We’ve highlighted the debate about whether yoga studios in the U.S. Capitol ought to fall under a new sales tax, but at this point the debate is over. The tax took effect on Oct. 1.
I kid, of course. Like the debate will be over. Stay tuned.
But, for now, yoga studios still fall under the new tax, at 5.75%, because they count as “health clubs.”
The key argument point for those opposing the tax on yoga studios is that yoga isn’t about exercise. Even the BBC picked up that theme. Here’s the argument as presented to the Capitol Hill paper Roll Call:
Members of the yoga community made their case to representatives from the Office of Tax and Revenue last week and, on Tuesday, they launched an effort to lobby D.C. council members.
“None of us in the yoga community think the purpose is physical exercise,” Richard Karpel, president of Yoga Alliance, told CQ Roll Call in a recent phone interview. He later said, “Yoga is the union of the body, the mind and the spirit … The idea, when you practice yoga, is to create that union.”
The Washington Post also has a nice info piece on the tax. It includes this:
Q. Why do yoga studios meet this definition?
A. The language of the imposition statute includes in the definition of health clubs “other facility[ies] for the purpose of physical exercise.” This language is broad enough to cover yoga studios.
It looks, from the Post piece, like there are some fairly obvious work-arounds. Maybe not so much for a dedicated yoga studio, though.
And for everyone who doesn’t live / work in D.C., here’s a reason to pay attention to this story: Your city could be the next one to figure it needs more revenue and look to a similar tax. If that gets you worked up, check our Tim Miller’s latest — on “at-one-ment.”
Posted by Steve