Missouri—Sales and Use Tax: Guided Fly Fishing Trips Not Taxable as “Place of Amusement, Entertainment or Recreation”

Missouri: A corporation was not liable for the Missouri sales and use tax on fees paid by its customers for the taxpayer’s guided fly fishing trips as the taxpayer was neither a place of amusement nor did it control the place of amusement.

In this matter, the taxpayer admitted that it did not offer classes, but argued that it offered lessons or instruction for teaching some (less-experienced) customers such things as how to identify waters where fish congregate, how to cast, how to “play” fish, and how to reel fish in. The taxpayer’s guide accompanied customers on waded trips to the fishing spot and provided transportation for guided boat trips. The taxpayer also provided any equipment necessary to catch fish, such as waders and flies, in the price of a guided trip. Moreover, the taxpayer did not list separate fees for the fun and services it provided and therefore asserted that it was impossible for the Department of Revenue (department) to determine what portion of the revenue, if any, on a particular trip represented the cost of instruction and amusement. However, the department asserted that since the taxpayer controlled where its customers fish on each outing, the fishing spot was a “place” under taxpayer’s control and should be taxable as a “place of amusement, entertainment or recreation.”

It was noted that:

  • even though the taxpayer offered some instruction, the fees it charged were not exempt as “instructional fees”
  • taxpayer was neither a place of amusement nor did it control the place of amusement;
  • the department provided no evidence that the taxpayer’s boat played more than an incidental role in the excursion; and
  • the fees paid for the taxpayer’s guide service were not paid to or in a place of amusement and so were not taxable.

Accordingly, it was noted that the taxpayer’s guided trip fees were not taxable as a “place of amusement, entertainment or recreation.”Anglers Outfitters v. Missouri Department of Revenue, Missouri Administrative Hearing Commission, No. 18-1143, August 12, 2020

About Davis Davis & Harmon LLC – Sales Tax Experts: Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Davis Davis & Harmon LLC – Sales Tax Experts specializes in sales/use tax refund recovery and audit defense. Our team of consultants is comprised of former Big 4 sales tax consultants and state sales tax auditors. Each of our consultants has 15 to 20 years of experience, providing our clients with access to a highly specialized team of sales/use tax professionals. At Davis Davis & Harmon, LLC we are committed to maintaining the highest standards in our talent pool. We work hard to meet our clients’ needs by ensuring that you view our firm as an extension of your company and a member of your team.

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