Philly won’t appeal dismissal of attempt to tax lap dancing

Listen

Philadelphia officials have decided not to keep appealing in court to revive the “lap dance tax.” 

 The 30-day window to file an appeal has officially passed since Judge Ellen Ceisler ruled Philadelphia cannot impose its entertainment tax on what goes on inside strip clubs. The tax already applies to cover charges at the clubs.

Attorney George Bochetto represents two of the strip clubs the city unsuccessfully targeted for collection of the “lap dance tax” that might have added up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

“The fact of the matter is they had no authority to impose this kind of new tax in the manner they attempted to do so,” he said Thursday. “It doen’t mean they aren’t entitled to seek the additional taxes, but they just can’t do it by unilaterally imposing it.”

If the city wants to tax this activity, it would have to craft a new law, Bochetto said.

“They are going to have to do in a manner that treats all types of interior entertainment equally. So it’s potentially an issue that doen’t affect just gentlemen’s clubs, but every place of entertainment in the city of Philadelphia,” he said.

A spokesman for Mayor Michael Nutter declined comment on the matter.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.