Admission tax

Admission tax is added to the ticket price or other charge that attendees pay to enter entertainment venues or events in Seattle.

Before you host any event that charges for entry, contact us to get an admission tax endorsement put on your Seattle business license. We can also explain the details of collecting and filing the tax.

Tax rate

The Seattle admission tax rate is 0.05 (5%). The rate is applied to the full admission charge.

Guidelines to follow

Attendees pay the tax. But it is the organizer's responsibility to charge and collect the tax. Then, the organizer must pay the collected amount when taxes are filed. The organization is liable for the tax whether or not it is collected.

 The admission tax is often overlooked, which could result in
     significant penalties

You are required to pay the tax for everyone attending the event, even if some customers received their tickets free or at a reduced price. Asking customers for a voluntary contribution in lieu of an admission charge does not exempt you from paying the tax.

When you contact us about your event, provide:

  • description
  • date(s)
  • location
  • name of the landlord where the event is held

Of the revenue generated by the admission tax, 75% goes to the Seattle Arts Account. The Arts Account supports programs that keep artists living and working in Seattle. The fund also creates art opportunities for Seattle youth.

Exemption from the admission tax

If you obtain a certificate of exemption from us, then you don't have to pay admission tax. You must meet specific requirements, however, to be exempt from the admission tax. Please contact us if you think your event is exempt.

Most music venues in Seattle are exempt from the admission tax. But they must follow specific rules to maintain exempt status. For an overview, see music venue exemption from admission tax.

Read the code

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) for legal details about the admissions tax.

SMC Chapter 5.40 covers the admissions tax.

Seattle business tax rule 5-900 provides further information.