JEFFERSON CITY - Missouri yoga and Pilates studios will no longer be allowed to fore-go a state sales tax on fitness facilities, officials announced Sunday.
For years, yoga and Pilates studios have technically been required to pay a sales tax levied on fitness facilities and exercise activities. However, the law was not enforced and many businesses chose not to pay.
Now, the state will begin requiring all yoga and Pilates facilities to pay the 4 percent tax.
Facilities not yet paying the tax, 140 yoga and Pilates studios in total, were notified by mail October 13 of the government's changing expectations. The businesses were required to register with the state and begin paying the sales tax by November 1.
Although Gov. Jay Nixon announced $204 million in new cuts to Missouri's budget last week, the Department of Revenue denied Tuesday that the state chose to enforce the sales tax as a reaction to a tighter budget.
"This has not come out just because of the state's revenue," a spokesman for the Department of Revenue said. "We want the law to be applied equally."
The law has been applied unequally since a 2008 Missouri Supreme Court decision clarified the sales tax to include yoga and Pilates as taxable physical activities.
According to the Department of Revenue, some yoga and Pilates centers already pay the tax and will be unaffected by the heightened enforcement. For those centers that have not been paying the tax, the state will not seek payment retroactively.
Some exemptions to the tax may be granted by the state to religious entities practicing yoga or Pilates. According to a statement released by the Department of Revenue, the claims will be evaluated on a "case-by-case basis."