BIR Commissioner Joel L. Tan-Torres signed last March 8, 2010 Revenue Memorandum Circular (RMC) 18-2010 clarifying the coverage and taxability of amusement places.

“This so-called amusement places” according to Commissioner Tan-Torres, now includes “videoke bars, karaoke bars, karaoke televisions, karaoke boxes and music lounges” which were previously called night or day clubs and cabarets.”Night or Day clubs, are drinking, dancing and entertainment venues which serve food as well.

Cabarets, on the other hand, are restaurants or clubs where liquor and food are served, with stage performances of musicians, dancers or comedians, including a venue for dancing by patrons/customers.

Night or day clubs or cabarets are now outdated terms. “Videoke bars, karaoke bars, karaoke televisions, karaoke boxes and music lounges are new forms of modern day establishments that provide the same kind of service to its customers like the night or day clubs and cabarets,” according to Commissioner Tan-Torres.

He clarified, that as such, “proprietors, lessees or operators of the aforementioned establishments are deemed subject to the 18% amusement tax and not to the 12 % VAT on gross receipts.”