A theater in Spain has found a clever way to avoid a recent tax hike on theater tickets by claiming to sell carrots from nearby farms to its patrons along with free tickets.
The story, reported by Boston public TV station WGBH and recently highlighted on the TaxProf blog, describes how a municipal theater in Bescanó in the northeast part of the country responded to the Spanish government’s new 21 percent tax on items such as theater tickets as part of its austerity measures.
Fearing that the tax hike would drive away his audience, theater director Quim Marcé looked around him, saw the nearby carrot fields and had an idea. Why not sell carrots, which are not subject to the tax, instead of tickets to his audience members? So, instead of buying tickets, his patrons pay the equivalent of $16 for a carrot, which comes with a complimentary ticket.
The mayor of the town supports the idea, but it is not clear that the Spanish government will. While Spaniards have taken to the streets to protest the austerity measures and tax hikes imposed on them by the International Monetary Fund and their own government, the Spanish government is trying to crack down on tax evasion.
The courts have yet to decide whether selling carrots instead of theater tickets counts as tax evasion. But if the practice is outlawed, Marcé has a solution: he will sell tomatoes instead. Hopefully the audience won’t use them on the actors if they don’t like the play they’re seeing.