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Brothels would remain tax-free under proposed changes to Nevada's live entertainment tax

Nevada's live entertainment tax, or LET, brings in around $136 million during the state's two-year budget cycle. A revamping of the law, however, should increase the amount the tax adds to the Silver State's coffers.

Under a proposal introduced this week to revamp the LET, just about everything except nonprofits and brothels would be taxed. Insert your own jokes about the possible connections of those two special, uh, industries.

Many missed by current LET: "Taxation currently collects more than $11 million from venues," said Nevada Assembly Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick of the current LET. "Some pay, some don't."

According to Kirkpatrick the state's Gaming Control Board collects a little over $125 million. But not all nightclubs collect tax on admission charges. The same is true of some of Nevada's outdoor venues.

"This is about cleaning up the policy and making sure it is clear on what we should be collecting on," said the Democratic lawmaker.

Under AB 498, the Nevada Entertainment and Admissions Tax (NEAT), all live entertainment venues would be subject to an 8 percent tax rate. The current LET rate is 10 percent for venues with capacity less than 7,500 and 5 percent for admission to events at larger venues.

The new rate would apply to all events, indoor or outdoor, that charge admission or collect a cover charge or entry fee.

And some popular events that have enjoyed no-tax status now would have to start collecting the assessment.

There would be no more tax exemptions for golf courses green fees or tickets to Reno Aces and Las Vegas 51s minor league baseball games, the Burning Man festival and the NASCAR race at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

"Very few people are exempted out," Kirkpatrick said of the proposed tax plan.

Nevada brothel sign Shady Lady Ranch croppedBrothels bypassed again: But one group that has lobbied for years to pay a tax on its services won't be included. Customers of Nevada's legal brothels won't have to pay more.

The so-called houses of ill repute were part of the bill in its discussion stages, but that provision was dropped.

In previous legislative sessions, Nevada lawmakers have refused to tax brothels, with the main concern being that taxation would give the appearance of further legitimizing the world's oldest profession.

That's the same reason the bordellos have sought to be taxed. State recognition via taxation is seen by some as an insurance policy against future efforts by Nevada to end legal prostitution.

Technically, however, the brothels probably wouldn't be covered under the law. Although patrons pay for the working girls' services, there is no admissions charge to enter a brothel.

Of course, amendments can be added. And the bill might not make it very far anyway.

Gov. Brian Sandoval and his fellow Republicans are likely to oppose it. Even if it does clear the legislature, voters would get final say in the 2014 fall election.

And we all know how most voters tend to react when asked to raise taxes.

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