Admissions and Amusement Tax

The admissions and amusement tax is a local tax collected by the Comptroller's Office for Maryland's counties and Baltimore City, incorporated cities and towns, and the Maryland Stadium Authority. The tax is imposed on the gross receipts from admissions, the use or rental of recreational or sports equipment and the sale of merchandise, refreshments or services at a nightclub or similar place where entertainment is provided. Admissions and amusement tax rates are set by local officials at rates varying from one-half of 1 percent to 10 percent of the admissions or amusement receipts. Rates vary by locality, and by activity with a few exceptions and special situations.

The local admissions and amusement tax is a tax on the gross receipts from admissions, the use or rental of recreational or sports equipment and the sale of merchandise, refreshments or service at a night club or similar place where entertainment is provided. The tax is imposed by Maryland's counties and municipalities as well as an additional tax by the state of Maryland, specifically for electronic bingo and electronic tip jars.

The admissions and amusement tax is collected by the State Comptroller's Office. The entire amount of the tax collected, less administrative expenses, is returned to the municipalities and counties imposing the local tax. The new state admissions and amusement tax revenue on electronic bingo and electronic tip jars is directed to the state's general fund.

Unlike the sales and use tax, which is imposed on the person making the purchase, the admissions and amusement tax is imposed on the person or business receiving the taxable receipts. For this reason, you are not required to impose a separate charge on the consumer for this tax as you would to collect the sales tax.

Exemption Certificates

Also unlike the sales and use tax, exemption certificates are not valid for the admissions and amusement tax. Since the tax is imposed on the host of the activity rather than on the consumer, the exemption does not apply.

Deductions

Generally, deductions for prizes, cost of goods sold and other expenses are not permitted since the admissions and amusement tax is a gross receipts tax and not an income tax permitting the deduction of expenses. The only exception is in Anne Arundel County (outside of any municipality) where the cost of prizes in bingo games may be deducted before computing the tax.

Exempt Activities

If all of the proceeds from an activity are donated to a charity, the gross receipts are exempt from the admissions and amusement tax. Also, the gross receipts from sales of tickets to political fund-raisers are not subject to tax.

Tax Regulations for Admissions and Amusement Tax are in COMAR 03.06.02 and 03.06.03 Subtitle 06 Sales and Use Tax.

Chapter 02 General Regulations-Admissions and Amusement Tax. Authority: Tax General Article, 2-103, Annotated Code of Maryland.

Chapter 03 Administrative and Procedural Regulations-Sales and Use Tax, and Admissions and Amusement Tax. Authority: tax General Article,2-103, Annotated Code of Maryland Ch.203, Acts of 2003.

Change in Political Subdivision and Tax Activity Codes

The Revenue Administration Division of the Comptroller's Office will be changing the structure of the subdivision and tax activity codes listed on your return.

For example:

Subdivision Anne Arundel County: Chevy Chase Village:
Current Code - 0202 Current Code - 0516
Revised Code - 0200 Revised Code - 1613
 
Subdivision Motion Pictures:  
Current Code - 06  
Revised Code - 006  
(Note: all tax activity codes will include a zero in front of the current code.)

Admissions and Amusement Tax notices are published when needed to let taxpayers know of new legislation or anything that may effect the tax. Links to the current notices are below.

Report of Taxpayers Remitting Admissions and Amusement Tax

With the distribution report for this quarter, we are providing each subdivision with a list of taxpayers who have filed for any period during the quarter and have remitted any admissions and amusement tax for activities taking place in that subdivision. Although we periodically remind taxpayers through a message on the tax return that the admissions and amusement tax rates are controlled by the jurisdiction where the taxable activities occur, we occasionally find during routine audits that a taxpayer has reported the jurisdiction incorrectly.

Such errors can have a significant budget impact on a subdivision, since a typical audit covers a four year period. This could result in the transfer of a substantial amount of money from one jurisdiction to another to correct an error.

We're asking officials in each jurisdiction to review the information provided on the report and bring any errors to our attention. Errors should be reported to the Revenue Administration Division at 410-260-7756.

