Confusion as ‘spiritual’ fitness boutiques probed for unpaid sales taxes

Participants ride exercise bikes during a group outdoor fitness promotion in central Sydney on July 5, 2011. The event was given a Tour de France flavour with an instructor pretending to involve the cyclists in a stage of the race as they exercised.   AFP PHOTO / Greg WOOD (Photo credit should read GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)
 GREG WOOD/AFP/Getty Images)

Three of New York’s trendiest fitness clubs may be putting a spiritual spin on their services as a way of avoiding sales taxes, but state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman isn’t having it, Crains reports.

Schneiderman last week issued subpoenas for unpaid sales taxes to popular spinning clubs SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports, and to Bar Method, which bills itself as a combination ballet and Pilates-style workout. The subpoenas are investigative and the companies have not been accused of any wrongdoing.

Fitness companies in New York City, uniquely within the state, are subject to sales taxes unless their services are limited to yoga and meditation, which allows them to qualify for a religious exemption. Bar Method, SoulCycle and Flywheel Sports do not offer yoga, but their branding and testimonials often tout a spiritual element to the workouts.

The tax distinction between yoga studios and other fitness clubs was only made by the state last July, and a consultant for the health and fitness industry told Crains that the problem had arisen before.

“There’s been a real confusion for years as to what the criteria are for payment,” said Richard Caro, president of Management Vision. “This is not something that’s a new topic.”

 

 


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Memorial held for Sean Collier, MIT police officer…

More than 1,600 people gathered at MIT on Friday for a memorial service for Sean Collier, the police officer shot to death a year ago in the aftermath of the…

National

Florida man charged with murdering son to play…

A Florida man annoyed that his 16-month-old crying son was preventing him from playing video games suffocated the toddler, police said on Friday.

International

Powerful 7.2 magnitude earthquake rattles Mexico

A powerful earthquake struck Mexico Friday, shaking buildings and sending people running into the street, although there were no reports of major damage.

News

OMG! Exercise can make skin (and butt) look…

A moderate exercise regime can turn back time and actually reverse the skin's aging process, according to new research. The study showed that a minimum…

Entertainment

Whoopi Goldberg makes her debut as marijuana columnist

"It helps my head stop hurting, and with glaucoma your eyes ache, and she takes the ache out. It's wonderful," she said.

The Word

Kate Middleton made fun of Prince William's bald…

Kate Middleton and Prince William are in Sydney, Australia, right now, and it sounds like that brash Aussie sense of humor might be rubbing off.

The Word

Is Tom Cruise dating Laura Prepon?

"Mission: Impossible" star Cruise is said to be dating Laura Prepon, star of "Orange is the New Black."

Television

'Scandal' recap: Season 3, Episode 18, 'The Price…

Sally is Jesus, Olivia caused global warming, and Mellie's still drunk. Let's recap the Scandal finale. A church full of Washington insiders is about to…

NHL

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump…

NHL video highlights & analysis: Red Wings dump Bruins in Game 1

MLB

MLB video highlights: Orioles top Red Sox, 8-4…

John Lackey roughed up for second straight outing

MLB

MLB video highlights: Red Sox score two in…

Lester shines in Red Sox win over White Sox

Sports

2014 Boston Marathon preview: Elite American, International runners…

2014 Boston Marathon: Elite American, International runners to watch

Tech

VIDEO: 'Vein-scanning' may become the future of paying

Designed to make transactions quicker and easier, the technology works by scanning the unique vein patterns in each person's palm.

Tech

#FollowFriday: 10 of the smartest Twitter accounts

Spending lots of time on Twitter? You might as well learn something. Here are some of the smartest accounts to follow.

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.