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Take a Deep Breath: DC Passes 'Yoga Tax'

Tax starts Oct. 1 and hits gym memberships and fitness classes.

DC passed a yoga tax on Tuesday; it starts Oct. 1 and affects gym memberships and fitness classes. Photo courtesy of Georgetown BID
DC passed a yoga tax on Tuesday; it starts Oct. 1 and affects gym memberships and fitness classes. Photo courtesy of Georgetown BID
Take a deep cleansing breath ... and exhale.

DC's City Council on Tuesday passed a controversial "yoga tax" to generate an annual $5 million to offset tax cuts, according to a report in The Washington Post.

Yoga and other workout aficionados showed up at D.C. Council chambers, wearing exercise gear to object to the so-called "wellness tax" or "yoga tax," the newspaper reported.

Starting October 1, gym memberships and fitness classes will start adding a 5.75 percent sales tax to their services, under the fiscal 2015 budget the DC Council approved.

The tax should bring in plenty of dough. The Washington D.C. region ranked first for fitness among the 50 largest U.S. metro areas, according to a survey by the American College of Sports Medicine.

Council Chairman Phil Mendelson said concerns about the 5.75 percent sales tax discouraging gym memberships are unfounded. "We have a sales tax on restaurants and alcohol that's significantly greater...and we have seen restaurant activity boom over the last several years in the District," the Post reported him as saying.

The budget resolution is headed for Mayor Vincent Gray's desk. Gray has said he is against the tax.

The Wall Street Journal reports that yoga enthusiasts have an idea for how to win back their tax-exempt status: Classify yoga as a religious activity, which by definition can't be taxed.
Bob B June 26, 2014 at 01:01 AM
Just don't pay the damn tax - problem sovled.
Hewho Waits June 26, 2014 at 02:37 AM
Disgusting and unbelievable.
AIDA ABUZAYYAD June 26, 2014 at 09:02 AM
Another 'great' example of the stupidity of the D.C. Government! Instead of encouraging wellness, they tax it! The restaurant and alcohol example is lame, people need to eat. As for a Yoga, they could go elsewhere..... Yogees, welcome to Virginia!
Jerry Rozner June 26, 2014 at 09:23 AM
You can never give any government enough money. We could cut taxes everywhere if we just got rid of all the illegals.
Dave Jennings June 29, 2014 at 03:52 PM
Very short sighted. Yoga and fitness activities contribute to better well being and health. Preventative health care is always less expensive than a trip to the emergency room or a life of chronic ailments caused by lack of exercise, wellness training and stress relief. DC could, by thinking long term vastly improve the general health of its population and significantly reduce public expenditures on public health care by comping memberships in health and wellness institutions for its citizens. Of course, many governments operate on short term thinking rather than looking at the complete picture.

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