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The original sin tax

Nevada Appeal editorial board

For goodness sake, let the brothels get in on the tax increases being assessed against everybody else.

It’s not often that an industry, if we may use that word to refer to legalized prostitution, asks to be propositioned when the tax man comes around. But that’s exactly what George Flint has been saying on behalf of Nevada’s brothels for months now.

The reason? Paying taxes, just like other businesses, will help legitimize them. Perhaps they’ll be transformed from houses of ill repute to houses of tax report.

By all means, the Tax Commission should write them into the regulations it is currently formulating to implement the tax laws approved by the Legislature this summer, specifically the entertainment tax.

If it gives them the right to stand cheek to cheek with the rest of us and say, “Hey, we pay taxes too,” then the Tax Commission should accommodate them.

After all, it could be argued this is the original sin tax.

The Tax Commission also is struggling with the relationship between profit and nonprofit groups when both are involved in events like concerts that would be subject to the entertainment tax.

An example in Carson City this summer might be the Capital City Music Series, which is a co-production of the privately owned Upstage Center, the city’s Redevelopment Authority and the nonprofit Brewery Arts Center

Clearly, there was no intent by legislators to tax nonprofit organizations. Nor should for-profit businesses be able to jump through loopholes by inviting a nonprofit to lend its name to an event.

What should be required is an accurate accounting of expenses and revenues apportioned between the business and the charitable group. If 5 percent of the admission revenues go to charity, then 5 percent should be tax-exempt.