Dog Park Membership Fees Subject to Tax in Missouri

Monday, April 14th, 2014


The Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission ("Commission") recently released a decision that membership fees to a dog park are subject to sales tax.

The taxpayer owned an off-leash dog park and charged a membership fee for people and dogs to use the park. The taxpayer required dog owners to stay with their dogs while the dogs were at the dog park. As part of the dog park service, the taxpayer provided water stations, bags for cleaning up after the dogs, a walking trail, and kiddie pools so the dogs could cool off on hot days.

Missouri taxes charges for admissions to places of amusement, recreation, and entertainment. Taxable admissions include membership fees to such places. Although Missouri does not define "amusement," "recreation," or "entertainment," the Missouri Supreme Court has interpreted these terms to refer to "something that diverts, amuses, or occupies the attention agreeably."

The Commission determined that the dog park was a place of amusement. Members went to the dog park to walk and play with their dogs and to socialize with other dog owners. These activities divert, amuse, and occupy one's attention agreeably. Membership fees were therefore taxable.

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