Brothels Will Have to Wait to Pay Taxes

Nevada Budget Crisis
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State tax officials have told brothel operators if they want to contribute revenue under a new live entertainment tax that takes effect Jan. 1, they will have to seek permission from the Legislature in 2005.

George Flint, executive director of the Nevada Brothel Association, had asked the Department of Taxation whether the process currently underway to implement the tax could accommodate the industry's wish to be included.

But Dino DiCianno, deputy executive director of the agency, said Wednesday that Flint has been told there is no way to include brothels in the 10 percent tax without action by the Legislature.

"Unfortunately, the only option left for Mr. Flint ... is to approach the Legislature in 2005 with his concerns," DiCianno said.

Flint did not immediately return a call seeking comment.

Throughout the last legislative session, Flint had pledged the support of brothels for a share of the state tax burden. He estimated they could contribute about $2 million a year.

Flint had said he hoped lawmakers in the future might consider removing a ban on advertising by brothels.

The final version of Senate Bill 8 implementing the tax was amended to exempt entertainment associated with bars with 300 or fewer seats.

The change was made after Sen. Joe Neal, D-North Las Vegas, complained the tax would hurt small neighborhood bars that sometimes offer bands to entertain customers. As a result, all but two or three of the 26 legal brothels in the state were exempted because their bars have fewer than 300 seats.

Several lawmakers have said they were unaware brothels had been exempted from the new tax.

Prostitution is legal in 12 of Nevada's 17 counties, but is illegal in Reno and Las Vegas.