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Update: Some NYC Yoga Classes Taxable

Two weeks ago I wrote about whether yoga classes held in New York City are subject to sales tax.

Perhaps the NYS Department of Taxation & Finance took notice, because one week later the Department issued a tax bulletin clarifying its interpretation of the sales tax law as applied to yoga classes in NYC:

Facilities in New York City that offer only instruction in various yoga disciplines are not considered to be weight control salons, health salons, or gymnasiums. As a result, charges by these facilities for yoga classes are not subject to the New York City local sales tax. …

Charges for yoga instruction by a facility that otherwise qualifies as a weight control salon, health salon, or gymnasium (e.g., a facility that also offers its customers access to exercise equipment or to Pilates or aerobics classes) are subject to the New York City local sales tax.

Previously, NYC yoga studios were under the impression that all yoga classes were considered weight control salons, health salons, or gymnasiums, and thus subject to the local sales tax.

Interesting that the State is now opening the door for yoga studios to structure their businesses such that classes aren’t subject to the sales tax. My guess is that when initially approached about the issue, the Department took the safe route with a blanket position. But after assigning the task to counsel, they realized the legal interpretation was too broad.

Back to mind-body therapy…

(Hat tip: Kay Bell)

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  1. Matthew Rappaport
    July 31st, 2012 at 11:32 | #1

    As you know, I’m a huge devotee of yoga. Glad to know I can now integrate my fandom for the ancient art of focusing on your breathing while stretching ’til it hurts with my fandom for playing Robin Hood for local business owners.

    If my thinking is correct, gyms and other “weight control salons” can set up a separate entity with a separate name, membership roll, and dues simply to do yoga classes. Provided you respect your formalities, I imagine your yoga rupees would then be free from the ravenous clutches of the Bloomberg Legion.

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