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    Posted September 16, 2006

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Tax Relief

Senators Charles Schumer and Dianne Feinstein Co-Sponsor Bill To Provide Tax Relief For Qualified Performing Artists

Bill S-3893 to Fix Antiquated Tax Code That Blocks Thousands of Performing Artists From Deducting Costly Business-Related Expenses

With an outdated tax code restricting thousands of the country's performing artists from making crucial above-the-line business-related tax deductions, US Senators Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) have introduced a bill that would improve tax deduction benefits for thousands of performing artists. The 1986 Internal Revenue Code currently blocks any performing artist with an annual gross income over $16,000 from claiming the special above-the-line deduction for work-related expenses. Senator Schumer and Feinstein's bill raises the annual income cap from $16,000 to $30,000, and indexes it for inflation after 2010, allowing more performing artists to take advantage of the above-the-line deduction and, as a result, receive greater tax benefits.

"This tax code is so outdated, it's more appropriate for court jesters from the Middle Ages than for today's performing artists," said Senator Schumer. "Unless we want our artists to literally starve and our stages to fall silent, it's vital that we give our beloved artists the benefits they need to pursue their passion."

"This legislation provides a much needed update to a tax benefit for thousands of performing artists across the nation. It is important to keep in mind that the vast majority of artists spend years struggling to pay their bills before making it big. With the ever increasing cost of living and growing financial demands on performers, this legislation takes a significant step toward reducing the burden for those who help to keep the arts alive in this country," U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said.

"Actors' Equity Association is pleased that Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY), and co-sponsored by Senator Dianne Feinstein (D- CA) have introduced Bill S 3893, which addresses the inadequacies of a twenty-year old tax code that prohibits performing artists with incomes above $16,000, from making crucial tax deductions. This bill will amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to increase the cap on adjusted gross income for Qualified Performing Artists (QPA) and to index that cap for inflation. Earlier this year Actors' Equity Association met with Senator Schumer's office to discuss the tax code and its negative impact on the members of Actors' Equity and other performers. The Senator's understanding and response to our concerns resulted in this bill, which acknowledges the important contributions artists make to communities across the country."

The above-the-line tax deduction for business expenses allows a performing artist to avoid the inconvenience of specifically itemizing every business-related expense and, effectively, receive greater tax write-offs. The 1986 provision permits performing artists who make less than $16,000 a year (and who have income from at least two employers) to make above-the-line deductions. In addition, the current income limit hasn't been indexed for inflation, nor has it been adjusted to reflect the rise in the cost of living. The Senator's bill will raise the annual gross income limit to $30,000 starting next year, and index it for inflation starting in 2011.

Senator Schumer's bill is co-sponsored by Senator Feinstein and is supported by Actors' Equity Association, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and the Screen Actors Guild.

Media Contacts

David Lotz
AEA Communications Director

Maria Somma
AEA Spokesperson
Cell: 917.560.3488

Alex Detrick
NYC Deputy Press Director
U.S. Senator Charles E. Schumer
o 212.486.4489
c 646.354.3884

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