RENO, Nev. (AP) — People buying Burning Man tickets later this month will pay live entertainment tax for the first time.
The Nevada Department of Taxation notified the organizers of the countercultural festival in a letter last week that the more than 15,000 tickets sold for the event qualified it for the tax, the Reno Gazette-Journal reported.
According to the letter, Burning Man, which draws visitors from around the world to its huge outdoor sculptures and performances, is required to register for the tax before tickets go on sale.
"The activities that take place during Burning Man constitute live entertainment, whether or not those activities are provided by patrons of the event. Because Black Rock City is located on public land and access to the area during the event is limited to those who have purchased tickets, it meets the definition of a facility," wrote Nevada Department of Taxation Executive Director Deonne Contine. "Because Burning Man collects the taxable receipts from those attending the event, Burning Man is the taxpayer and responsible for paying (Live Entertainment Taxes) to the State of Nevada."
The organization did not comment on the decision. Organizers previously argued for exemption because attendees provided the entertainment, not the organization.
"From our perspective, this is the latest attempt by an outside entity to unfairly tap the resources of Burning Man and its participants," wrote Burning Man's legal counsel, Elizabeth Stallard, in December. "Some seem to view Burning Man as the 'golden goose' they can turn to when they want money for other projects."
Lawmakers expanded the definition of entertainment under its live entertainment tax law to include outdoor festivals like Burning Man and the Electric Daisy Festival in Las Vegas.