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News/Case Decisions

Court finds Stripper Tax Constitutional

Nevada strip clubs have lost a challenge to Nevada’s Live Entertainment Tax (NLET) in the Nevada Supreme Court.

The NLET charges 10% tax on admissions, food, drink and merchandise purchased at live entertainment events in Nevada. (If occupancy is over 7500 persons, the tax is 5%) Strip clubs, and brothels, are considered live entertainment venues in Nevada, and were challenging the constitutionality of the tax on First Amendment grounds. The argument being that exotic dancing is a form of protected expression under the First Amendment and may not be curtailed or restricted by taxation. The Court held however, without reaching the extent of First Amendment protections to exotic dancing and other forms of live entertainment, that the NLET is not a unconstitutional restriction on the performer’s ability to perform, simply an excise tax on the audience member’s involvement with the performance.

In other words, the NLET doesn’t restrict Fantasia’s ability to shake her money maker, but it may make it more difficult for economically challenged patrons to attend and view her expression of art.

Read the full text of the opinion in Deja Vu Showgirls v. State of Nevada, Dept. of Taxation here:

Download (PDF, 191KB)