Burning Man must pay Nevada state entertainment tax

March 2016

Live events sector



Burning Man tickets will be subject to a live entertainment tax for the first time. The Nevada state Department of Taxation have notified organizers of the iconic Black Rock desert event that as more than 15,000 tickets were sold for the event it qualified it for the tax, the Reno Gazette-Journal reporst that Burning Man,  is required to register for the tax before tickets go on sale. Burning Man attracts 80,000 visitors.
“The activities that take place during Burning Man constitute live entertainment, whether or not those activities are provided by patrons of the event. Because Black Rock City is located on public land and access to the area during the event is limited to those who have purchased tickets, it meets the definition of a facility,” wrote Nevada Department of Taxation Executive Director Deonne Contine. “Because Burning Man collects the taxable receipts from those attending the event, Burning Man is the taxpayer and responsible for paying (Live Entertainment Taxes) to the State of Nevada.”
Burning Man  had written to the Department of Taxation saying that the festival should be exempt from the 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.” Organisers also said that as entertainment was primarily generated by visitors the tax should not apply.



In June 2015, 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. Certain events including school, sporting, racing and nonprofit events 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. Burning Man’s legal counsel, Elizabeth Stallard, said in December. “Some seem to view Burning Man as the ‘golden goose’ they can turn to when they want money for other projects.”

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