Nonprofit exemption from admission tax

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

As of Jan. 1, 2016, the nonprofit exemption will be valid for as long as the person receiving the certificate holds a business license tax certificate and remains eligible under SMC 5.40.085(A). Nonprofits that currently hold an exemption certificate that was to expire five years after the date of issuance will be issued a new exemption certificate without an expiration date.

Guidelines to follow

To qualify for the admission tax exemption, a nonprofit must maintain its nonprofit status pursuant to Section 501(c)(3), (4) or (6) of the Internal Revenue Code or be specifically exempted from the requirement to apply for tax exempt status under Sec. 501(c)(3). Additionally, the following criteria must be met for nonprofit-sponsored events to be exempt from the admission tax:

  • None of the nonprofit's income can be distributed to members, directors or officers.
  • The nonprofit must publicly sponsor the event.
  • The nonprofit must present the event at a facility it owns or leases OR perform a major portion of the performance.
  • The nonprofit must organize and receive the use and benefit of the charges collected.
  • In the case of a performance, the seating capacity of the location where the event occurs must be 3,100 or fewer people.

If your nonprofit holds an event that does not qualify to be exempt (e.g., an event at a location with a seating capacity greater than 3,100), you will be subject to the admission tax for that event and will be required to collect and remit the admission tax.

If you no longer meet the nonprofit admission tax exemption requirements you must notify the City by calling 206-684-8484. You will be provided with instructions on how to report going forward or file any past obligations.

Get Started

If you are already registered to report admission tax, download and complete the Nonprofit 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 Nonprofit 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 nonprofits.

SMC 5.40.025(A)(11) covers the tax exemption for nonprofits.