Fancy strip club claims its dancers are 'therapists' to avoid taxes
Last time you went to a therapist, what happened?
Did you sit on a cushy love seat and access deep memories of Stepdad Terry, or did you take a seat by the pole with a drink in one hand and $50 in ones in the other while a nice lady named Chrysanthemum motor-boated your face?
Well, if you were a customer at the Penthouse Executive Club — a fancy Manhattan strip club that's claiming it's a therapist's office — you probably experienced the latter.
Penthouse Executive — which apparently has the "best meat and fish in town" (3.4 stars) — recently made news by claiming their dancers are just really, really attractive "therapists" providing legitimate mental health services to customers.
According to The New York Daily News, the club's owners unsuccessfully tried to use this argument in a state tax appeals tribunal in order the skirt the $3.1 million in taxes they owe, stating that it shouldn’t have to pay a dime because its dancers provide patrons a "non-taxable service similar to a therapeutic massage conducted in a sensual manner or personal services provided by a sex therapist.”
Hmm. I've had a massage, and it definitely didn't end with me giving somebody's vajazzled vagina a handful of ones for showing me their butt, but, then again, I'm just a country girl.
Additionally, the club claimed that their in-house currency, called "executive dollars," was untouchable by Uncle Sam as well because it was like "play money" that was used for the convenience of its dancers, who, they argued were independent contractors.
An interesting argument no doubt, but sadly, the tribunal didn't agree with the evidence Penthouse Executive put forth, leaving the meat-and-seafood wonderland with a $3.1 million bill and whole lot of out-of-work therapists.
Unsurprisingly, this isn't even the craziest way a person or company has tried to get out of paying taxes. In Oakland, a woman who had over 70 cats got out of over $12,000 in taxes by claiming her cat collecting hobby was a charity, and, in 1975, a drug dealer named Jeffery Edmonson successfully wrote off the amphetamines and weed he dealt as a business expense.
Next up, find out what happens when I try to write off "giving my boyfriend a bite of my sandwich" as a charitable donation.