Established businesses with admissions and amusement activities must register with our office and file periodic tax returns. Organizations not involved in ongoing business activities subject to the tax occasionally hold isolated events subject to the admissions and amusement tax. A permanent admissions and amusement tax account is not established for each such event, and, therefore, will not appear on the enclosed list. The tax from these events is, instead, consolidated and reported under a single account identified as "One Time Affairs." For more information on "One Time Affairs" call 410-767-1540 / 410-767-1531 (e-mail: templicense@marylandtaxes.gov).

Effective June 1, 2009, electronic bingo machines and electronic tip jars are subject to a state admissions and amusement tax of thirty (30%) percent on the taxable net proceeds. Effective July 1, 2012, the State admissions and amusement tax imposed on electronic bingo and electronic tip jars in Calvert County is thirty-three (33%) percent. The State admissions and amusement tax rate remains at thirty (30%) percent for all other counties. The tax is in addition to any county or municipal admissions and amusement tax which may be levied. If the proceeds subject to tax are also subject to a county or municipal corporation tax, then the tax rate when combined must not exceed thirty-five (35%) percent.

Net proceeds consist of the total receipts from the operation of the electronic bingo machines and electronic tip jars, less the amount of money winnings or prizes paid out to players.

The state admissions and amusement tax applies to the operation of electronic bingo machines permitted under a commercial bingo license, or to electronic tip jars authorized under Title 13 of the Criminal Law Article to be operated for commercial purposes.

Electronic bingo or electronic tip jars means a game played in an electronic or electro-mechanical device that contains predetermined winning and losing games and signals the issuance of a winning play. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Electronic devices utilizing paper bingo or tip jar tickets.
  • Electronic devices utilizing computer chips that simulate paper bingo or tip jar tickets that, when played by a customer, determine the outcome of winning or losing that is not random or subject to change, but is based on a predetermined set of winning or losing numbers.

Specifically exempt from the state admissions and amusement tax are electronic devices that dispense tip jar tickets and instant bingo tickets but do not alert the customer to a winning or losing ticket.

Taxpayers currently remitting admissions and amusement taxes on electronic bingo or electronic tip jars must report the taxable receipts and tax due for the new thirty (30%) percent state admissions and amusement tax on their return indicating the subdivision as "State of Maryland."

Admissions and amusement taxes which may be due for both the state of Maryland and a county or municipality for these specific activities must be noted on separate lines and may not be combined on the return. The net proceeds and tax due for electronic bingo should be reported under category 14 (bingo). The net proceeds and tax due for electronic tip jars should be reported under category 17 (coin operated amusement devices).

Businesses that are not currently registered to remit the tax must register with the Comptroller of Maryland. You can register online or complete a Combined Registration Application which can be submitted by fax or mail to the Comptroller's Office.

For more information, see Maryland Sales and Use Tax Bulletin 09-1 or contact Taxpayer Service at 410-767-1300 in the Baltimore area or toll-free 1-800-492-1751 from elsewhere in Maryland, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST. See also Admissions and Amusement Tax Alert 11-07 and Admissions and Amusement Tax Update 1-08.

Local Admissions and Amusement Tax Rates

The tax is imposed by Maryland's counties and municipalities at varying rates from one-half of 1 percent to 10 percent of gross receipts from taxable activities. If the gross receipts from the activity is also subject to the sales and use tax, the admissions and amusement tax is limited to 5 percent. Often, different rates apply to different activities. See the Admissions and Amusement Tax Rate Schedule for specific tax rates. You can also request a rate chart by calling the Taxpayer Service Division at 410-260-7980 or 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland. Once you file an initial return, we will pre-print the correct rates for previously reported activities on subsequent returns.

Free admissions

An additional tax is imposed on reduced charge or free admissions in most, but not all subdivisions. If your jurisdiction imposes this tax, it is equal to:

  • 5 cents for each ticket if the regular price is less than 50 cents,
  • 10 cents for each ticket if the regular price is less than $1.00, and
  • 15 cents for each ticket if the regular price is $1.00 or more.

