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
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…

Local

Oval oasis: Summer of fun kicks off this…

A bold partnership between the Fairmount Park Conservancy and the city's Parks and Recreation Department is kicking off this weekend with family activities re-activating this unused public space.

Local

African couple claiming misidentification in robbery case to…

At a bail hearing today for Vickson and Lorfu Korlewala, charged in the robbery of an 80-year-old woman, bail was reduced from $1 million total to $500,000.

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…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

MLB

Jimmy Rollins is key to Phillies success

When John Kruk was asked about what the Phillies need to contend for a playoff berth, the ESPN analyst said Jimmy Rollins needs to play like a MVP again.

MLB

Ben Revere lifts Phillies to avoid sweep

Ben Revere came through with a two-out RBI single against Atlanta’s tough lefthander Alex Wood.

NBA

Season wrap: 76ers make the grade

The 76ers opened the 2013-14 season with a victory over the Miami Heat. The Sixers closed the season with a win at Miami.

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

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.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.