Chapter 3.76


3.76.010    Exercise of revenue license power.

3.76.020    Definitions.

3.76.030    Tax imposed.

3.76.040    Tax on admission.

3.76.050    Exemptions.

3.76.060    Deductions.

3.76.070    Business license required.

3.76.080    Reporting periods—When due and payable.

3.76.090    Mailing of notices.

3.76.100    Payment of tax.

3.76.110    Failure to file return.

3.76.120    Additional amounts due.

3.76.130    Delinquent tax returns—Late payment—Penalty.

3.76.140    Ticket numbering—Counting number of admissions.

3.76.150    Printing admission charges.

3.76.160    Taxpayer records.

3.76.170    Examination of books.

3.76.180    Suspension of business license and appeal procedure.

3.76.190    Successor to business.

3.76.200    Tax constitutes debt.

3.76.210    Collection of tax.

3.76.220    Appeal.

3.76.010 Exercise of revenue license power.

The provisions of this Chapter 3.76 constitute an exercise of the power of the city to license for revenue. RCW 35.21.280 authorizes the Poulsbo city council to levy and fix an admission tax. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.020 Definitions.

The following definitions shall apply throughout this chapter:

A.    “Admission charge,” in addition to its usual and ordinary meaning, means a monetary charge for an event open to the public, including, but not limited in meaning to:

1.    Charges for entrance and observation, including, but not limited to:

a.    A charge made for season tickets or subscriptions;

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

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

d.    A charge made for admission to any theater, dance hall, cabaret, adult cabaret, amphitheater, club, haunted house, auditorium, stadium, athletic pavilion, park or field, baseball or athletic park, circus, amusement ride, or similar place;

e.    A charge made for admission to or rental or use of equipment or facilities to any public golf course, facility, or driving range, skating rink, or bowling alley; if the rental of the equipment or facilities is necessary to the enjoyment of the activity, at which a general admission is charged, the combined charges shall be considered as the admission charge.

2.    Other activities, including the following:

a.    A charge made for automobile parking where the amount of the charge is determined according to the number of passengers in an automobile;

b.    A sum of money referred to as a “donation” or similar payment which must be paid before entrance is allowed.

3.    For purposes of illustration only, the following table provides examples of activities subject to the admission tax (this list is not all inclusive):


Not Taxable


For profit theater


Annual dinner of a nonprofit


Movie theater


Tickets to a show performed for employees only for a for-profit company


Cover charge to restaurant lounge


Elementary or secondary school sponsored activity


Cover charge for admittance to adult entertainment


Charge for entrance to a nonprofit organization’s trade show which is open to the public


Charge for a golf course, skating rink, or bowling alley which is open to the public

B.    “Chapter” means Chapter 3.76 of the Poulsbo Municipal Code, as it may be amended from time to time.

C.    “Department” means the finance department.

D.    “Director” means the director of the finance department or his/her designee.

E.    “Nonprofit tax-exempt 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 public charity providing human services, or public education which is currently recognized by the United States of America as exempt from federal income taxation pursuant to Section 501(c)(1) or (3) of the Internal Revenue code of 1954, as it may be amended or replaced from time to time.

F.    “Reporting period” means:

1.    A one-month period beginning the first day of each calendar month if the taxpayer is on a monthly reporting basis; or

2.    A three-month period beginning the first day of January, April, July and October of each year if the taxpayer is on a quarterly reporting basis.

The director shall determine the taxpayer’s reporting period, pursuant to Section 3.76.080.

G.    “Elementary or secondary school” means any public or private primary, middle school, junior high school, high school, or any accredited college, junior college, university, or the recognized student body association thereof.

H.    “Taxpayer” or “person” means and includes any individual, group of individuals, corporation or association required to have a business license, and/or liable for any license fee or tax, or for the collection of any license fee or tax hereunder, or who engages in any business, or who performs any act for which a license fee or tax is imposed pursuant to this chapter. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.030 Tax imposed.

There is levied and shall be collected a tax from every person, without regard to age, who pays an admission charge. Such tax shall be measured by applying the rates set forth in this chapter to the admission charge. The tax herein levied shall be paid by the person paying the admission charge and shall be collected and remitted by the person to whom the admission charge is paid. The tax required to be collected under this chapter shall be deemed held in trust by the person required to collect the same until remitted to the city.

No tax shall be levied on any person who is admitted free and from whom no compensating payment is obtained. The tax on reduced admission charges shall be charged on such reduced charge and not on the regular admission charge. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.040 Tax on admission.

Upon every person who pays an admission charge within the city, as to such persons, the amount of tax with respect to such activity shall be equal to the admission charge multiplied by the rate of five percent. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.050 Exemptions.

