Wisconsin Tax on Symphony Tickets to Be Reexamined

A Wisconsin Circuit Court remanded to the Wisconsin Tax Appeals Commission a case of whether a nonprofit’s symphony tickets are subject to the state’s sales tax on admissions. The court determined that the Commission incorrectly interpreted the taxing statute by relying on an administrative rule that was not supported by the statute, to create, in effect, an unsupported exemption for educational events. Furthermore, the Commission has inconsistently interpreted and applied the provision in other cases. The court remanded the case to allow the Commission to develop a standard based on the taxing statute and related exemptions, which would be applied to determine whether an event is considered entertainment. The Commission may maintain its previous conclusion that the symphony concerts are taxable entertainment events, as long as the determination is supported by the statutorily-based standard. (Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, Inc. v. Wisconsin Department of Revenue, Wisconsin Circuit Court for Dane County, Branch 2, April 23, 2008, No. 401-100).

Posted on June 30, 2008