Tax man may come knocking on dance school and other like businesses door

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KIRKWOOD, MO (KPLR) - If you have kids in dance class, karate, or many other lessons in Missouri, get ready to pay more.

A Supreme Court ruling has the tax man knocking at those schools.

For years, places like the Dance Center of Kirkwood were treated as schools...places of learning, and for that reason they didn't charge sales tax.  Now the state is changing its tune on the subject, and some of these small schools could be in jeopardy.

It is something they begin as little girls and often follow through high school.

And to parents, this certainly is not something they'd call amusement or entertainment.

But earlier this year, Missouri’s Supreme Court disagreed.  The court ruled against a dance school in Kansas City, saying this is more fun than school, and upholding a Department of Revenue audit billing them for $26,000 in back taxes.

And that's the trouble for places like the Dance Center in Kirkwood.  They fear they are now going to owe taxes, but no one is telling them anything for certain.

Personal trainers in gyms are already being charged the entertainment tax, and many surmise places like martial arts schools will now be on the hook as well.  The trouble is, they say they're not hearing from the Department of Revenue on the subject, they're just guessing.

In Jefferson City there are two bills in the senate right now that would exempt dance schools and some other similar businesses from entertainment tax.  Petitions are being circulated in support of the legislation.  Meanwhile the fear is the 8 percent hike in cost could chase some families away.