The following shall be exempt from any tax imposed under this chapter:

A.    Admission charges for any activity of any elementary or secondary school;

B.    Admission charges which are three dollars or less;

C.    Events sponsored by nonprofit tax-exempt organizations as defined in Section 3.76.020E which meets the following requirements and/or restrictions:

1.    The admission tax levied and imposed pursuant to Section 3.76.030 shall not apply to any person paying an admission charge to an event that is sponsored by a nonprofit tax-exempt organization, as defined in Section 3.76.020, when the conditions of both of the following subsections C1(a) and (b) are met:

a.    The nonprofit tax-exempt organization:

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

ii.    Publicly sponsors the event, and

(1)    Performs a major portion of the performance, or

(2)    Supplies a major portion of the materials on exhibit, or

(3)    When the event is part of a season or series of performances or exhibitions, and the nonprofit tax-exempt organization performs the major portion of the performances or exhibitions in the season or series or supplies a major portion of the materials on exhibit.

b.    The nonprofit tax-exempt organization receives the use and benefit of the admission charges collected.

2.    The exemption to the admission tax provided in this section shall not apply to:

a.    An event sponsored by a nonprofit tax-exempt organization in which the fee paid for any one for-profit contract or total of contracts is greater than eighty percent of anticipated gross proceeds,

b.    An event in which a nonprofit tax-exempt organization lends its name as an endorsement to an ineligible person or organization for the purpose of invoking the tax exemption provided by this section.

3.    In order to receive the benefit of the tax exemption provided by this section, the nonprofit tax-exempt organization must be licensed with the city of Poulsbo at least thirty days prior to the first event for which an exemption is sought. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.060 Deductions.

In computing the tax imposed by this chapter, the following amounts may be deducted from the measure of the tax:

Amounts derived from business which the city is prohibited from taxing under the Constitution of this state or the Constitution or laws of the United States. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.070 Business license required.

In addition to any licenses and fees required under this chapter, every taxpayer shall also obtain a Poulsbo city business license pursuant to Poulsbo Municipal Code Chapter 5.04. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.080 Reporting periods—When due and payable.

A.    Reporting Period. A taxpayer subject to the provisions of this chapter shall report monthly, quarterly or immediately following the conclusion of the series of performances or exhibitions, or closing of business in accordance with a formula determined by the director. The director shall notify the taxpayer of such determination.

The director may, for good cause shown, extend the time for making and filing any return for such reasonable additional time periods as he/she deems appropriate under the circumstances. This extension does not affect the imposition of penalties pursuant to Section 3.76.130.

B.    When Due and Payable. Except as outlined below, any tax imposed pursuant to this chapter, and/or any reports and returns required to be filed by the taxpayer shall be due and payable on or before the last day of the month next succeeding the end of the reporting period covered by the return.

1.    Transient Businesses. Any activity which is subject to the tax herein, and the charge is of a temporary or transitory nature, of which the director shall make the determination, the director may require the return and remittance of the tax immediately upon its collection, at the conclusion of the series of performances, or exhibitions, or at such other time as the director shall determine.

2.    Business Closures. Whenever any person required to collect and remit admission tax under this chapter shall quit business or otherwise dispose of his or her business, any tax payable hereunder shall become immediately due and payable and such person shall immediately make a return and pay the tax due.

C.    Exemption from Filing Requirements. Any taxpayer who is exempt from the tax pursuant to Section 3.76.050B and C, for the tax year, shall be exempt from the tax filing requirements established in Section 3.76.110. This exemption shall not be construed to exempt a taxpayer from filing any other taxes or fees that may be due.

It shall be the responsibility of the taxpayer to notify the department if they no longer meet the filing exemption set forth in this section. A penalty of twenty-five percent of the tax due shall be added if it is determined that a taxpayer did not fall under the exemption thresholds set forth in Section 3.76.050 and failed to file pursuant to this section. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.090 Mailing of notices.

Any notice or order required by this chapter or required by the Poulsbo Municipal Code to be mailed to any taxpayer, may be sent by ordinary mail, special delivery, personal delivery mail or other similar delivery mail, at the discretion of the director, to the address of the taxpayer as shown by the records of the department. If no such address is shown by the records, mailing shall be to such address as the department is able to ascertain by reasonable effort. Failure of the taxpayer to receive such notice or order, however mailed, shall not release the taxpayer from any obligation for any tax, increase, or penalties.

The department is authorized, but not required, to mail to taxpayers tax returns; however, failure of the taxpayer to receive any such forms shall not excuse the taxpayer from filing returns and making payment of the tax, when and as otherwise due and payable. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.100 Payment of tax.

