Wisconsin to tax Milwaukee Symphony’s concert tickets

Posted on: May 6, 2010

In an Associated Press report published in Thursday’s (5/6) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Ryan J. Foley writes, “It’s music to the tax man’s ears: Wisconsin’s 5% sales tax does apply to the sale of tickets to Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra concerts. Trying to resolve a dispute that dates to the mid-1990s, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that the orchestra’s concerts are entertainment events and therefore are subject to the tax. The court rejected the orchestra’s argument that the 100 to 150 concerts it gives every year are primarily educational and charitable in nature and therefore exempt. The orchestra had been seeking roughly $720,000 in refunds from the state Department of Revenue for taxes paid between 1992 and ‘96 on sales of admissions to concerts. … All seven justices agreed the tax should apply to the traditional classical concerts put on by the orchestra and its alternative ‘pops concerts’ in which lighter, usually American music is performed in symphony style. But two dissenting justices, Patience Roggensack and Michael Gableman, said the court should have exempted the concerts the orchestra puts on for children from the tax. Susan Loris, an orchestra spokeswoman, said the MSO was disappointed and disagreed with the court ruling. She said the MSO’s lawyers were reviewing the decision and are reviewing legal options.”

Posted May 6, 2010