The Division of Tax Appeals in New York recently ruled that dock fees at a yacht club were taxable.
The taxpayer was a nonprofit social and athletic club that owned a dock which members used for their yachts in New York. Clubhouse facilities were available to all the taxpayer's members, but dues charged by the taxpayer did not entitle members to use its docks. Only members who owned boats and leased a spot at the dock were billed with a separate charge in addition to their membership dues.
New York imposes sales tax on dues paid to any social or athletic club. It does not tax leases of real property. It defines dues as "any dues or membership fee including any assessment, irrespective of the purpose for which made, and any charges for social or sports privileges or facilities." The Division determined that, regardless of whether the dock fees were deemed rentals or leases of real estate, they met the definition of "dues" and were taxable.