Can’t Buck Tax for Mechanical Bull Rides in Alabama

Aug 9th, 2017

The Alabama Tax Tribunal recently ruled that fees charged to ride a mechanical bull are subject to sales tax.

The taxpayer operated a mechanical bull in Alabama. The taxpayer either charged riders for each use or accepted a flat fee from event sponsors to make the bull available to attendees.

Alabama sales tax applies to the gross receipts received from conducting or operating amusement devices, including mechanical bulls. The method of payment (e.g., per-ride, flat fee) is irrelevant. As a result, sales tax applied to all charges for use of the mechanical bull.

Note that the taxpayer was not subject to rental tax because it did not transfer operational control and possession of the mechanical bull to its customers.