Chapter 3.43
ADMISSIONS TAX

Sections:

3.43.010    Definitions.

3.43.020    Certificate of registration.

3.43.030    Tax levied.

3.43.040    Business license required.

3.43.050    Exemptions.

3.43.060    Counting number of admissions.

3.43.070    Printing admission charges.

3.43.075    Unlawful sales of tickets in excess of price.

3.43.080    Posting admission charge.

3.43.090    Tickets sold elsewhere than regular ticket office.

3.43.100    Collection and remittance.

3.43.110    Penalty for late payment.

3.43.120    Transient business remittance.

3.43.130    Applications and returns confidential.

3.43.140    Sporting events and places.

3.43.150    Ticket sale outlet.

3.43.160    Overpayment of admissions tax.

3.43.170    Inspection of records.

3.43.180    Violator – Violations.

3.43.190    Penalty for violation.

3.43.010 Definitions.

A. “Admissions charge,” in addition to this usual and ordinary meaning, includes but is not limited in meaning to:

1. A charge for season tickets or subscriptions;

2. Required “donation”;

3. A cover charge, or a charge made for use of seats and tables reserved or otherwise, and other similar accommodations;

4. A charge made for food and refreshment in any place where free entertainment, recreation or amusement is provided;

5. A charge made for rental or use of equipment or facilities for purposes of recreation or amusement; if the rental of the equipment or facilities is necessary to the enjoyment of a privilege for which a general admission is charged, the combined charges shall be considered as the admission charge;

6. Automobile parking charges if the amount of the charge is determined according to the number of passengers in the automobile;

7. Admission to dinner theater: tax shall be on the entire/full price for a ticket for a dinner; provided, that if the admission charge is separate from dinner, i.e., if one can be admitted without paying a charge for dinner, then the tax shall be on the charge paid for the ticket without dinner; otherwise, the entire amount/charge shall be taxed. The admission tax would only apply to that fee actually paid for admission, and not include cover charges to night clubs, lounges, private clubs, or similar places;

8. Admission to any theater, public dance or dance hall, amphitheater, auditorium, stadium, athletic pavilion or field, baseball or athletic park, carnival, circus, amusement or side show, exhibition, swimming pool, outdoor amusement park, roof garden, cabaret, skating rink, resort, picnic ground, or any other similar type place. Admission to any carnival, amusement park, etc.: admission tax shall be imposed upon admission to carnivals, amusement parks, etc., however the city will not impose an additional tax upon admissions to any mechanical devices, amusements type booths or activities and/or rides such as merry-go-rounds, Ferris wheels, etc., within that event, unless there is no admission charge “at the gate” for such events. Then the person conducting the event is required to collect a tax per LMC 3.43.030 for the admission to the various rides.

B. “Fraternal” means an association or society of persons formed for mutual aid and benefit, but not for profit.

C. “Government activities” means activities that are sponsored or conducted by other local governments, county, state or federal governments.

D. “Person” means any individual, receiver, assignee, firm, copartnership, joint venture, corporation, company, joint stock association, society, any group of individuals acting as a unit, whether mutual, cooperative or fraternal, or any nonprofit or not-for-profit corporation or organization as the term “nonprofit” is defined under the statutes of the state of Washington, RCW 82.04.365 and 82.04.366.

E. “Place” includes, but is not limited to, theaters, dance halls, amphitheaters, auditoriums, stadiums, athletic pavilions and fields, baseball and athletic parks, circuses, carnivals, amusements or side shows, exhibitions, swimming pools, outdoor amusement parks or similar type areas.

F. “Religious organization” means an organization engaged in the practice of a particular faith or central beliefs.

G. “Ticket sales outlet” means the location of any agency, person, group, etc. that is in charge of distributing, selling, or otherwise managing the sale of tickets and are collecting the fees for such tickets to any of the described events.

H. “Transient” means temporary, short-lived, nonpermanent or nonlasting.

I. “City-sponsored event” means any program or event provided by the city of Lynnwood or any of its departments.

J. “City co-sponsored event” means an event which benefits the community and for which the city of Lynnwood and another entity share jointly the expenses and responsibilities of providing the event. For an event to be co-sponsored by the city, there must be a formal written agreement entered into between the city and the other entity or entities sponsoring the event in which the city agrees to the co-sponsorship. A lease agreement from the city to another entity does not constitute co-sponsorship unless the lease specifically provides that it does.

K. “Nonprofit organization” means an organization, corporation, or association organized and operated for the advancement, appreciation, public exhibition or performance, preservation, study and/or teaching of the performing arts, visual arts, history, science, or a public charity providing social or human services or public education and which is currently recognized by the United States of America as exempt form federal income taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(1) or (3) of the Internal Revenue Code, as now existing or hereafter amended. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.020 Certificate of registration.

