Posts Tagged ‘yoga’

New York yogis took a break from resonating in harmony with Mother Earth to express their displeasure at a recent Department of Taxation decision that leaves their studios liable for collecting and remitting 4.5% in sales taxes on their services.

From the WSJ:

“Yoga classes have been around forever and not taxed,” said Alison West, executive director of Yoga for New York. She said the new tax policy couldn’t have come at a worse time with the industry just beginning to get back on its feet after the economic downturn, or what she termed “the yoga crisis.”

While not quite as impactful on this country’s history as the Cuban Missile Crisis, the yoga crisis is not to be dismissed, as the troubled economic times of the past four years have led to a marked reduction in downward dogs, threatening the very existence of many studios. With things finally starting to turn around, studios now must deal with having to pass on this additional sales tax to customers, which will inevitably lead to reduced attendance. And in a hard-driving city like Manhattan, it may not be in anyone’s best interest to reduce incentive for its citizens to burn off some stress, lest someone get all shooty at their work place:

Ms. West added: “It is important to the city that we have stress-relieving activities that are affordable to all levels of income. Something like this is a threat to that.”

New York studios are bracing for audits, with some larger businesses potentially facing a three-year sales tax bill exceeding $100,000.  But Yoga for New York — the world’s most relaxed, easy going lobbying group — isn’t taking this lying down:

Last Monday afternoon, more than 70 yoga managers, studio owners and instructors sat down in the lotus position to discuss the tax issue—and other troubles—at Yoga Union, a studio in the Flat iron District.  Ms. West said the atmosphere was “concerned, dynamic and productive.” “The meeting was vivid with a lot of intense questions,” she said.


Yoga for New York hasn’t yet decided whether to challenge the assessment of the sales tax in court, but apparently, it has done so in the past and been successful. For now, the group is trying to arrange meetings with state officials to discuss it, but help is not on the immediate horizon, as their schedule won’t free up until after next month’s big ultimate Frisbee championship in Central Park.

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