Dance tax could stop the music at Century Ballroom

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by NATALIE SWABY / KING 5 News

Bio | Email | Follow: @NSwabyKing5

KING5.com

Posted on February 20, 2013 at 7:12 AM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 20 at 7:20 AM

 

SEATTLE -- Some bars and nightclubs in Seattle are coming together to take a stand against the "opportunity to dance" tax.

According to the Department of Revenue, the tax is on the cover charges collected at the door of a club that provides the opportunity for dance.

Hallie Kuperman has owned of the Century Ballroom in Seattle for 16 years. A year-and-a-half ago, after the state audited her business, she was presented with a $250,000 tax bill. She fought the decision and now owes $92,000. The bill is due in about three months. 

Kuperman said the tax came as a surprise because she did not know it existed. 

"(The Department of Revenue) quietly amended language to the taverns section of their website, but did not send out a communication to the business sector," said Kuperman. "I am angry that we are even in this position."

Mike Gowrylow with the Department of Revenue said the tax rule has been on the books for decades.

"I don't know how businesses can claim not knowing about this. It is the obligation of the business to learn, understand, and comply with our state tax laws," said Gowrylow.

Kuperman added that $92,000 is not an amount she can simply write a check for and she is facing the possibility of closure.

Kuperman and other business owners are supporting a Senate Bill that would amend the law to "clarify its intention and remove opportunity to dance as a tax liability."

Here is the current law.

Here is Senate Bill 5613 which aims to change the law.

 

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