What's an admission tax?
Whenever a charge is collected for admission to any place or event for entertainment or recreation within the Seattle city limits, an admission tax is levied. This tax is collected on both "paid" admission charges and "complimentary" admissions. In other words, the business or organization conducting the event has to collect admission tax on all "admissions" to the event, whether or not the person being admitted paid for his/her ticket. The event or show can be held in a theater, dance hall, amphitheater, private club, auditorium, observation tower, stadium, athletic pavilion or field, amusement park or any similar place. Some exemptions are granted; for more information, call (206) 684-8484 and ask to speak with an Admission Tax Inspector.
Is there anything special I have to provide the City and those attending the event?
Yes. An application for certificate of admission tax is required when there is a charge for entry into an event or show either by ticket sales, cover charge, or invitation. You can
What's the admission tax rate?
The admission tax rate is 5 percent of the established admission charge.
In addition, the City of Seattle business license tax (the B&O tax) is due if gross receipts for a business or organization exceed $100,000 in a calendar year. If gross receipts exceed this threshold, then the B&O tax is levied at either the Service and Other Business Actives rate or the Retail Sales and Retail Services rate.
The rate for the Service and Other Business Activities classification is 0.00415. Admission receipts are typically taxed at this rate. For example, any event where tickets are sold to spectators is taxed under this classification.
The rate for the Retail Sales and Retail Services classification is 0.00215. Admission receipts are taxed at this rate when the tickets sold allow the customer to directly participate in the event. For example, an event that gives the customer the opportunity to dance is taxed under this classification. Concession sales, t-shirts, programs, etc. are taxed under the retailing classification.
What are the license requirements?
To present, perform, or sponsor an event in Seattle which is subject to the Admission Tax, you must have the following:
For more information contact the Licensing & Tax Administration's
The material in this site is intended for general informational purposes only. While it is current at the time of publication, changes to the Seattle Municipal Code (SMC) or state law may invalidate some of this information. In the event of a conflict between this guide and the SMC, the SMC prevails.
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