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Chicago's Cook County Rules that DJ Sets are Not Live Music

Chicago venues subject to hundreds of thousands in back taxes
Beauty Bar Chicago

Chicago's Beauty Bar is subject to over $200,000 in back taxes after a proposed tax code change.

Chicago's called the Windy City for a reason - and believe it or not, it's not the wind. Cook County lawmakers are proving themselves quite the blowhards with their latest proposed tax code change, as they've declared that DJ sets aren't live music in an attempt to collect back taxes from small venues.

According to Chicago publication the Reader, Cook County tax code stipulates that venues with a capacity of 750 people or fewer are exempt from a 3% tax on admission fees - as long as the entertainment being booked is "live music or culture." 

County code no longer considers DJ sets such. Their updated definition defines it as "any of the disciplines which are commonly regarded as part of the fine arts, such as live theater, music, opera, drama, comedy, ballet, modern or traditional dance, and book or poetry readings."

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Chicago's Beauty Bar alone is being asked for over $200,000 in amusement taxes going back six years. The venue's owners, 16" on Center, is engaging in administrative hearings with county officials to resolve the issue.

This isn't the first time such legislations have been attempted. Over a decade ago an 8% amusement tax was nearly imposed on several venues for similar reasons, but was ultimately overturned in 2016. 

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