A. Every person, firm or corporation, prior to conducting or operating any event, or place of entrance, to which an admission charge is made, shall complete a certificate of registration and file the same with the finance director. The certificate of registration shall continue to be valid until December 31st of the same year in which it was issued. The application for certificate of registration, or a duplicate of it shall be posted in the ticket office or box office where tickets or admission are sold.

B. Whenever registration is made for the purpose of operating or conducting a temporary or transitory event by persons who are not the owners, lessees or custodians of the building, lots or place where the activity is to be conducted, both the person conducting the event and the owner, lessee or custodian, shall be held jointly liable for collection and remittance of the said tax. The owner, lessee and/or custodian shall be responsible for the remittance of the entire admissions tax unless the tax is paid by the conductor of the event. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.030 Tax levied.

There is hereby levied and imposed upon every person without regard to age who pays an admission charge to any place as described in LMC 3.43.010, a tax of five percent of the amount paid for admission. Failure to pay such tax or failure to collect such tax shall be a violation of this chapter. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.040 Business license required.

In addition to any licenses and fees required under this chapter, every applicant shall also obtain a business license pursuant to LMC Title 5. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.050 Exemptions.

The following activities are exempt from the provisions of this chapter:

A. Activities of elementary and secondary schools;

B. Activities of churches and religious organizations;

C. Government activities;

D. City-sponsored and city co-sponsored events; provided, that for profit activities conducted in conjunction with such an event shall not be exempt;

E. Activities of nonprofit organizations, as defined in LMC 3.43.010(K); provided, that all of the following requirements are met:

1. The nonprofit organization:

a. Publicly sponsors and through its members, representatives or personnel promotes and publicizes the event; or

b. Publicly sponsors and:

i. Performs a major portion of the performance; or

ii. Supplies a major portion of the materials on exhibit; or

iii. When the event is part of a season or series of performances or exhibitions, performs the major portion of the performances or exhibitions in the season or series or supplies a major portion of the materials on exhibit;

2. The nonprofit organization receives the use and benefit of the admission charges collected;

3. The proceeds from any single event sponsored by the nonprofit organization do not exceed $100,000;

4. The event for which the exemption is claimed cannot be one for which a nonprofit organization lends its name as an endorsement to an ineligible person or organization for the purpose of invoking the exemption;

5. The nonprofit organization must be registered with the finance director’s office as provided in LMC 3.43.020 and must provide a copy of its incorporation approval by the state of Washington and any other proof deemed reasonably necessary by the finance director to verify that the organization meets the definition of nonprofit organization established by this chapter;

F. Activities occurring at the Lynnwood Convention Center. (Ord. 2635 § 1, 2006; Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.060 Counting number of admissions.

Whenever a charge is made for admission to any place, a serially numbered or reserved seat ticket shall be furnished to the person paying such charge unless written approval has been obtained from the finance director to use a turnstile or other counting device which will accurately count the number of paid admissions. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.070 Printing admission charges.

A. The established price of admission, any noncity tax, city tax, and the total price at which each admission ticket or card is sold, shall be conspicuously and indelibly printed or written on the face or back of that part of the ticket which is to be retained by the management of the place to which admission is gained. This requirement may be waived in regard to temporary or transient events, which due to time make it impossible to print up admission tickets. This waiver must be reviewed and authorized by the finance director’s office prior to authorizing the event.

B. It is unlawful for any person to sell an admission ticket or card without having the name of the person conducting the event and the price of admission printed, stamped or written thereon. The admission tax due shall be based on the established price printed on each ticket. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.075 Unlawful sales of tickets in excess of price.

It is unlawful for anyone to sell or offer to sell an admission ticket or card at a price in excess of the price printed, stamped or written thereon. This section does not prohibit a ticket agent, duly authorized to sell tickets by the person or entity responsible for or in charge of conducting the subject vent, from collecting a reasonable handling charge from the purchaser, in addition to the disclosed ticket price, consistent with general marketing practices in the Lynnwood area. The handling charge shall also be subject to tax in a sum equal to five percent of the amount of such excess or handling charge. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.080 Posting admission charge.

At all events, when a charge is made for admission a sign must be posted in a conspicuous place at its entrance or ticket office of the event which breaks down the admission charge as to:

A. Established price of admission;

B. Noncity tax imposed, if any;

C. City tax imposed; and

D. Total price.

The name of the company or organization conducting the event, shall also be posted at the same place. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.090 Tickets sold elsewhere than regular ticket office.

Whenever tickets are sold by a person outside of the city limits for an event located within the city limits, that person shall collect the admission tax imposed thereon. Whenever tickets or cards of admission are sold elsewhere than the ticket or box office of the place of event, any price or charge made in excess of the established price or charge at such ticket or box office shall also be taxable in a sum equal to five percent of the amount of such excess. This additional tax shall be paid by the person paying the admission charge and shall be collected and remitted in the manner provided in LMC 3.43.100 by the person selling such tickets. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.100 Collection and remittance.

