After failing to introduce new taxes on soda and cigarettes, city officials in Philadelphia have decided to start taxing lap dances at strip clubs as part of an "amusement fee."
"It's over the top. Unbelievable," said George Bochetto, a lawyer representing the two most popular gentlemen's clubs in the city, Club Risque and Cheerleaders, Philly.com reported.
The city audited the lap-dance encounters at the clubs, "then issued an assessment going back five years," plus interest and penalties, he said.
Mr. Bochetto claims the city is merely imposing the 5 percent tax out of "financial desperation."
A City Hall source told Philly.com that the city feels it can run an amusement tax because a lap dance is a "separate experience."
The city describes the tax as being applied to "the admission fee charged for attending any amusement in Philadelphia. Included are concerts, movies, athletic contests, night clubs and convention shows for which admission is charged."
Mr. Bochetto argues that the tips thrust at strippers is not a separate entrance fee.
According to appeal petitions, Cheerleaders owes $486,482 and Club Risque owes $320,538. The clubs will make their case before the Tax Review Board on July 23, The Daily Mail reported.
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