Kansas City, MO (via KCStar): “The Department of Revenue on Sunday began enforcing collection of a 4-percent tax on yoga and Pilates classes…”
Why? Because they are now considered commercial and places of “amusement, entertainment or recreation.”
But Debbie Borel, studio director at The Yoga Barn in south Kansas City, has something to say about it.
“This is a couple people up in a room somewhere far away from yoga classes making arbitrary decisions so the state can make more money,” Ms. Borel said “It’s inappropriate.”
Michael Shabsin, a St. Louis-area lawyer and yoga instructor joins in!
“The practice of yoga in a studio setting is a spiritual practice, and is not done for entertainment,” he said.
But the state fires back!
“It was not because of the state’s revenue situation,” said Ted Farnen, a Revenue Department spokesman. “It was based on the fact that we wanted to apply this tax in a fair and even way.”
He’s referring to the 2008 state Supreme Court ruling that says the tax could apply to fitness facilities.
How to solve this nightmare? The method of choice (or desperation) right now is going the route of clarifying the definition of yoga. Is it fitness? Is it education? Is it religious? So here we go again, having to define and redefine yoga to sidestep a government stranglehold. Hey, maybe the real yoga shouldn’t be taxed and the fake-o stuff should foot the bill. Or perhaps our pal Bob W. had the right idea with the alternative Yobo. Just change the name! But then who gets to decide which is which? (this has come up a few other times… yogort anyone?
“Farnen said in a statement that the Revenue Department would consider religious exemptions to the tax on a case-by-case basis.”
Fabulous, let’s have the religious debate again shall we? We’re keeping an eye on this one.
Meanwhile, in other regulator news, commenter Roger Rippy, of YogaOne in Houston, alerted us to Texas now throwing their cowboy hat in the licensing ring. Here’s his comment from the NY State Licensing post:
All: Texas is lining up to do battle. We are forming a Texas Yoga Association for teachers, studios and schools to unite to advocate in support of common interests. Please contact Jennifer@breathecure.org for more information.
When we said Yogis Unite! we weren’t kidding. YANY is still working hard to fight for the bill which would exempt studios with teacher training programs from paying outrageous fees to NY State. As of now the jury is still out, but at least the message has been sent. And a yogi’s intention is not something you want to mess with!
Earlier…Teaching Yoga? License and Registration, Please!
Update: Victory for NY Yoga Studios! Licensing Shakedown Squashed
VA Licensing Update: Yogis Rally Rebuttal, Open Avocation vs. A Vocation Debate