State of Maryland Admissions and Amusement Tax Rates

Effective June 1, 2009, a state admissions and amusement tax of 30 percent is imposed on the taxable net proceeds from electronic bingo and electronic tip jars. Effective July 1, 2012, the State admissions and amusement tax imposed on electronic bingo and electronic tip jars in Calvert County is 33%. The State admissions and amusement tax rate remains at 30% for all other counties.The state tax is in addition to any county or municipal admissions and amusement tax which may be levied on those items. If the proceeds subject to tax are also subject to a county or municipal corporation tax, then the tax rate when combined must not exceed 35 percent.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the admissions and amusement tax can be found in our business tax tips.

If you operate a golf course, skating rink, or another kind of recreational or sports facility, you may be subject to the admissions and amusement tax. Recreational or sports facilities are locations that offer team or individual sports activities. Some examples include roller or ice skating rinks, tennis courts, sports fields, indoor volleyball and soccer facilities, paintball facilities, golf courses, and firing ranges.

Taxable Activities

Taxable activities would include charges for birthday parties, league fees, daily usage fees, and rentals of equipment and rentals of the entire facility.

Exempt Activities

Charges for the use of bowling alleys and lanes are exempt, as are club memberships allowing unlimited usage of the facilities. Charges for ongoing classes by sports-related schools which are not league-oriented and do not promote one-time use are also exempt from the tax. Examples of this type of sports-related school are gymnastic, karate, and dance schools.

Instructional Fees

While charges for lessons or instructional fees are not subject to the tax, any charge for the use of the facility where the lesson occurs is taxable. As lesson fees normally include both charges for instruction and use of the facility, the instruction fee may be excluded before the tax is applied.

Equipment Rentals

Equipment rental charges are subject to both the sales tax and the admissions and amusement tax. When they're subject to the sales tax, the admissions and amusement tax rate may not exceed 5 percent. For instance, the county admissions and amusement tax rate might be 8 percent, but only a 5 percent rate would apply to equipment, because the admissions and amusement tax rate and sales tax rate together cannot exceed 11 percent. Examples of rentals subject to both taxes include (but are not limited to) golf carts, golf clubs, roller skates, ice skates, bowling shoes, paintball guns and equipment.

League Fees

Fees charged for participation in a league are subject to the tax. Fees charged for administering the league and maintaining the facilities and referees are taxable. However, separately-stated charges for trophies, uniforms, or other charges not specifically required for participation in leagues are not subject to the admissions and amusement tax.

Leasing Facilities

If you lease a recreational facility to a person or organization (including tax exempt organizations) for an activity, gross receipts from the activity are subject to the tax unless the person or organization leasing the facility from you will charge for the use of the facility.

As the lessor of the facility, you must notify the Comptroller's Office of the proposed use by contacting the Special Events Section before the activity occurs. You can contact the Special Events Section at 410-767-1540 / 410-767-1531 in the Baltimore area or toll free from elsewhere in Maryland, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST.

Correspondence can be sent to:
Special Events Section
Compliance Division
301 W. Preston Street
Baltimore, MD 21201-2383

The gross receipts from sales of tickets to political fund-raisers are not subject to the local admissions and amusement tax.

However, the admissions and amusement tax does apply to receipts from wheels and games, even if no live entertainment is provided. The taxation of these activities does not depend upon whether or not a "performance" is provided. The tax rates are set by local officials and the rates vary from one-half to 10 percent. You can also obtain a rate chart by calling our Taxpayer Service Division at 410-260-7980 or 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland.

To obtain an admissions and amusement tax return, call our Special Events Section at 410-767-1540. In many cases, the facility at which the event is taking place has notified the Special Events Section ahead of time. In these cases, you will receive a return directly from the Special Events Section.

Prizes

Since the admissions and amusement tax is a gross receipts tax and not an income tax, no deduction is permitted for the cost of prizes offered at political fund-raisers.

Exemptions

To qualify for an exemption, the admissions and amusement tax law requires that all of the receipts be donated to charity.

Sales and Use Tax

In general, sales of tickets to bull roasts, receptions, fund-raising dinners and similar affairs are not considered sales of food. No sales and use tax should be charged on ticket prices. On the other hand, the tax must be paid on purchases of food and beverages from caterers. In addition, if separate sales of beverages or other personal property are made, the sales and use tax must be collected.

