Chapter 3.44ADMISSIONS TAX

Sections:

3.44.010
Tax Levied.
3.44.020
Definitions.
3.44.030
Admission Tax Exemption.
3.44.040
Form of Admission Ticket.
3.44.050
Collection of Tax.
3.44.060
Remittance of Tax.
3.44.070
Books and Records.
3.44.080
Termination of Collector's Business.
3.44.090
Procedure Upon Failure to File Return.
3.44.100
Interest and Penalty.
3.44.110
Selling Tickets Above Stated Price.
3.44.120
Rules and Regulations.
3.44.125
Applications and Returns Confidential.
3.44.130
Failure to Remit.
3.44.140
Violation - Penalty.
3.44.150
Severability.
3.44.010Tax Levied.

A tax is levied on every person paying an admission fee, cover charge, entrance price or similar compensation of any nature whatsoever or however paid, to any place where an admission charge as defined in this Chapter is paid, in the amount of one cent on twenty cents or fraction thereof of the admission charge to such place, including but not limited to any motion picture theater; dance hall, amphitheater, auditorium, stadium, athletic pavilion or field, baseball or other athletic park, golf course or driving range, circus side show, outdoor amusement park, merry-go-round, ferris wheel, roller coaster, observation tower and similar activity, event, attraction, facility, building, structure, location or place. The tax shall also be assessed on the value of admission where a person is admitted free of charge or at reduced rates to any place for which other persons pay a charge or a regular higher charge for the same privileges or accommodations, in which case, the tax shall be computed on the basis of the regular higher charge for the same privileges or accommodations. The tax shall also be assessed on the value of admission where a person is admitted free of charge, but where the person is required to make one or more purchase(s) or a minimum purchase or minimum number of purchases, in which case, the value of the admission is deemed to be the price or cost to the person of the required purchase(s) or minimum purchase(s), and the tax shall be computed on the basis of such cost or price. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.020Definitions.

A. “Admission charge” is the amount which must be paid as a condition to being admitted to an event, activity, show, play, course, place or business, whether for recreation, entertainment or otherwise, and whether as a participant or spectator, and whether or not such amount includes payment for any other products, services, rentals, beverages, food or other items or benefits. It includes the charge made for season tickets or subscriptions, and includes the cover charge, or charge made for use of seats and tables reserved or otherwise, and other similar accommodations; and the charge made for food and refreshment in any place where free entertainment, recreation or amusement is provided; and includes the 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.

B. “Arts organization” as used in subsection 3.44.020(D) means a not-for-profit, 501(C)(3) organization whose principal function or purpose involves the following kinds of events: performances of ballet, dance or choral performances, concerts (instrumental or vocal), plays (with or without music), operas, literary readings, exhibitions of paintings, sculpture, photography, graphic and craft arts. Events not included within the exception of subsection 3.44.020(D) are movies, circuses, ice or burlesque shows, sporting events and dances, performances, shows, or exhibitions of any other type or nature. This provision is to be construed against allowing an exemption, unless an event falls clearly with an exempt category.

C. “Department” means the Finance Department of the City, its employees, agents, or representatives.

D. “Person” means an individual, receiver, assignee, firm, copartnership, joint venture, corporation, company, joint stock company, association, society, or a group of individuals acting as a unit whether mutual, cooperative, fraternal, nonprofit, or otherwise.

E. “Place” includes a theater, dance hall, amphitheater, auditorium, stadium, athletic pavilion or field, baseball or other athletic park, golf course or driving range, circus side show, outdoor amusement park, merry-go-round, ferris wheel, roller coaster, observation tower and similar attraction, facility, building, structure or location. (Ord. 167 §1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.030Admission Tax Exemption.

The admission tax is not imposed:

A. when the admission charge, either for a single event or by prorating a season ticket or subscription price, is ten cents or less;

B. upon a person paying an admission charge to an activity of an elementary or secondary school where the school or school district is the sponsor;

C. where no admission charge or compensating payment is made, other than as provided in Section 3.44.010 of this Chapter;

D. upon a person paying an admission charge to an activity or performance of a nonprofit arts organization furnishing evidence of tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (c)(3); provided:

1. this exemption applies only if the artistic performance or activity represents examples of the arts organization's primary purpose, whereas this exemption does not apply when the arts organization merely sponsors or promotes an attraction or professional engagement; and

2. the City taxes and licenses office receives a properly completed application, including proof of tax-exempt status, for this exemption at least fifteen days prior to the event;

E. upon a person paying an admission charge to an activity or performance of a nonprofit organization furnishing evidence of tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code Section 501 (C) (3); provided:

1. For each nonprofit organization this exemption applies only to the first twenty thousand dollars of gross ticket sales generated from its event within each calendar year; and

2. The City taxes and licenses office receives a properly completed application, including proof of tax-exempt status, for this exemption at least fifteen days prior to the event; and

3. The City taxes and licenses office receives a properly completed tax return within three business days or other time set by the office, following an event, showing proof of gross ticket sales and other information requested by the office. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.040Form of Admission Ticket.

A. A person may not sell or offer for sale an admission ticket, card or similar device, which does not have the name of the place of the ticketed event and the total admission price, which shall include the admissions tax, conspicuously and indelibly printed, stamped, or written on that part of the ticket which is to be taken up by the management of the place at the time of admission.

