Missouri Starts Taxing Yoga Classes
The Kansas City Star reports that on Sunday, the state’s Department of Revenue began enforcing a 4-percent tax on yoga and Pilates classes. Why the change? Missouri officials have decided that yoga and Pilates are places of “amusement, entertainment or recreation” and therefore taxable, rather than spiritual practices that are untaxable. Unsurprisingly, there is already an uproar:
“The practice of yoga in a studio setting is a spiritual practice, and is not done for entertainment,” said Michael Shabsin, a St. Louis area lawyer and yoga instructor.
Shabsin said he is leading an effort to clarify the legal definition for places of amusement, entertainment or recreation and exclude yoga-specific studios. That effort could include legislative proposals and lobbying, he said.
Whether one believes yoga to be spiritual or recreational, should the government really be making that distinction for us? And, for that matter, with obesity wreaking havoc on the nation’s health care system, should the state be discouraging those who use yoga for health or weight loss? A Department of Revenue spokesman says they’re just trying to make applications of the tax fair for everyone. But it seems here that taxing yoga classes isn’t fair to anyone but the Department of Revenue.