the event with the addition of another 9 percent tax on top of those prices. State Sen. Mark Lipparelli claims the goal of the new tax is to enlarge the tax base and avoid double-taxing purchases at some events by newly exempting food, beverages, and merchandise. Advocates also say the revision brings certainty for business operators and reduces the prospect of unexpected fines.


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