Burning Man laments Nevada’s new entertainment tax

January 2016

Live events sector


Organizers of the Burning Man festival are challenging a Nevada state tax which they say could cost them nearly $3 million if enforced. The 25-year-old annual arts festival now attracts  80,000 participants to the Black Rock Desert 100 miles north of Reno.


The Reno Gazette-Journal reports (http://tinyurl.com/nrfm3hq) that Burning Man  have written to the state Department of Taxation on Friday saying that the festival should be exempt from the recently amended tax on live entertainment. Burning Man attorney Ray Allen said the 9 percent tax would translate into a tax bill of about $2.8 million. He said the tax is known by some as the “Burning Man tax” and the festival’s website says “Some seem to view Burning Man as the ‘golden goose’ they can turn to when they want money for other projects.”


In June, the Legislature approved a revised version of the live entertainment tax, which originally came into law in 2004 as a way for the state to gain revenue from Las Vegas’s robust live entertainment industry. The revised version became effective on October 1st. Business Insider reports that certain events — including school, sporting, racing and nonprofit events attended by fewer than 7,500 people — remain exempt from the tax. Burning Man and the Electric Daisy Carnival in Las Vegas, were the two largest events newly affected by the change.



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