Artists Tax Bill


Tax Deductions for Artistic Contributions
August 26, 2003
The following message comes to us from Deputy Legislative Director for the UAW, Mary Rouleau. It is crucial that NWU members help the effort to pass the Artist Tax Bill [S.287] that will let freelancers and other artists take tax deductions for certain contributions. Such legislation has already passed the Senate, and the message outlines how this legislation can be brought before the House of Representatives. To do so, we need your help.
Please take a moment to read how you can contribute to seeing this bill passed. All it takes is a phone call or two. More details about the bill can be found at the end of this message.
In Solidarity,
Marybeth Menaker
NWU President

The Artist Tax Bill [S.287]
As you might remember, the Artist Tax Bill [S.287], which allows artists to take a deduction for contributions under some circumstances, was included as part of a Senate-passed bill [known as the "CARE" Act] which addressed charitable contributions and other issues.
Now the goal is to have the Artists' bill [the House version, HR.806, identical to the Senate bill] included in the House version of the CARE Act, HR.7. It is our understanding that the Ways and Means Committee intends to discuss HR.7 on September 4. Whether or not the Artists' bill is included in HR.7 will be part of the September 4th discussion.
If Chairman Thomas agrees to include it, our life becomes easier because the Artists' bill then will not be an issue when the House and Senate meet to work out the differences between the two charitable giving bills. If it is not included in H.R. 7, the Artists' bill will be an issue and we must then rely on the Senate to persuade the House to include the Artists' bill in the final package. No small task.
We need to work quickly to get more co-sponsors for HR.806 the "Artists' Contribution to American Heritage Act." The more cosponsors, the more difficult it will be for Chairman Thomas to deny including HR.806 in the charitable giving bill. See the list below of current cosponsors. If your representative is not on that list, PLEASE contact his/her district office with a phone call. Ask your legislator to cosponsor HR.806. Brief information about the bill is also included below.
It is especially important that as many members of the House Ways and Means Committee be co-sponsors. The following legislators have not co-signed yet. If any of these legislators represent you, please contact them immediately and ask them to co-sponsor HR.806 the "Artists' Contribution to American Heritage Act."
Becerra [CA]
Stark [CA]
Jefferson [LA]
Levin [MI]
Pomeroy [ND]
Tubbs-Jones [OH]
Tanner [TN]
Sandlin [TX]
Kleczka [WI]