First Time Filers

Businesses that have never filed an admissions and amusement tax return must first register with the Comptroller of Maryland. You can register online or complete a Combined Registration Application which can be submitted by fax or mailed to the Comptroller's Office.

After completing registration, a Central Registration number will be assigned and an admissions and amusement tax return ("A&A") will be mailed for filing before the due date or the initial tax form can be obtained from the Maryland Tax Connect Portal.

Electronically filing your return is more convenient since the tax due is automatically calculated after entering the required information and payment is scheduled for the due date after entering the appropriate bank direct debit information.

The A&A tax form requires a code for each subdivision and a code for each reportable activity by subdivision. Based on receipts entered by jurisdiction and activity, the tax due is determined. To obtain subdivision codes refer to the jurisdiction code and tax rate chart and for activity codes refer to the activity code chart. See sample return with instructions.

Regular Established Accounts

Mailed returns
For subsequent filings, we will send you pre-coded forms that reflect the tax rates for activities you have previously reported. The due date is printed on the face of the return. Please use the pre-coded forms to file your tax report on the appropriate due date. The magnetic scan line at the bottom of the original form contains data we need to process your return. We cannot accept photocopies or computer-generated forms.

Electronic filed returns

Businesses have the option of using the Maryland Tax Connect Portal, for online filing and payment of their Admissions and Amusement tax return. Registration is required for filing the A&A tax return.

The following describes benefits of using online filing for A&A tax:

  • By entering your Central Registration number (registering as an A&A taxpayer is required), an electronic A&A tax return containing the most recent reported jurisdiction and activity codes is presented for entering gross receipts. The content of the electronic tax return is identical to the monthly mailed return.
  • Based on the entered gross receipts amounts, the tax due for each jurisdiction and activity is calculated by applying the appropriate tax rate. Updates to the electronic tax return can be made for changes to jurisdictions and activities.
  • The system calculates the total amount of tax due.
  • Payment of the tax is scheduled on the due date by a direct debit bank charge to a designated savings or checking bank account

This online filing application will not only provide an easier method for taxpayers to file and track their account history, but it will also help us to ensure timely and accurate posting of transactions. Our overall objective with this application is to promote an easier way to file and process your returns, and we hope that you will choose to take advantage of this new application.

One-time events

If you have a one-time event or fund-raiser such as a dance, show or concert, you may obtain a blank admissions and amusement tax form from the facility where the event is taking place. You can also obtain a form by calling our Special Events Section at 410-767-4638, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. You must file the admissions and amusement tax form, together with any taxes due, by the tenth day of the month following the month in which the event occurred.

If you are planning events such as class reunions, carnivals, dances and shows at places other than regular facilities, like catering halls or convention centers, Contact us at least two weeks before the event at 410-767-1540 so that we can mail a blank admissions and amusement tax return in time to meet the filing deadline.

Regular Returns

The due date for regular admissions and amusement tax returns is printed on the face of the return.

One-Time Events

If you have a one-time event, the return and any taxes due must be filed by the tenth day of the month following the month in which the event occurred, as indicated in the chart below:

Month When Event Occurred
Due Date for Return
January
February
March
February 10
March 10
April 10
April
May
June
May 10
June 10
July 10
July
August
September
August 10
September 10
October 10
October
November
December
November 10
December10
January 10

Late Returns

If you file your return late, it is subject to a penalty charge of 10 percent, plus interest. If you do not respond to a notice of or about an admissions and amusement tax return that has not been filed, an estimated tax due amount may be calculated and an additional penalty of 25 percent may be imposed.

Personal Liability

According to state law, the personal liability for the tax extends to any officer of a corporation who exercises direct control over the fiscal management of the corporation. If you owe an admissions and amusement tax debt, the state may also withhold your personal income tax refund.

To register your business for A&A taxes complete the Combined Registration Application (CRA) or register online to get an account number. After you have received your account number, first time filers may obtain tax forms online, or by mail to Taxpayer Services.  Please know, you will need your Central Registration number to access this page. If you do not file your returns using the web application and choose to file by paper, subsequent returns will be pre-printed and mailed to you.

If  a pre-printed coupon is required, you can call Taxpayer Service at 410-260-7980 or 1-800-MDTAXES to request a blank coupon to file your return.  