B. All tickets, cards or similar devices sold must be consecutively numbered or reflect house seat locations to allow the City taxes and licenses office to verify the number of tickets sold. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.050Collection of Tax.

Every person receiving payment for admission is required to collect the amount of the admissions tax from the person making the admission payment and at the time the admission charge is paid. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.060Remittance of Tax.

A. The tax collected under Section 3.44.050 is held in trust until paid to the City Finance Department. Should a person required to collect the admissions tax fail either to collect or remit the tax, the City shall have a similar claim for the amount of the tax, plus interest as provided in this chapter, against the proceeds of admissions charges received by such person.

B. Unless in a particular case the City Manager or designee directs or authorizes a different procedure, each person required to collect the admissions tax must file a tax return accompanied by remittance of the tax due bimonthly, by the fifteenth day of the month next following the end of each bimonthly reporting period. The City Manager prescribes the form and content of the tax returns. Whenever it appears that the collection of taxes due is in jeopardy, the City Manager, after notice to the person collecting the tax, is authorized to require reporting and payment of taxes due at any interval other than bimonthly as the City Manager shall deem appropriate under the circumstances. For the purposes of this Chapter, “City Manager” refers to the City Manager for the City or designee.

C. Not by way of limiting the City Manager's discretion to regulate the remittance of the tax under this chapter, the City Manager is specifically authorized to require verified annual tax returns and to require the immediate remittance of the tax on admissions to a single event or series of a temporary or transitory nature.

D. Payment or remittance of the tax collected may be made by check, unless payment or remittance is otherwise required by the City Manager, but payment by check shall not relieve the person collecting the tax from liability for payment and remittance of the tax to the Department unless the check is honored and is in the full and correct amount.

E. The City Manager may, after notice to the person collecting the tax, require the placement of taxes collected in a trust account at an approved local depository bank. The taxes collected shall be held in said trust account until payment to the Department. The City Manager shall have such authority to deem when a trust account is necessary to insure payment of the taxes collected to the City. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.070Books and Records.

Every person required to collect the admissions tax is required to keep and make available at all reasonable times for inspection and audit by the City Manager or designee all books, records, and accounts pertinent to the tax for a period of two years. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.080Termination of Collector's Business.

Whenever a person required to collect the tax under this chapter quits or otherwise disposes of the business, any tax collected becomes immediately payable to the City of Lakewood. If such tax is not remitted within ten days after a sale or other disposal of the business, the purchaser or successor becomes liable to the City for such tax. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.090Procedure Upon Failure to File Return.

Whenever a person required to collect the tax under this chapter quits or otherwise disposes of the business, any tax collected becomes immediately payable to the City of Lakewood. If such tax is not remitted within ten days after a sale or other disposal of the business, the purchaser or successor becomes liable to the City for such tax. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.100Interest and Penalty.

A. Should a person fail to pay the tax due in the time prescribed, said person shall become liable for interest on the tax due at the rate of one percent per month.

B. Should a person fail to pay the tax due within thirty days after it is due, said person shall become liable for a penalty of ten percent of the amount of the tax due, in addition to the interest provided for in subsection A of this section, and in addition to any other rights to enforce the requirements of this Chapter that the City may have pursuant to this Chapter or under law or equity. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.110Selling Tickets Above Stated Price.

A. No person may sell an admission ticket, card or similar device at a price in excess of the price printed, stamped, or written thereon, as required in Section 3.44.040.

B. This section does not forbid a ticket agent, duly authorized to sell tickets by the event presenter, from collecting a reasonable handling charge from the purchaser, in addition to the disclosed ticket price, consistent with general marketing practices in the Puget Sound area. The handling charge is not part of the admission charge for purposes of the City admissions tax. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.120Rules and Regulations.

The City Manager or designee is authorized to adopt and promulgate rules and regulations for administration and enforcement of this chapter, a copy of which shall be placed on file for public examination in the office of the City Clerk. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.125Applications and Returns Confidential.

A. The applications and returns made to the City Manager pursuant to this Chapter or any audit or investigation made by the City Manager may not be made public, nor are they subject to the inspection of any person except as herein provided. This section does not prohibit the City or its agents from:

1. giving such facts or information in evidence in any court action involving the tax imposed hereunder or involving a violation of this chapter;

2. giving such facts and information to the person paying the tax or his duly authorized agent;

3. publishing statistics so classified as to prevent the identification of particular returns and reports of items thereof; or

4. permitting its records to be audited and examined by the proper state officer, his agents and employees.

B. The City consents to the inspection of such records as necessary by the State Department of Revenue. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.130Failure to Remit.

Any person failing to timely remit any admissions tax payable to the City is personally liable for the amount of tax due and for interest and penalty as provided in Section 3.44.100 and is also subject to prosecution for violation of this chapter. Any tax due and unpaid under this chapter, and all penalties thereon, constitute a debt to the City and may be collected by court proceedings in the same manner as any other debt in like amount, which remedy is in addition to all other existing remedies. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.140Violation - Penalty.

It is unlawful for a person to fail to comply with any requirement of this chapter or the rules and regulations promulgated hereunder. Each violation is a separate offense punishable by fine not to exceed one thousand dollars, imprisonment for not more than ninety days, or both such fine and imprisonment. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)

3.44.150Severability.

Should any provision of this chapter or its application to any person or circumstances beheld invalid, the remainder of the Chapter or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected. (Ord. 167 § 1 (part), 1998.)