No Tax for NY Studios

Studio owners sigh in relief when the state's taxation department decides not to impose a dreaded tax.
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Studio owners sigh in relief when the state's taxation department decides not to impose a dreaded tax.

New York will not collect sales tax from yoga studios, according to an advisory issued last week by the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance.

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Since yoga is a spirituality practice, not just exercise, yoga studios will not be subject to the same taxes as gyms in the state.

This is a victory for the nonprofit organization Yoga for New York, which has been rallying against the taxes since last year. In April the group held benefit classes to raise money for the cause.

"I am deeply pleased that the meaningful dialogue that we've had with the New York State Department of Taxation & Finance has led to this outstanding result for yoga studios and yoga students, so many of whom are waiters, dancers, and students," said Yoga for New York Director Alison West. "They could ill afford to pay an extra dollar for classes. This solution also takes care of the problem of the back-tax issue that would have bankrupted studios."

While West is happy with the news, she said her organization still has work to do to help yoga businesses thrive. She is working with the Department of Labor to ensure studios are allowed to keep their teachers on the payroll as independent contractors instead of employees, and would also like to see the end of a building permit mandate from the NYC Department of Buildings that costs studios more money.