The only other form available to admissions and amusement tax filers is the admissions and amusement tax refund application.  The refund application would be filed to request a refund of admissions and amusement tax that the taxpayer feels was improperly paid.  

Contact the Special Events Section at 410-767-1540 / 410-767-1531 (email: templicense@marylandtaxes.gov) for the Admissions and Amusement Tax Form for one-time events, special events, or political events.

Subdivisions and Activities

You must report the gross receipts and tax for each activity and subdivision in which you did business during the reporting period. Your return will be pre-printed with the subdivisions and activities that you reported on your most recent returns; you must add any others. If you are a first time filer and have no pre-printed information you can view the most recent sub-division and activity code chart below.

Electronic Bingo & Tip Jars

Effective June 1, 2009, the net proceeds from electronic bingo and electronic tip jars are subject to a 30 percent admissions and amusement tax levied by the state of Maryland. In this case, enter "State of Maryland" as the subdivision. Admissions and amusement taxes which may be due for both the state of Maryland and a county or municipality for these specific activities must be noted on separate lines on the admissions and amusement tax return and may not be combined. The net proceeds and tax electronic bingo should be reported under Activity Code 14 (Bingo) and the net proceeds and tax for electronic tip jars should be reported under Activity Code 17 (Coin-operated Amusement Devices)

Gross Receipts - Column A

Combine the gross receipts for all locations of each activity in a subdivision. For example, if you have three movie theaters in Baltimore County, add the receipts from all three and enter the total on the appropriate line. The receipts must not include tax. If you do business on a tax-included basis, you must deduct the amount of tax before entering your gross receipts. Report the net proceeds from electronic bingo and electronic tip jars in this column as well. For more information, see Calculating the Admissions and Amusement Taxes.

Percentage Rate - Column B

Except for the 30 percent state admissions and amusement tax on electronic bingo and electronic tip jars, the tax rates for various activities are set by each subdivision at varying rates up to 10 percent. The correct rate will be printed for each subdivision and activity that you reported on your most recent returns.

Tax - Column C

Multiply the gross receipts in Column A by the tax rate in Column B and enter the result in Column C.

Tax from Supplemental Schedule

If your return includes a supplemental schedule, be sure you have entered the total tax amount from the schedule on the appropriate line on the report.

Total Taxes

Add all the amounts in Column C and enter the total on this line.

Due Date

The due date is printed in the lower left portion of the form above the signature block.

Late Reports

If you do not file by the due date, you must include a penalty of 10 percent of the tax due plus interest. The current interest rate is pre-printed on returns.

Current Account - Balance Due (+) or Credit (-)

If you receive a Statement of Account, you may claim a credit or pay an outstanding balance on this line. Enter a minus sign (-) in the brackets and the amount of credit you are due, or a plus sign (+) and the outstanding balance you are paying with this return. If you have not received a Statement of Account, leave this line blank.

Payment Due with this Report

Combine total taxes, interest and penalty, and current account balance and enter the total on this line. This should be the amount of your payment.

The admissions and amusement tax is imposed by county and municipal governments at varying rates up to 10 percent of gross receipts from taxable activities. If the gross receipts from the activity is also subject to the sales and use tax, the admissions and amusement tax is limited to 5 percent. Effective June 1, 2009, electronic bingo and electronic tip jars are subject to a state admissions and amusement tax of 30 percent, which is imposed on the net proceeds. Effective July 1, 2012, the State admissions and amusement tax imposed on electronic bingo and electronic tip jars in Calvert County is 33%. The State admissions and amusement tax rate remains at 30% for all other counties.

Unlike the sales and use tax, which is imposed on the person making the purchase, the admissions and amusement tax is imposed on the person or business receiving the taxable receipts. For this reason, you are not required to impose a separate charge on the consumer for this tax as you would to collect the sales tax.

Admissions and amusement taxes which may be due for both the state of Maryland and a county or municipality for these specific activities must be noted on separate lines on the admissions and amusement tax return and may not be combined. The tax owed the state is the same whether calculated on a separately stated or tax-included basis.

