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Chicago targets electronic venues for "live performance" back tax

The court decision could mean the end for several venues

  • Valerie Lee
  • 23 August 2016

Cook County in Illinois is targeting several Chicago venues to recall and collect back taxes related to live performances. A code protecting the area exempted certain venues from a 3 per cent fee on covers and tickets for "live theatrical, live musical or other live performances", which the county now argues does not include DJ and electronic performances.

This news arrives despite a decision that was made a decade ago that categorized DJing and other electronic performances as "live" as long as the use of "technical manipulation, singing, speaking, dancing or other activity" was present.

Despite a long and deep-rooted history of and appreciation for electronic music in Chicago, several small venues are now at risk as the court makes an official decision. Venues like Beauty Bar, a nightclub chain with a location in Chicago, may owe up to $200,000 in back taxes if the court rescinds its classification of DJs as live music.

Alarmingly, officers of Cook County have also expressed that "rap, rock and grunge" music are not considered "fine art" and should therefore not be considered "live music" exempt from the tax.

It remains up in the air whether or not the court will decide in favor of collecting back taxes, but if they do, the process to rescind the protective tax could lead to the closure of more than a few venues.

[Via: Resident Advisor]

Valerie Lee is Mixmag's US Digital Editor. Follow her on Twitter here

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