ADMISSION TAX

Admission tax is added to the ticket price or other charge that attendees pay to enter entertainment venues or events in Seattle. This is processed and paid outside of the Seattle Special Event permit process.

Before you host any event that charges for entry, you must have an admission tax endorsement on your business license tax certificate. If you do not have the admission tax endorsement, download and fill out the Admission Tax Application Form.


Tax rate

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

Guidelines

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.

Of the revenue generated by the admission tax, 75 percent 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

You must meet specific requirements to be exempt from the admission tax. See the following links for more information on two specific exemptions: 

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.