NYC To Collect Tax On Times Square Billboard Ads

New York City is dusting off an old tax law and applying it to billboard advertisers in Times Square for the first time in decades, in a move that will raise at least $18 million for the city.
 
The city government said it will begin collecting a 6% commercial rent tax on 22 companies that advertise on outdoor signs, mostly concentrated in New York’s iconic Times Square, reported the New York Post.

The commercial rent tax has been on the book for years, but was previously only applied to office leases, never billboard advertisers.
 
The previous administration under Mayor Michael Bloomberg discovered the loophole during audits last year, leaving it to the new administration under Mayor Bill de Blasio to actually collect the levy.
 
Times Square advertisers are less than pleased. The NYP quoted George Lence, a lobbyist for the Times Square Advertising Coalition, as saying: “The tax has been around for nearly 50 years – it has never been applied to advertising.”
 
NYC isn’t the only big city trying to juice its revenues with a tax on outdoor advertising — although other municipalities are finding it a bit tougher to raise the dough.
 
Last week, a federal judge gave the green light to a lawsuit brought by Clear Channel Outdoor against the city government of Baltimore after the latter imposed a fee on billboard operators to the tune of $5 per square foot for static billboards and $15 per square foot for digital displays. The CCO lawsuit alleges that the law, passed in June of last year, represents an attempt to illegally regulate commercial speech in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments.
 
The mayor and city council of Baltimore asked to have the lawsuit tossed but last week the motion was rejected by Judge George L. Russell, III, allowing Clear Channel’s legal challenge to the law to go forward.


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2 comments about " NYC To Collect Tax On Times Square Billboard Ads".
  1. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , May 28, 2014 at 9:26 a.m.
    Yet, the same advertisers have no problem decreasing the amount of whatever for the same prices or increasing prices and do not express anything conciliatory besides their cost increases for doing so. Free speech means they cannot get thrown in jail or deported for publicly selling their legitimate products/services. They don't have to have that billboard.
  2. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER , May 28, 2014 at 11:45 a.m.
    what is the breaking point? that is the question with all forms of taxation, the point at which revenue falls despite increasing rates....classic case is capital gains taxes which have a demonstrated break point....so when will the billboards darken? or are they truly elastic and so valuable to an advertiser that no amount of increase reduces its usefulness? mister peanut and the camel smoker are gone, but they lost cachet shortly after BABY DOLL bothered Cardinal Spellman.....