Payment of admission tax or penalties may be made by legal tender under such procedures as the department may prescribe, but if such form of legal tender so received is not paid by the bank on which it is drawn, the taxpayer shall remain liable for payment of the tax and for all penalties, and fees, the same as if such payment had not been tendered.

A return or remittance which is transmitted to the department by United States mail shall be deemed filed or received on the date shown by the post office cancellation mark stamped upon the envelope containing it.

All returns must be accompanied by a remittance of the tax shown to be due thereon. The department may refuse to accept any return which is not accompanied by a remittance of the tax shown to be due thereon. When a return is not accepted because it is not accompanied by a remittance, the taxpayer shall be deemed to have failed or refused to file a return and shall be subject to the procedures provided in Section 3.76.110 and to the imposition of penalties pursuant to Section 3.76.130.

The department shall keep full and accurate records of all funds received. If a taxpayer is subject to penalties imposed pursuant to Section 3.73.130, the department shall apply any payment remitted by the taxpayer for previous amounts due first to penalties, and then upon the current tax due, without regard to any direction of the taxpayer. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.110 Failure to file return.

If any person fails or refuses to file any return within the time period set forth in this chapter, or to make available for examination any records required by this chapter, the department may proceed, in such manner as it may deem best, to obtain facts and information on which to base its estimate of the tax due and payable, including but not limited to the examination of the books, records, and papers of any such person and may take evidence, on oath, of any person, relating to the subject of inquiry.

As soon as the department procures such facts and information as it is able to obtain upon which to base the assessment of any tax payable by any person who has failed or refused to file a return, it shall proceed to determine and assess against such person any tax or penalties, but such action shall not deprive such person from the opportunity to appeal as herein provided. Penalties shall be added to the assessment as provided in Section 3.76.130. The department shall notify the taxpayer by mail of the total amount of such tax and penalties, which amount shall be paid within thirty days from the date of notice. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.120 Additional amounts due.

If upon examination of any returns or of any other information obtained by the department, it appears that any tax or penalty had been paid which is less than properly due, the department shall assess against the taxpayer such additional amount found to be due and may add thereto a penalty as prescribed in Section 3.76.130. The department shall notify the taxpayer of the additional amount due and the same shall be paid within thirty days from the date of such notice, or within such further time as the department may provide. If payment is not received by the department by the due date specified in the notice, or any extension thereof, the department shall add a penalty as prescribed in Section 3.76.130. If the department finds that all or any part of the deficiency resulted from an intent by the taxpayer to evade the tax payable hereunder, a further penalty of fifty percent of the additional tax found to be due shall be added by the department. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.130 Delinquent tax returns—Late payment—Penalty.

Penalties shall be assessed as follows:

1.    If payment of admission tax due is not received by the department within one to ten days of the due date, there shall be assessed a penalty which shall be due immediately of five percent of the amount of the tax due with a minimum of five dollars; and

2.    If any tax is not received by the department within eleven to twenty days after the due date, there shall be assessed a total penalty which shall be due immediately of seven and one-half percent of the amount of the tax due with a minimum penalty of ten dollars; and

3.    If any tax is not received by the department within twenty-one to thirty-one days after the due date, there shall be assessed a total penalty which shall be due immediately of ten percent of the amount of the tax due with a minimum penalty of twenty dollars;

4.    If any tax is not received by the department within thirty-two to sixty-two days after the due date, there shall be assessed a total penalty which shall be due immediately of fifteen percent of the amount of the tax due with a minimum penalty of twenty-five dollars;

5.    In addition to the above penalties, the department shall assess a penalty of twenty percent of all taxes due for each thirty day period in excess of sixty-two days that such taxes are past due. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.140 Ticket numbering—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 director to use a turnstile or other counting device which will accurately count the number of paid admissions. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.150 Printing admission charges.

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 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 director prior to authorizing the event.

The admission tax due shall be based on the established price printed on each ticket. When a charge is made for admission, a sign must be posted in a conspicuous place at the entrance or ticket office which breaks down the admissions charge as follows:

Admission charge    

City admission tax    

Total price    

(Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.160 Taxpayer records.

Every person liable for any admission tax imposed by this chapter shall keep and preserve, for a period of five years, suitable records as may be necessary to determine the amount of any tax or penalty for which he/she may be liable. All books, records and invoices, including federal, state and city tax returns, shall be open for examination at any time by the department or its duly authorized agent in accordance with and to the extent authorized by applicable law. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.170 Examination of books.

