Tuesday, February 06, 2018

Taxes for Orchestral Musicians

The new tax bill presents more even serious problems for our profession than I anticipated. Daniel Braden's opinion piece in The Morning Call explains the problems clearly.


Anonymous said...

With respect, the opinion might be incorrect. From the IRS site:

"Generally, you must use Form 2106 or Form 2106-EZ to figure your deduction for employee business expenses and attach it to your Form 1040.pdf, U.S. Individual Income Tax Return. You then take the deductible expenses on Form 1040, Schedule A.pdf, as a miscellaneous itemized deduction subject to the 2% of adjusted gross income limit. Topic No. 508 and Publication 529, Miscellaneous Deductions, also discuss the 2% limit and explain some of the other expenses that are deductible as employee business expenses."


So, if you have more than 2% of a yearly adjusted gross as deductible, it is all deductible, as I read it.

Having been a professional musician in many countries, I have used the 2106 regularly, and this year seems not much different. As long as there are receipts to document expenses, for those with employee status the 2106 and its booklet are must reads (available in PDF format). Obviously being an independent contractor is the "freer" route, but the 2106 deductions are not subject to limitation when one itemizes all. Only when one chooses to not itemize, and use the "standard" deduction shortcut.

Elaine Fine said...

I talked with the person who does my taxes, and she told me that since I classify as an independent business, I can still claim expenses. But she said that people who get W-2 forms from orchestras won't be able to claim expenses like strings and other equipment.