A. The person, firm or corporation receiving payment for admissions on which a tax is levied under this chapter, shall collect the amount of the tax imposed from the person making payment for admission, shall hold said tax in trust until the same is remitted to the finance director as herein provided, and shall be personally liable for the amount of such tax if the same is not collected and remitted as herein provided; provided, however, that for temporary or transient events, the owner, custodian etc., may be responsible for the payment of the tax per LMC 3.43.020 and this section.

B. The tax imposed by this chapter shall be due and payable on a quarterly basis and remittance therefor shall accompany each return and be in the finance director’s office by 5:00 p.m. P.S.T. on or before the last day of each April, July, October and January, by the person, firm or corporation collecting the same; provided, the finance director for good cause may require the return and remittance of the admissions tax immediately upon its collection or at the conclusion of the series of performances or exhibitions, or otherwise as the finance director deems appropriate. The quarterly returns shall be made on forms provided by the finance director, separately stating the number of admissions sold, the price for each admission, and the amount of tax, shall be signed and verified by the person making the return, and shall contain such other information as the finance director may specify. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.110 Penalty for late payment.

A. For each payment due, if such payment is not made by 5:00 p.m. on the due date, there shall be added penalties as follows:

1. One to 15 days’ delinquency, 10 percent with a minimum penalty of $10.00;

2. After 15 days’ delinquency, 15 percent with a minimum penalty of $10.00 shall be imposed.

B. Failure to pay tax is a violation of this chapter and may be punished as such in addition to the late fees imposed. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.120 Transient business remittance.

Whenever any theater, carnival, circus, show, exhibition, public dance, entertainment or amusement or the like makes an admission charge which is subject to the tax herein levied, and the same is of a temporary or transitory nature, of which the finance director shall be the judge, the finance director may require the return and remittance of the admissions tax immediately upon its collection or at the conclusion of the series of performances or exhibitions, or otherwise as the finance director deems appropriate. An application for a certificate of registration shall be required as noted in LMC 3.43.020. For temporary or transient events, the owner, lessee or custodian shall be responsible for payment of this tax if the person conducting the event fails to do so. Failure to comply with any requirement of the finance director as to reporting and remittance of the tax as required shall be a violation of this chapter. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.130 Applications and returns confidential.

The applications and returns made to the finance director pursuant to this chapter shall not be made public, nor shall they be subject to the inspection of anyone except the mayor, city attorney, finance director or authorized agent, the members of the city council, etc., unless otherwise provided by law. It is unlawful for any person to make public or to inform another person as to the contents or any information contained in or to permit inspection of any application or return except as authorized in this section or otherwise in the State Privacy Act or other provisions of state law. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.140 Sporting events and places.

There shall be levied an admission tax of five percent of the amount paid where an admission is required to be paid to gain entrance to any building, enclosure, place or area in which there is a swimming pool, skating rink, bowling alley, golf course, golf driving range, miniature golf course, short nine, or to gain entrance to such pool, rink or course itself, that shall be applicable to both private and public facilities or any other similar event charging admission fees. This tax shall be assessed on admission charges whether in the form of membership fees or other charges for privilege of using the above areas. If no admission is required to be paid to gain entrance to such a facility, no admission tax is due, even if within the facility, place or area, activities occur which require an admissions tax. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.150 Ticket sale outlet.

The admissions tax shall apply to tickets sold by Lynnwood-based ticket sales outlets for local events only. Additionally, the tax shall also apply to ticket sales outlets which are not located in Lynnwood but are selling tickets for events in Lynnwood. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.160 Overpayment of admissions tax.

Whenever the taxpayer has made an over-payment and within one year after date of such overpayment, upon submission of satisfactory proof thereof, makes application for refund or credit of the overpayment, such refund or credit shall, where appropriate, be made. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.170 Inspection of records.

The books, records, and accounts of any person, firm or corporation collecting a tax herein levied, shall, as to admission charges and tax collections, be at all reasonable times subject to examination and audit by the finance director and/or the state auditor, and all such records shall be retained and be available for such inspection for a period of at least six years. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.180 Violator – Violations.

Any person who directly or indirectly performs or omits to perform any act in violation of this chapter, including reporting posting requirements or aids or abets the same, whether present or absent, and every person who directly or indirectly counsels, encourages, hires, commands, induces or otherwise procures another to commit such violation is, and shall be a principal under the terms of this chapter, subject to penalty, and may be proceeded against such. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)

3.43.190 Penalty for violation.

Every person violating or failing to comply with any provision of this chapter or any lawful rule or regulation adopted by the finance director pursuant thereto, is guilty of a gross misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine not to exceed $5,000 or by imprisonment for a term not to exceed one year or by both such fine and imprisonment.

In addition to any other remedy, no business license shall be issue or renewed, and an existing business license may be revoked, for a business which has failed to pay taxes or penalties required pursuant to this chapter; provided, a business license shall not be withheld if the license is in compliance with an administrative or court order concerning payment of taxes or penalties. (Ord. 2291 § 1, 1999)