The department or its duly authorized agent may examine any books, papers, records, or other data, or stock of merchandise bearing upon the amount of tax or penalty payable or upon the correctness of any return, or for the purpose of making a return when none has been made, or in order to ascertain whether a return should be made, and may require the attendance of any person at a time and place fixed by the department or its authorized agent in accordance with and to the extent authorized by applicable law. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.180 Suspension of business license and appeal procedure.

The director may request the city clerk to suspend the business license issued to any taxpayer who is in default of any payment of any tax or penalty or who failed to comply with any of the provisions of this chapter of the Poulsbo Municipal Code. The taxpayer shall be notified by mail of such suspension. The city may request that the business license be returned. The taxpayer’s business license shall remain suspended until such time as the taxpayer is in compliance with all applicable provisions of this chapter. Any business license so suspended shall not be reinstated, nor shall a new business license be issued to the taxpayer, until the amount due has been paid, or provision for satisfactory compliance with all applicable code provisions has been entered into with the director. Such provision for satisfactory compliance shall be legally binding on the taxpayer. Any such taxpayer who continues to engage in business after his/her business license has been suspended shall be deemed to be operating without a business license and shall be subject to any or all penalties provided in the Poulsbo Municipal Code Section 5.04.130. Any such taxpayer whose business license is suspended pursuant to Poulsbo Municipal Code Section 5.04.110 may file a written notice of appeal to the city council within ten days of the city clerk’s decision to suspend. The procedure for appeal is set forth in Poulsbo Municipal Code Section 5.04.120. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.190 Successor to business.

Whenever any taxpayer shall quit business or otherwise dispose of his/her business, any tax payable hereunder shall become immediately due and payable and such taxpayer shall immediately make a return and pay the tax due; and if such tax is not paid by said taxpayer within ten days from the date of such sale, exchange or disposal, said purchaser or successor shall likewise thereupon become liable for the payment of the full amount of such tax plus accrued penalties.

No successor shall be liable for any tax or penalty due from the taxpayer from whom the successor has acquired a business or stock of goods if the successor gives written notice to the department of such acquisition and no assessment is issued by the department within six months of receipt of such notice against the former operator of the business. Nothing in this section is intended nor shall it be construed to prohibit the successor from engaging in business in the city pending resolution of the successor’s liability in accordance with the appeal procedures in Section 3.76.220.

If the department has determined that a taxpayer has ceased to do business within the city, the department may cancel that taxpayer’s business license. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.200 Tax constitutes debt.

Any tax and/or penalties due and unpaid, shall constitute a debt of the taxpayer to the city. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.210 Collection of tax.

The city may pursue collection of any fee, tax or penalty due and unpaid to the fullest extent and in any manner authorized by law, including but not limited to the filing of a civil action against the taxpayer for the payment of such debt or the use by the city of a collection agency for such purposes. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)

3.76.220 Appeal.

Any person aggrieved by the amount of the tax or penalty determined by the department to be due under the provisions of this chapter, may appeal such determination pursuant to the following procedure:

A.    Form of Appeal. Any appeal must be in writing and must contain the following:

1.    The name and address of the taxpayer; and

2.    A statement identifying the determination of the department from which the appeal is taken; and

3.    A statement setting forth the grounds upon which the appeal is taken and identifying specific errors the department is alleged to have made in making the determination; and

4.    A statement identifying the requested relief from the determination being appealed.

B.    Any appeal shall be filed with the mayor no later than thirty calendar days following the date on which the determination of the department was mailed to the taxpayer. Failure to follow the appeal procedures in the section shall preclude the taxpayer’s right to appeal.

C.    Decision of the Mayor. After reviewing the department’s determination and taxpayers’s statements, the mayor shall enter a decision on the appeal. A copy of the decision will be mailed to the appellant taxpayer with a copy routed to the department. The decision shall state the correct amount of tax and penalty owing.

D.    Penalty Accrual or Payment. Penalties shall continue to accrue on all unpaid amounts, in accordance with Section 3.76.130 notwithstanding the fact that an appeal had been filed. If the director determines that the taxpayer is owed a refund, such refund amount shall credited to the taxpayer’s account or be refunded to the taxpayer at the taxpayer’s option.

E.    Appeal of the Mayor’s Decision. The decision of the mayor may be appealed to the Superior Court of Kitsap County by the appellant taxpayer or by the department by filing a proper request for a writ of review with the Superior Court. A request for a writ of review must be filed within thirty calendar days following the date that the decision of the mayor was mailed to the parties. Review by the Superior Court shall be on, and shall be limited to, the record on appeal created before the mayor. (Ord. 99-01 § 1 (part), 1999)