When it comes to lap dances, the Tax Review Board has a message for Mayor Nutter's administration: Hands off!
The five-member board, which is composed of mayoral appointees but voted against Nutter's Revenue Department, issued a unanimous ruling in favor of a group of strip club owners fighting the so-called "lap-dance tax."
The issue was not actually a new tax but a new way of applying the city's amusement tax, which adds 5 percent to "admission charge." Earlier this year, city auditors billed strip joints Cheerleaders, Delilah's and Club Risque for back taxes, interest and penalties totaling $1.6 million - in part for not paying amusement taxes on the cost of lap dances.
After six hearings that featured testimony from strippers, auditors and drama professors, the board ruled that the clubs did not have to pay for any back taxes and penalties related to the amusement tax. Board Chairwoman Nancy Kammerdeiner said that the Revenue Department applied the tax inconsistently and that its interpretation of the admission tax was too vague.