Music venue exemption from admission tax

Music venues in Seattle can get a certificate of exemption for the admission tax if they meet certain requirements.

Venues that hold fewer than 1,000 people

Venues that host live music performances that hold a certificate of occupancy of fewer than 1,000 people generally may qualify for the admissions tax exemption if they:

  • Hold fewer than 1,000 people.
  • Host live music at least three days each week.
  • Host a minimum of 16 individual performances each week.
  • Stay out of legal trouble.
  • Have a current Seattle business license tax certificate.
  • Stay current on business license taxes and file quarterly live music event reports.
  • Obtain an admissions tax certificate of exemption from the City of Seattle.

Venues that hold 500 or fewer people

Starting Jan. 1, 2016, venues that host live music performances that hold a certificate of occupancy of 500 or fewer people may qualify for the admissions tax exemption if they:

  • Hold 500 or fewer people.
  • Host live music at least two days each week.
  • Stay out of legal trouble.
  • Have a current Seattle business license tax certificate.
  • Stay current on business license taxes and file an annual live music event report.
  • Obtain an admissions tax certificate of exemption from the City of Seattle.

Guidelines to follow

Once you get your certificate of exemption, you'll be required to file your Seattle business license taxes each quarter (or annually). You must verify that your business continues to meet the exemption certificate requirements outlined above.

For additional resources and information about live music in Seattle, visit the Seattle Office of Film + Music webpage.

Get Started

If you are already registered to report admission tax, download and complete the Live Music Venue Admission Tax Exemption packet.

If you are not currently registered to report admission tax, download and complete both the Admission Tax Application Form and the Live Music Venue Admission Tax Exemption packet.

Mail completed forms and requested documentation to:
City of Seattle
License and Tax Administration
ATTN: Tamiko Fujio
700 Fifth Ave., Suite 4250
P.O. Box 34214
Seattle, WA  98124-4214

Read the code

You can read the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) for legal details about the admission tax exemption for music venues.

SMC Chapter 5.40.028 covers the tax exemption for music venues.

Seattle business tax rule 5-901 provides further information.