Computing the Tax on a Tax-included Basis

To compute the admissions and amusement tax using receipts that already include the tax, follow this four-step process:

  1. Convert the tax rate to a decimal and add 1.
  2. Divide the total receipts by the number obtained in Step 1 to find taxable gross receipts.
  3. Multiply the taxable gross receipts by the tax rate to find the tax.
  4. Report the total mount of taxable gross receipts and the total amount of tax separately.

If a business in Baltimore County, where the rate is 10 percent, has receipts from tax-included admissions totaling $9,900 for the reporting period, the tax is computed as follows:

  1. Convert the tax rate to a decimal and add 1: .10 + 1 = 1.10
  2. Divide the total receipts by the number obtained in Step 1 to find taxable gross receipts: $9,900 ÷ 1.10 = $9,000
  3. Multiply the answer to Step 2 by the tax rate to find the tax: $9,000 x 10% = $900
  4. Report taxable gross receipts of $9,000 and tax of $900.

Maryland businesses have a number of payment options when attempting to satisfy a tax liability with the Comptroller's office. This section details the various methods of credit card and electronic payments, as well as the procedure for handling missed or late payments.

Currently payment for admissions and amusement tax is made by mailing in a payment with your admissions and amusement tax return or by bank direct debit when using the Maryland Tax Connect Portal to file an admissions and amusement tax return.

You may also drop off your tax forms and payments at one of our Local Offices.

The return address for a Form 502 or Form 505 filed with payment by check or money order is:

Comptroller of Maryland
Payment Processing
PO Box 8888
Annapolis, MD 21401-8888

Send all other returns, payments and other correspondence regarding your personal or business tax account(s) to:

Comptroller of Maryland
Revenue Administration Division
110 Carroll Street
Annapolis, MD 21411-0001

Below you will find refund information concerning sales during entertainment. Contact Admissions Amusement Tax for additional information regarding refunds. They may instruct you to complete the following Refund Application: Admissions & Amusement Tax (COTST601). Note that the office may prefer to mail you a pre-filled version of this form to ensure that all fields are completed properly.

Answers to frequently asked questions about the admissions and amusement tax can be found in our business tax tips.

If you have a regular account, or an eligible one-time event, you must file a return, even if, as a regular account holder, you don't have any taxable receipts.

Penalties

Late returns are subject to a penalty charge of ten (10%) percent, plus interest.

If you do not respond to a notice of an unfiled admissions and amusement tax return, your tax may be estimated and an additional penalty of twenty-five (25%) percent imposed.

Liability

According to state law, the personal liability for the tax extends to any officer of a corporation who exercises direct control over the fiscal management of the corporation. The state may also withhold your personal income tax refund if you owe an admissions and amusement tax debt.

For additional information regarding nonpayment, please see the Business Tax Compliance section.

If this is your first time filing an admissions and amusement tax return, you must register for an account by completing a Combined Registration Application (CRA) to get a Maryland Central Registration number. You may register online or by using the CRA paper application.

Before you can register your business with Maryland you must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN). You may apply for a FEIN online through the IRS Web site at "Apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN) online".

Once you have received your Maryland Central Registration number, you may file your admissions and amusement tax returns electronically through the Maryland Tax Connect Portal.  Registration is required for filing the A&A tax return.

E-mail

You can e-mail your admissions and amusement tax questions to us at taxhelp@marylandtaxes.gov. Please include your business name, address and your nine-digit federal employer identification number (FEIN) or eight-digit Maryland central registration number (CR) in your e-mail message. This will help us generate a quick response to your inquiry.

Telephone Assistance

Call Taxpayer Service at 410-260-7980 from Central Maryland or toll-free 1-800-638-2937 from elsewhere in Maryland. Telephone assistance is available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. EST

For information about the refund process, contact the refund supervisor at 410-767-1538 in the Baltimore area or toll free 1-800-492-1752 elsewhere.

First time filers needing a rate chart: Taxpayer Service Division at 410-260-7980 in the Baltimore area, and toll-free 1-800-638-2937.

One-time Events: Special Events Section at 410-767-1531 or 410-767-1540, Monday - Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m

If you are planning events such as class reunions, carnivals, dances and shows at places other than regular facilities, like catering halls or convention centers, you must contact us at 410-767-1540.