Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Symphony Orchestra Tickets as Taxable

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld the Court of Appeals’ determination that sales of tickets to classical, pop, and youth concerts are taxable because they are considered to be primarily entertainment in nature, not educational. Although the court recognized that learning was a component of attending the concerts and that the orchestra’s mission statement and certain activities were directed at educating the public in order to develop a greater appreciation for music, the court ultimately determined that most attendees viewed the event as a form of entertainment, which was highlighted in the orchestra’s promotional materials. Further, the orchestra’s optional pre and post-concert lectures and written materials about the music performed at certain concerts did not transform the performances into primarily educational events. (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Wisconsin Supreme Court, No. 2008AP1684, May 5, 2010)

Posted on May 27, 2010