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Kentucky Revises Sales Tax on Space Rental for In-Person Events; Trade Show Organizers Exempt from Charging Tax to Exhibitors

map showing the state of Kentucky

CHICAGO — The Kentucky General Assembly and Governor Andy Beshear adopted a revision to the state’s sales tax on space rental for face-to-face business events. The tax, which went into effect Jan. 1, 2023, imposed a 6% tax on rental spaces for meetings and large events. 

The revision comes as good news to trade show organizers and tourism organizations that have been in opposition to the tax, as business event organizers are now exempt from charging sales tax to their exhibitors. 

The Exhibitions & Conferences Alliance (ECA) has been advocating for the tax to be revised, with preventing anti-growth state-level taxation of the trade show industry being included on its 2023 Public Policy Agenda. Alongside ECA, the Kentucky Travel Industry Association (KTIA) and Louisville Tourism have been leading the efforts in Kentucky to revise the tax. 

Related. Trade Shows and Organizations Push Federal Trade Commission for Impersonation Fraud Rule Targeting Business Impostors 

“With this policy language in place, Kentucky will continue to be well positioned as a leading U.S. destination for exhibitions, conferences and trade shows going forward,” ECA’s Vice President, Government Affairs Tommy Goodwin said. “From IAEE’s Expo! Expo! Last December to EXHIBITORLIVE next month, our industry knows firsthand that Louisville rolls out the red carpet when it comes to big-time events, and I’m sure we can expect much more of that in the years to come.” 

Business events generate a nearly $750 million economic impact to the state each year, according to ECA, and the Kentucky sales tax revision is expected to better position Kentucky to host trade shows and events. 

“Industry stakeholders from across Kentucky and beyond went ‘all in’ to achieve this extremely positive outcome,” Goodwin said. “Given Kentucky’s short legislative session this year, a tremendous amount of education, collaboration and conversations with policymakers in Frankfort took place over the last three months or so. And it all resulted in a great result for the business events industry un the Bluegrass State.” 

Reach Tommy Goodwin at 

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