If your representative is NOT on this list, please contact them immediately and ask them to co-sponsor HR.806 the "Artists' Contribution to American Heritage Act." (This list is organized by state in alphabetical order.)
COSPONSORS (as of 7/30/03)
Amo Houghton (R-NY)**
Ben Cardin (D-MD)**
COSPONSORS (76 as of 7/30/03)
Rep Grijalva, Raul (D-AZ)
Rep Berman, Howard (D-CA)
Rep Bono, Mary (R-CA)
Rep Davis, Susan (D-CA)
Rep Eshoo, Anna (D-CA)
Rep Filner, Bob (D-CA)
Rep Lee, Barbara (D-CA)
Rep Matsui, Robert (D-CA)**
Rep McKeon, Buck (R-CA)
Rep Lantos, Tom (D-CA)
Rep Sanchez, Linda (D-CA)
Rep Sanchez, Loretta (D-CA)
Rep Schiff, Adam (D-CA)
Rep Waxman, Henry (D-CA)
Rep McInnis, Scott (R-CO)**
Rep Johnson, Nancy (R-CT)**
Rep Shays, Christopher (R-CT)
Rep Foley, Mark (R-FL)**
Rep Kingston, Jack (R-GA)
Rep Lewis, John (D-GA)**
Rep Abercrombie, Neil (D-HI)
Rep Latham, Tom (R-IA)
Rep Leach, Jim (R-IA)
Rep Simpson, Michael (R-ID)
Rep Davis, Danny (D-IL)
Rep Weller, Jerry (R-IL)**
Rep Moore, Dennis (D-KS)
Rep Northup, Anne (R-KY)
Rep Frank, Barney (D-MA)
Rep McGovern, Jim (D-MA)
Rep Neal, Richard (D-MA)**
Rep Olver, John (D-MA)
Rep Cummings, Elijah (D-MD)
Rep Wynn, Albert (D-MD)
Rep Upton, Fred (R-MI)
Rep Gutknecht, Gil (R-MN)
Rep McCollum, Betty (D-MN)
Rep Ramstad, Jim (R-MN)**
Rep Ballenger, Cass (R-NC)
Rep McIntyre, Mike (D-NC)
Rep Myrick, Sue (R-NC)
Rep Price, David (D-NC)
Rep Bereuter, Douglas (R-NE)
Rep Frelinghuysen, Rodney (R-NJ)
Rep Holt, Rush (D-NJ)
Rep Menendez, Robert (D-NJ)
Rep Pallone, Frank (D-NJ)
Rep Payne, Donald (D-NJ)
Rep Udall, Tom (D-NM)
Rep Bishop, Timothy (D-NY)
Rep Hinchey, Maurice (D-NY)
Rep Lowey, Nita (D-NY)
Rep Maloney, Carolyn (D-NY)
Rep McHugh, John (R-NY)
Rep McNulty, Michael (D-NY)**
Rep Nadler, Jerrold (D-NY)
Rep Rangel, Charles (D-NY)**
Rep Slaughter, Louise (D-NY)
Rep Brown, Sherrod (D-OH)
Rep Turner, Michael (R-OH)
Rep English, Phil (R-PA)**
Rep Greenwood, Jim (R-PA)
Rep Hoeffel, Joseph (D-PA)
Rep Platts, Todd (R-PA)
Rep Weldon, Curt (R-PA)
Rep Doggett, Lloyd (D-TX)**
Rep Frost, Martin (D-TX)
Rep Johnson, Eddie Bernice (D-TX)
Rep Sanders, Bernie (I-VT)
Rep Baird, Brian (D-WA)
Rep McDermott, Jim (D-WA)**
Rep Baldwin, Tammy (R-WI)
Rep Green, Mark (R-WI)

Before 1969 artists, composers and writers (artists)could donate self-generated works to a non-profit institution and receive a fair-market-value deduction. Subsequent to 1969, as part of broad tax reform, they could deduct only the cost of materials.
As a result, before 1969 the Library of Congress received, annually, 15- 20 large gifts of manuscripts from authors. In the four years following the repeal of the deduction, the Library received only one gift.
The bills, HR.806 and S.287 would restore the fair-market-value deduction with safe-guards to prevent abuse:
Works of art shall be created at least 18 months prior to the date of contribution by the artist, who has previously publicly sold, performed or exhibited similar works.
The artist shall obtain a written appraisal of the fair market value of the work by a qualified appraiser, and the appraisal shall be attached to the artists' tax return.
The use of the work of art shall be related to the purpose of the institution that receives it. (For example, a painter could not contribute a painting to a non-profit hospital and take a fair-market-value deduction.)
The artist can only take a deduction against income earned and related to the art and only against the income earned in the year the gift is made. (For example, a painter who earns a substantial portion of his/her income as a musician can only deduct the fair-market value of a painting donated to a museum from the income earned from painting or a related activity, such as teaching art, but not from the income earned as a musician.)
As a result of the 1969 legislation, many works of art, which would have been contributed to American institutions, have been sold into private collections or abroad, in effect depriving the public of these works. (For example, Igor Stravkinsky planned to donate his papers to the Music Division of the Library of Congress the month the Tax Reform Act of 1969 was signed into law. Instead, the papers were sold to a private foundation in Switzerland.)
The benefit to the nation, when artists are encouraged to contribute their work during their lifetime cannot be overemphasized. It allows the public, historians, scholars and others to learn from the artist his/her aesthetic intention for the work, how it was intended to be displayed, performed or interpreted and what influences affected the artist.
The House bill (HR.1598) and the Senate bill (S.694) are identical, except for the name.`


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